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Roundtable: The Super Bowl returns to Southern California

 February 11, 2022 at 12:00 PM PST

Speaker 1: (00:01)

Where were you in 2003, it's been nearly two decades since the last super bowl was in Southern California. We checking in on the big games, long awaited return. San Diego state is sued by athletes who say they were denied their fair share of scholarship money. And a local TV station is revisiting black history in San Diego with some iconic footage from their archives. I'm Matt Hoffman. And this is K PBS round table

Speaker 2: (00:37)

In eight years. I, I accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. And, and one thing that I feel like I'm lacking is, you know, being a world champion. So, um, it meant a lot to me. I feel like it'll be, um, a goal that I've been chasing and trying to accomplish. Um, I'll be able to check that off and feel like, you know, there's, there's nothing in this league that I didn't accomplish that I didn't want to accomplish. So, um, it, it meant a lot.

Speaker 1: (00:59)

That's one of the most dominant players the NFL has seen in recent years, we're talking about defensive star, Aaron, Donald of the Los Angeles Rams on paper. The Rams are listed as the road team as they take on the Cincinnati Bengals this weekend in super bowl, 56. But in reality, this is the second straight year that a team will be playing the big game from their own building. NBC is doing the honors from SoFi stadium this year. And we're checking in with sports reporter, Derek Toon from NBC seven. He's on the ground there and welcome to round table Derek. Hey,

Speaker 3: (01:29)

Good to be here, Matt. How you been?

Speaker 1: (01:30)

I've been good. Glad to have you here. Hope you're well, too. So jumping into this Derek, we know that there's a lot of X charger fans who might still be salty about the team leaving for SoFi stadium. So I'm curious for those who haven't been up there yet. How would you describe this year's super bowl setting?

Speaker 3: (01:45)

It's chaos. It's absolutely. It's utter chaos. I mean, it's, it's Los Angeles when the Lakers are falling apart and the Dodgers might be going back to spring training and show, Hey Otton is on the cover of MLB the show and oh, by the way, traffic and USC has got Caleb Williams transferring in and UCLA basketball is back to being a thing. Again, like the super bowl is like the eighth, most important thing there right now. And, and yet they're trying to wedge the scene in the middle of downtown LA. I mean, even on Monday, the convention center was a nightmare to try and get into with traffic and it it's, I'm telling you what ma'am, it's gonna look really good on TV, but it's just nuts behind the scene.

Speaker 1: (02:22)

So we know that NBC that're in the rotation to broadcast the super bowl every few years. How does this experience this one this year compared to other big events that you've covered, be it past super bowls or maybe some other big sports events?

Speaker 3: (02:33)

It's um, it's interesting because it's so spread out like other super bowls I've done are like Minneapolis and Indianapolis and San Diego and Phoenix and, and places where it's a lot more were kind of condensed, you know, Indianapolis, we parked the car and then didn't get back in it again for six days. But Minneapolis was at the apple super bowl. Like that was a huge deal for them because a bunch of tourists for coming to their town when it was negative four degrees like that doesn't happen in Minneapolis. So it felt like a major deal for them. This is just like almost an annoyance. It seems like up in LA, but I'm guessing, you know, as, as the game gets closer and folks from Cincinnati show up and the Ram fans start to truly ramp up, it it'll start to feel more like the super bowl is the big deal.

Speaker 1: (03:11)

So you've been up there in LA in recent days, covering the lead up to all this. And part of that includes a story that you did on the San Diego's challenge at athletes foundation, they put together a super bowl ad this year and they picked sort of a unique place for it. Derek, why did they choose Cooperstown New York?

Speaker 3: (03:26)

Because Landis Sims is one of the most incredible athletes you will ever get to meet in your entire life. Uh, he's a kid who's gonna be a sophomore in high school in Indiana. He was born with no legs before, below the knees and no hands. And from a young age, he fell in love with baseball and the kids' a legitimate athlete. And so he wanted to play baseball and nobody was gonna tell him that he could not play baseball. So he was eight years old. They started following him, just kind of saw him at a veterans softball game. And he was hitting the daylights out of the ball. So challenge athletes foundation then got involved and got him some prosthetics that allowed him to extend his arms and hold the bat in a better way and get some, some running blades for his feet. And he started to truly blossom.

