Can It Be Next Spring Already?

by Angela Fortuna

Being Editor-in-Chief for The Recorder at Central Connecticut State University is a position I have worked year after year to attain. And now, this goal has become a reality.

When I first found out the summer of my freshman year that I would be attending Central, I was not really motivated. I had every intention to go to school at Hofstra University in Long Island, where the journalism school was huge and the department was full of students competing to make their mark. Unfortunately, funds played a big role in which school I would attend, so Central was the better option for me.

Weeks after the fall semester of 2016 started, I had already started writing for The Recorder and becoming involved in other campus media organizations. Little did I know that the school in which I decided to attend really did not make an impact on my ability to get involved in what I love to do.

The tight-knit community of CCSU Journalism definitely played a big role in my ability to excel in and out of the classroom. The experiences I have faced and mistakes I have made along the way have shaped me into the person I am today, and I would not have it any other way.

Looking back at the decision I made the summer before my freshman year, I am very happy that I chose Central and that I made the decision to get involved early on in my college career.

Although I may be young, I know that I can bring a lot to The Recorder. I have been interested in journalism since the eighth grade and have been active in my high school’s newspaper and weekly broadcast production since the beginning of ninth grade. Since I started so early on, I am confident that I know a lot about journalism and can use my experiences and skills to lead others interested in writing for the school newspaper.

Writing for The Recorder and acting as News Editor this semester has provided me with many chances to report on important milestones in CCSU history, such as the re-election of New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, the progressions through the Connecticut state budget, the Student Government Association, an alleged kidnapping near Central and more.

The Recorder has given me a platform to communicate and report on news essential to readers on campus and around the world.

I have every intention of working to continue to make The Recorder great, to enforce great journalism and to work together.

Reporting isn’t just about relaying information, it’s about understanding what is going on in society today and telling a story to spread awareness of important issues.

I plan to continue to make mistakes and expand my knowledge as a journalist, because that’s what learning is all about.

I am excited to see where this next year takes me, and what opportunities will come my way.

Live, love, the free press.

How CCSU Football Went From Last To NEC Champs

by Daniel Fappiano

In 2016 the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils won just two games and were tied for last in the Northeast Conference. Going into the season, they were predicted to finish no higher than fourth in the NEC, with very few expecting them to compete for the championship. After losing the first three games of the season, it seemed as if Central was in for another lost season.

However, the Blue Devils didn’t let their 0-3 record discourage them. They kept fighting and rattled off six straight wins prior to their championship matchup against Duquesne. As the underdogs, not many expected CCSU to be able to knock off the preseason favorite. But as the clock hit zero and the scoreboard read 28-27 in Central’s favor, they had done the unthinkable and won their first NEC Championship since 2010.

On the field, many different players stepped up to help lead the Blue Devils to eight straight wins, giving them an overall 8-3 record for the regular season.

Senior running back Cameron Nash had his breakout campaign, rushing 197 times for 1,003 yards and 13 touchdowns during the regular season. Voted Second-Team All-Conference, Nash led the NEC in rushing touchdowns and was one of only three running backs to eclipse 1,000 yards.

Outside of Nash, Central had six players voted First-Team All-Conference. Rookie lineman Connor Mignone was voted as the NEC Offensive Rookie of the Year, making him the first non-skill position player to win the award. Of the other five, defenders Randall Laguerre, Seth Manzanares and Jarrod Cann made the biggest impact.

Laguerre led the team with 83 tackles, putting him at sixth most in the NEC. Manzanares led the team in sacks with 3.5, tied for ninth in the NEC while Cann led the Blue Devils in interceptions with four, tied for second most in the NEC. Overall, Central’s defense was vastly improved and finished the year tied for most defensive touchdowns in the FCS with six.

Clearly there was improvement on the field from both the offense and defense. However, the Blue Devils success could be attributed to something much less apparent.

As CCSU begun to rack up win after win, you could see the player’s emotion on the sideline. They would jump up and down, trying to get the crowd in the game. They started having fun and stopped stressing over the outcome.

Following the team’s win against St. Francis, players on the sideline began to jump around and try to make other players who were being interviewed laugh. The team was having fun; they were building bonds, and you could tell the aura around CCSU football was changing.

Head Coach Peter Rossomando credited that new aura to the players on the team believing. Believing that even though they started out 0-3, even though no one thought they could be champions, that this could be their year.