Speaker 3: (04:09)

And then Joe Musk Grove, as we all know, San Diego zone through the first no-hitter and pod race history, he caught wind of theat and he coached him in the off season before last year and helped his footwork around the bag. And sure enough, this kid not only makes his high school baseball team, but in his first ever at bat, he lays a single right up the middle. So because there's such a baseball tie to it, Bob Abbot and co-founder of the challeng athletes foundation, and as a tireless worker, he bought a super bowl ad in Cooperstown, New York, just to show people that the, the movie is coming out, it's called land is just watch me. It'll be in theaters this summer and go check it out, man, because if you, if you a wanna be inspired, this is the one to do it. Or B if you think you're ever having a bad day, just keep this kid in mind. You'd be like, I got it. Pretty good.

Speaker 1: (04:54)

I'm talking with NBC seven sports reporter, Derek Togerson and Derek let's move back to the game itself a little bit. Let's talk about local connections. You know, we know that there's a San Diego resident who was retired and now is playing in the big game who might San Diegos, you know, see or, or be familiar with in this game?

Speaker 3: (05:10)

No, no, no idea who you're talking about.

Speaker 1: (05:12)

Uh, Eric, we, oh,

Speaker 3: (05:13)

I've heard of that guy. Yeah. Okay. That, that makes a lot more sense. Yeah. Um, no, no, I'm joking with you. No, E do's one of my favorite dudes who ever played with the chargers, what he has done, Matt coming out of retirements for not just, not like six months, about in two years, this dude hasn't been playing football at that level. He's playing pickup basketball, but he keeps himself in shape. And he goes in and gets like 20 snaps in a playoff game for the first game he's played in two years and then gets like 60 snaps in next week. And as having an impact, it's crazy. I mean, what, what that dude's been able to do do, and he still lives in Powerway and now he's gonna have a chance to finally get that super bowl. I mean, you gotta seriously start thinking about like Eric widdle is a potential he'll, he'll be in the conversation as a finalist for the pro football hall of fame. At some point, that's really cool for him. And he got Jalen Davis, a defensive back for the Bangals who's a LA Mesa native. He got, uh, Terrell Burges Ram safetys from, uh, San Marcos. And then, you know, Ram's offensive coordinator, Kevin O'Connell former Aztec he's from Carlsbad. He's expected to be named the next head coach in Minnesota Vikings when the super bowl is all over. So he had lots of a pretty good San Diego flavor of the super bowl

Speaker 1: (06:22)

And Derek talking about the matchup itself, the Rams they were in the spot just a few years ago, but it's been more than 30 years for the Bengals. And Joe burrow has recently emerged as the star, not just for this team, but one of the new faces of the league. Do you think he's the player to watch on Sunday or what are you looking at?

Speaker 3: (06:38)

Joe burrow is the reason I will not put money on this game because you look at the rosters and the Rams have the advantage at most position sets on paper. This isn't close, but there's just something about this burrow kid, man that I look at and go, ah, do I wanna bet against what he's got going on because he's, he's got this kind of vibe, this aura around him as poor as the Beal's offensive line is, and it's not a good offensive it's, it's the weakest offensive line in the entire playoffs and with how good the Rams pass rush is with like Aaron, Donald, as you have talked about, you heard from him at the start of this, it should be a blowout, but it's just, I just don't think it will because I don't know what Burrow's capable of yet. Is he Joe Montana? You know, is he one of those guys who just, for some reason just wins the big games, all this teammates believe in him. So this man, this borough kid, I, I still don't know exactly what we've gotten him. And that's a very, very dangerous proposition for the Rams. We've

Speaker 1: (07:40)

Been talking with Derek tore. He's a sports reporter for NBC seven. You can follow him on Twitter at Derek NBC S D for more content. He's up at the super bowl all this weekend. Derek always good to talk. Thanks so much for your time.

Speaker 3: (07:52)

You got it, man. Y'all have a good one.

Speaker 1: (08:03)

It's a whole new world out there when it comes to money and college sports, but setting NYL deals and sports betting aside. The primary goal for the vast majority of student athletes is to secure a coveted scholarship. It can be used as a springboard to a degree. And this week, current and former student athletes at San Diego state sued the university. They say they did not get their fair share of spots in recent years. Here's how KPBS reporter kitty Alvarado covered their story.

Speaker 4: (08:30)

17 female athletes are suing SDSU for 1.2 million claiming the school violated title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans discrimination in, in schools or school programs based on sex. It's the first title IX lawsuit that seeks monetary compensation. One of the athletes is Madison Fisk, a former member of the SDSU women's rowing team. The athletics department cut the team last season.

Speaker 5: (08:55)

We commit so much of our lives to our sport. The same way that male athletes do. We're no different.

Speaker 4: (09:01)

They claim the university has deprived them and other women athletes out of millions of dollars in financial aid and scholarships in the last decade, their attorney Arthur Bryant says this is an open and shut case.

Speaker 6: (09:14)

The most compelling thing was actually the information that SDSU filed with the federal government, showing that it is violating title IX and depriving women of equal athletic opportunity. It's stunning,

Speaker 4: (09:27)

SDSU declined an interview, but sent a statement, denying the allegations. It says they're disappointed by the incomplete picture presented by the plain lawyers, kitty Verado K PBS news.

Speaker 1: (09:38)

And you can read more and see that full lawsuit There's a lot going on here from a money legal and an equity perspective. That's why we reached out to Amanda Krista. She covers the intersection of college, sports and business for front office sports. Hey Amanda,

Speaker 7: (09:53)

Thank you so much for having me. How's it going?

Speaker 1: (09:56)

Of course, it's going great. Good to have you here. So diving into this, we know that the foundation for this case is the landmark equal rights law in college sports. It's known as title nine, Amanda, for our listeners. Can you give us a general idea of what that law aims to achieve?

Speaker 7: (10:10)

Yeah, absolutely. So title nine dates back to the seventies and is the way that it functions in the college sports realm is that it's basically been the foundation upon which women's sports have been built. It is the law that has been cited to give women's sports athletes opportunities that not just to play, but to get equitable resources. And that extends to facilities. It extends, you know, like in this case to aid, it's not perfect and it's a bit difficult to enforce. Lawsuits are one of the only ways it can be enforced, but it really has changed the game, like no pun intended. And, and without it, you know, we would not be where we are today in this country with regards to women's sports.

Speaker 1: (11:03)

So you wrote about this lawsuit. I'm, I'm curious. What about this case involving San Diego state sort of stands out to you maybe as like a legal strategy or from the allegations made by these women who were involved?

Speaker 7: (11:14)

The thing that stood out most, to me, it was less what the lawsuit was about and what it was saying and more who was spearheading it. So the lead counsel on the, for the plaintiffs is Arthur Bryant as was mentioned previously. And he has a track record of successfully prosecuting title nine cases dating back to the eighties. I believe he is somewhat of a small celebrity in the title IX community. And since the pandemic began, he has successfully settled at least eight cases. Sometimes even the threat of a lawsuit from his team has been enough to get teams reinstated. And so if I were any school getting a title IX lawsuit from him or his team, I, I would take it seriously.

Speaker 1: (12:06)

So we know that SDSU they're denying these allegations through athletic department says that they dropped the rowing program recently, not because of financial problems brought on by the pandemic, but they say, because it was trying to maintain a balance between men and women's sports. Uh, Amanda, as you cover the college landscape here, is that something that you've see in schools struggle with finding that balance?

Speaker 7: (12:25)

You know, it's not really something that I hear about in the sense of the school has too many in sports opportunities and not enough men's sports opportunities. The opposite is the case in many places, um, particularly because of these pandemic related sports cuts. So I was surprised when I did some research and, and, and saw that that was the main reason cited. Even the women's sports that get a lot of funding, particularly compared to their male counterparts still have issues.