Throughout the season, Rossomando touched on how his team’s belief in themselves was crucial to their success.

Following the team’s win against Bryant, their fifth straight, Rossomando said, “Our guys have done a good job of understanding where we are and that you’re the same team that was 0-3 at one time. You’re a good team then, you’re a good team now.”

Rossomando held the same sentiment following the Blue Devils win against St. Francis one week later. “Our players quite honestly just believe right now. They believe in everything that’s going on, they believe in each other, so important.”

As CCSU defeated Duquesne and became NEC Champions, Rossomando knew how important the victory was. Although, he knew it would be impossible without the team’s belief in one another. “It’s been one heck of a ride since I got here and seven in a row to do it, in that fashion, down 13 late, our kids never forgot and always believed, it’s great for our university.”

After a 0-3 start, it would’ve been easy for the Blue Devils to look down on themselves and pack it in. They weren’t expected to compete for a championship; they could’ve looked at the 2017 season as pointless. But they didn’t, they fought for each other, their brothers, and did everything in their power to win a championship.

A box will tell you the stats, but it could never tell you the amount of heart Central showed during the 2017 season. They knew the odds were stacked against them, yet they worked as a team to achieve their goals.

CCSU’s magical season might’ve come to an end against New Hampshire in the first round of the FCS playoffs. However, the 2017 season will not be easily forgotten. The Blue Devils did the unthinkable. Not only did they bring the university their first championship since 2010, but they gave the community something much greater, a reason to believe.

What Has Happened To The NFL?

by Tyler Roaix

For years, the National Football League was booming. It became everyone’s favorite sport. They were making billions of dollars every year. Everyone was happy.

And then, in a matter of a year or so, everything changed. Aaron Hernandez happened. This led to further discovery of CTE and football’s effect on the brain. Colin Kaepernick started his protests, and a lot of people decided, for some reason, that it wasn’t okay.

And now you have the Cowboys, who have decided to wage war on the NFL. Ezekiel Elliot gets suspended for six games and he decides to spend all year fighting it. Now he has backed down, is now serving his suspension, and “America’s Team” can’t muster up any offense.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones tried to make a case that he is bigger than NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, threatening to sue the league if the other owners move forward with Goodell’s contract extension, which reportedly includes a close-to $50 million, the use of a private jet and health insurance for life.

But Jones has backed off of his fight recently, further proving that the league has been become a dictatorship, run by Goodell. The players and owners simply serve Goodell’s will.

The fact that Jones needs to face is that someone like Goodell is the perfect league commissioner. Why? Because he makes the owners a lot of money. The new TV deal he orchestrated a few years ago made the league and owners millions. That is just one small example of the profitability of the Goodell-era.

But when you tell businessmen, as all the owners are, that you can make them “x-amount” of dollars, they will only ask for more.

That is what the NFL has become; a bunch of wealthy, money-hungry businessmen that could not care less about the quality of play their teams put out on the field. When they see Colin Kaepernick, they don’t see a quality quarterback with more talent than half of the starting quarterbacks on active rosters. They see someone who “disgraces the country” and drives NFL ratings down.

Perhaps it’s more disgraceful that the only reason the NFL actually does the national anthem before games is because the U.S. Military pays them a ton of money to do so. Maybe the league and it’s owners should look in the mirror before blaming their own problems on everyone else, especially their own players.

To be blunt, the NFL is imploding on itself. Players are revolting. Owners are pretending like they have a say. Goodell is imposing his will upon the entire league. NBA owner Mark Cuban said in 2014 that “the NFL would fall apart in 10 years.”

Frankly, the once-strong NFL is way ahead of schedule. If Goodell and the owners don’t get a handle on their league soon, the league as we know it will be history.

 

Senior Spotlight: Maddie Smith

by Tyler Roaix

As Central finished up its season falling to LIU Brooklyn in the NEC Championship, the entire team was overcome with emotion. But one player brings a feeling of stability and strength, despite knowing she has played her final volleyball match in a Blue Devil uniform: senior Maddie Smith.

Smith is originally from Pleasanton, California, which is near San Francisco. Smith was first reached out to via email by assistant coach Greg Shell. Central head coach Linda Sagnelli later approached her at a travel tournament in Las Vegas. From there, the decision to come to CCSU was not that difficult.

But the move to Connecticut was tough at first for Smith. Coming across the country by herself was a tough adjustment. But the team and school made life easier on her.