Speaker 1: (12:59)

Okay. So can you put this in perspective for us here? How important would you say this case is when it comes to the NCAA? I mean, some people are saying that this could be the first ever title IX claim for monetary damages. Amanda, do you think that this is something that other schools and student athletes will be closely watching?

Speaker 7: (13:16)

I think that this case in particular is, is definitely interesting in that it shows schools that there are a wide variety of ways that you can fall out of compliance with title IX. It's not just how many men's versus women's sports athletes you have. It's about resources, it's about fine angel aid. And that's something that I think every school experts have told me every school should be looking into right now. But I think this lawsuit is really part of a larger trend, particularly since the beginning of the pandemic of title IX, being used by athletes to get their teams reinstated, to get their re sources back. And again, like I said before, many of which have been spearheaded by Arthur Bryan and his team, but this is clearly a large trend that is not going away. That athletes have realized that title IX is a tool that they can use on the women's sports side, obviously, but also on the men sports side, in some cases to save programs. And that is something that I think schools need to take into consideration about if they decide to cut a sport that that may not be the end of the story.

Speaker 1: (14:28)

I'm talking with reporter Amanda Christov from front office sports and Amanda, let's also get your take on something related to equity and sports. The N I L rollout that stands for name, image, and likeness. And the Supreme court recently said that college athletes can seek out paid endorsements. Where do you think the N I L fits into this larger discussion of sports equity and maybe the balance between like big money programs like football and less popular sports, like in this case rowing,

Speaker 7: (14:55)

I think that's the million dollar question literally, right? I, I think it, from what I've seen, it depends where you sit and kind of how you're looking at N I L so in the first six months or so of the N I L era we've, we've seen several trends, one of which is expected, the data is, um, from companies like open doors are telling us that yes, as we expected football is king, but I will also note that, you know, we're not through the basketball season and we're not even through the first year. And I also, who knows how that will change. Uh, but I also wanna emphasize that N I L has been proven to be an incredible opportunity for women sports athletes as well for Olympic sports athletes. If you look at Paige Becker's Rayland Turner, they have secured N I deals, um, with some of the largest brands in the sports space as a whole like Gatorade and Nike at first glance, what we saw in the first six months, we expected to see with football players, really making a big name in the Nile space, but also there have been many, many, many opportunities for athletes at all, divisions in all sports and of all genders to capitalize as well.

Speaker 1: (16:15)

And finally, Amanda it's championship weekend here in Southern California. I'm curious, what's your super bowl pick? This

Speaker 7: (16:21)

Is the hardest question you've asked me so far as an LA native. I sort of feel like I have to go Rams. However, I have Louisiana sports ties. So, you know, you can't count Joe burrow, you know, we've seen what he can do and you know, I'm, I'm just, I'm just rooting for a good time. You know? How about that? How about that uncontroversial circumvention of your question?

Speaker 1: (16:42)

Yeah. Sounds like a good time, but would not mind if the Bengal won, I've been speaking with reporter Amanda Krista, you can find her and Amanda thinks so much for joining us here on round table.

Speaker 7: (16:54)

Thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 1: (17:05)

It's a big weekend for sports and there's something else airing on Sunday that you'll want to add onto your list. CBS eight has been on the air for more than 60 years. This weekend, the news department is going into the vault for special all about black history in San Diego. I'll come

Speaker 3: (17:19)

Back to San Diego,

Speaker 4: (17:21)

Go be here.

Speaker 8: (17:22)

Muhammad Ali FA Ken Norton right here in San Diego, plus CBS eight, interviewed Jackie Robinson during the civil rights struggle, those amazing stories and more on black history month at five 30 on CBS eight.

Speaker 1: (17:34)

The host for this weekend special is Kirsten Holmes. She's a reporter for CBS eight. Welcome to round table Kirsten.

Speaker 9: (17:40)

Thank you for having me. I'm excited to talk to you guys. I've been a fan of PBS for years, so it's like, yay. One for the home team.

Speaker 1: (17:47)

Great to have you here. Okay. So let's get into this. This is a 30 minute special and it starts with a feature on Muhammad Ali. You also have some very cool archival footage of KFM B's interview with Jackie Robinson that was during the civil rights era. And these are both sort of universally known figures, but what did you learn from these particular stories?

Speaker 9: (18:06)

Uh, you know, it's so in interesting, I love being able to share. I grew, I grew up in a home that celebrated and taught black history. So it was like these very familiar figures. And then I got to see them in a new light. In fact, I re telling friends, you know, my, my father was older, so he was born the same year as Jackie Robinson. So my father had, you know, a very specific idea about Jackie Robinson. So to see these, these interviews and these conversations, and, you know, uh, I think one of the things I grew up with is my dad always talked about how Jackie Robinson voted for Nixon. And that was one of the things that kind of polarized him to my dad. And to a lot of people of that time in the sixties, it was like, you know, what were we gonna do between democratic or Republican party?

Speaker 9: (18:52)

And there was still the fight with the black community. Wasn't all the way sold on the democratic party just yet. So just seeing Jackie Robinson's turn, I think he had a split with Nixon and then he started championing civil rights. I wish my dad would've been here to date to see this and see some of this footage now being comparable, Muhammad Ali, he was the greatest, we were a fan. We were always a fan. And we have this incredible footage of Muhammad Ali in his pro talking stuff. And this is when he was still Casius clay. It wasn't, you know, before he committed himself to the nation of Islam, just to see who he was. And then to, to know the history behind such an iconic figure and to see email on CBS eight footage. The station that I worked for today was, yeah, that was, it meant a lot to me. So I was excited when they tapped me to do this. I was like, I'm your girl, I'll do

Speaker 1: (19:41)

It. We know that this special goes beyond sports. What else were those watching on Sunday, C oh,

Speaker 9: (19:46)

You were gonna see a connection. What we wanted to do with this. We wanted to highlight black history, but we wanted to show you how it connects to our prison. And we wanted to give a nod to the future. And so you're gonna see communities coming together as like, this is who we are black San Diego right now. And though a lot of people don't know that San Diego played a role in the civil rights movement, but the fight was made all across the country, including right here in San Diego. And so we are excited to show that or to share that with people.

Speaker 1: (20:16)

Right. And I know you said that you were excited to help tell these stories. Is there a particular one from the special that stands out to you or that you like the most

Speaker 9: (20:23)

Growing up with my dad and, and the Jackie Robinson and telling this Jackie Robinson's story, it was so cool to me because I got to see, like I said, the arc of a human being and it, it reminded me to be a little more gracious with other people and, and, and graceful with myself to allow people those ebbs and flows and life, and to learn, I got to be reintroduced in a way to Jackie Robinson, this, this iconic figure for so many people. So that one was so personal to me, but to see maybe there's gonna be an arts district in en can. That really celebrates the diverse history of San Diego's black cultural contribution. It's like, it's hard to name one. Jackie Robinson would be my, because that was the story I spent so much time on, but man looking at all of them, I was like, oh, this is good. You know, there's a San Diego has a less than 10% African American population. So some might think that we didn't really play a role in the civil rights era or that there's not a whole lot of black history happening today, or there's not a black futures program that we can look to for tomorrow, but there absolutely is. And we're excited to show that and we hope that the viewers get that from our special,

Speaker 1: (21:37)

I'm talking with CBS eight, reporter, Kirsten, Holmes, and Kirsten, several reporters are involved in this entire special. Why do you think it's important to tell these stories now, and as your news team has on here, you know, kind of find new ways to tell them,

Speaker 9: (21:50)

Oh, it's important. Like, you know, your parents, your elders, the ancestors will always tell you, you have to, you have to know your past. So you don't repeat those mistakes. And so that you can know from when you came, there's always this level of pride. We were just talking, we just shot these special today. And we were just talking about, you know, what everybody's experience with black history was. And there's been this push in within the last couple of years to really take an honest look at American history, as it pertains to black history, there's the 16, 19 project. There's the, the debate about critical race theory. So it's important to really know what our history is, to understand the implications of that history. And then, like I said earlier, allow people, the grace to evolve and to grow. Sometimes there's gonna be some uncomfortable feelings, some uncomfortable conversations, but it's through tackling those uncomfortable feelings and UN and uncomfortable conversations that we can grow and evolve and hopefully become a more equitable, loving place for everyone, no matter what you look like. And no matter how you think, or no matter how you present yourself,

Speaker 1: (22:55)

Those who follow CBS eight, especially on YouTube, they know that the station is always putting out fascinating stuff from the archives. I mean, some very cool stuff, gotta check it out. And Kirsten, I'm just curious. How did you and your team sort of track down some of this content when putting the show together? Okay.

Speaker 9: (23:09)

So we got really lucky in the way of Barbara Nielsen. She is a Phnom, she's been with the station for a long time and she has just been paramount to our archival footage. So we, we got lucky that, you know, we have this long history of being in San Diego and it took Barb and some other people, but Barb is the person that's there right now with, I was like, Hey, make sure we save and digitize all of these old archival footage. Because as we look back, we can look to some of these stories that we covered. I always tell people as a journalist, I love the opportunity to journal history because it's some of those older news stories that we can go back on and lean on and be like, who were we in 1968? Who were we in 1972? And now we'll be, who were we in 20, 22 now, because it's a new year. I'm still catching up to the new year, but who are we right now? So we wanna give a shout out to Barb Neils because she's the one that's behind making sure that we have all of this footage to make available to our viewers. So we can take that look back into the past.

Speaker 1: (24:12)

And if you can, can you remind us how we can watch this show this weekend? And if those who miss it on Sunday, how they can watch it after that?

Speaker 9: (24:19)

Okay. So you can catch this show this Sunday, five 30 on CBS eight, and you can catch it on the replay, just in case you're watching something else. Like the super bowl. You can catch it Friday at six 30, Friday the 18th at six 30, and you can also catch it in its entirety, CBS And on our YouTube page, we got a couple of different ways. It's gonna, reir a few different times. Those are the main times, but yeah, we, we're gonna get you set up

Speaker 1: (24:43)

Well, something you definitely don't wanna. I've been speaking with Kirsten Holmes. She's an anchor and a reporter for CBS eight here in San Diego and Kirsten. Thanks so much for your time.

Speaker 9: (24:52)

Thank you for having me. Thank you for highlighting this special. Thank you guys so much

Speaker 1: (25:01)

Right now. The San Diego history center has a new exhibition. It's called cell celebrate San Diego, black history and heritage Shelby Gordon with the history center recently told us all about it.

Speaker 9: (25:12)

The exhibition really gives you a tangible visual graphic understanding of how complex, how deep, how interesting and how elevating the history of black San Diego is.

Speaker 1: (25:30)

You can hear more of that conversation with host Jade. Henman on the K PBS midday edition podcast. Thanks so much for tuning into this week's edition of K PBS Roundtable. And thank you to my guests. Derek Toon from NBC seven, Amanda Krista Vich from front office sports and Kirsten homes from CBS eight. If you missed any part of our show, you can listen anytime on the K PBS round table podcast. I'm Matt Hoffman. Join us next week on round table.

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The exterior of SoFi Stadium is seen days before the Super Bowl NFL football game Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. The Los Angeles Rams will play the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl Feb. 13.
Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press
The exterior of SoFi Stadium is seen days before the Super Bowl NFL football game Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. The Los Angeles Rams will play the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl Feb. 13.
Super Bowl weekend in Southern California, women athletes sue SDSU over alleged Title IX inequities and the ties civil rights icons have to San Diego in celebration of Black History Month.

KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman talks with NBC 7 sports reporter Derek Togerson about the leadup to the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. Also, reporter Amanda Christovich from Front Office Sports explains why past and current SDSU student-athletes are suing the university over alleged Title IX violations involving women's sports scholarships. We also hear from CBS 8 reporter Keristen Holmes about a Black History Month special airing this weekend that features local archive footage of civil rights icons and their ties to San Diego.