“Coming here, I didn’t have any family. Everyone was back home. So the coaching staff and team really became my family. It was definitely an adjustment at first, but they took me in with open arms.”

Off the volleyball court, Smith has been a model student in the classroom as well. Despite being a double-major in in Marketing and Management, Smith downplayed the expected difficulties of the work, citing how the two majors share a lot of similar classes. Still, Smith has been recognized as a member of the Northeast Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll the past two years.

Sagnelli was grateful of what Smith has brought to the volleyball program, both as a player and a person, highlighting her consistency and leadership on and off the court.

“The growth I’ve seen in Maddie over the past four years has been remarkable,” Sagnelli shared. “She is a great player, but more importantly a great person. She cares about her teammates. She has been a phenomenal representative of CCSU, and a great model for the younger players to look up to.”

Smith ends a career highlighted by a senior year for the record books for the Blue Devils. 161 total blocks this year are second-most in a single season and are just two fewer than Rachel Dunlap’s 2013 total. Smith’s 14 blocks against Sacred Heart on Nov. 3 of this year are tied for the most in a single match for Central.

Smith also had a .377 hitting percentage in 2017, just .001 behind Jennifer Cote’s 2004 season for the best in a single season for Central.

Despite her volleyball career coming to a close, Smith plans to remain involved in CCSU athletics. She remains an active member as the Vice President of the CCSU Student Athlete Advisory Committee, also known as SAAC. She will also be an intern within the athletic department in the spring semester, which she said she is excited to learn from several of the leadership members in the department.

Smith hopes to eventually move back home to California soon. Her end goal is a career in Sports Management.

“She is very bright,” Sagnelli said of Smith. “She will be successful in whatever she does after leaving Central. It has been such a pleasure to know her.”

Smith offered a piece of advice to younger players and students.

“Soak it all in. Those four years are going to go by faster than you think. I still can’t believe I’m in my last year, that I won’t be at spring workouts next semester. It goes by so quick it almost doesn’t feel real. So enjoy the time as much as you can while you’re here.”

Smith’s career will last in the CCSU record books for years. But her presence and leadership have created a lasting effect on the team, program and school that may never go away.

Dear Media: Stop Grouping all Sexual Harassment Accusations Together

by Kristina Vakhman

I have to start this piece off by saying that there is no excuse for what Harvey Weinstein did. There is also no excuse for what Louis C.K. did. Or for what Charlie Rose did. You get the gist; the list goes on and on.

The #MeToo movement has unmasked these monsters. It is safe to assume that more of them will be revealed in the near future, too. Hiding in plain sight, some of these allegedly perverse beasts were people I considered role models before their horrendous actions were divulged from underneath their televised personas, like Rose, whose journalistic contributions I admired.

It is refreshing to now be in-the-know about those I used to look up to—to now have to rethink whose work I want to emanate when I graduate as a professional journalist. It is immeasurably crucial, especially in this line of work, to be informed. I am thus grateful to those who have spoken up.

However, as amazing as it is to see men and women gather the courage to voice their disturbing accounts, casting aside their fears to take down—with the help of good journalism—the predators who targeted them, one thing continues to bother me. This irksome feeling especially came to fruition when The Washington Post pictured two photos side-by-side: one of Senator Al Franken and the other of Alabama senatorial candidate, Roy Moore.

At the time this opinion was written, four women have come forward alleging Franken groped them without their consent. Again, there are no defenses to be made for this sort of behavior, especially when it comes to a political figure who has participated in drafting legislation to protect victims of sexual assault. The hypocrisy, if these allegations are true, is painfully hysterical.

In Moore’s case, nine women have accused him of sexual harassment. There is a stark difference, though, between Franken’s situation and Moore’s: while Franken’s delinquencies were limited to groping, Moore’s sexual misconduct crossed the line into pedophilic territory.

When he was a district attorney in Alabama, Moore allegedly sexually assaulted teenage girls as young as 14 years old. He went so far as to supposedly tell victim Beverly Young Nelson—who was 16 when Moore purportedly forced himself upon her in his car, grabbing her crotch and trying to force her face between his legs after giving her a ride home—not to speak about what had transpired between them because no one would believe her anyway.

Bias and political affiliation aside, there is a clear distinction in severity of crime between groping an adult woman and pursuing sexual relations with defenseless minors.

When The Washington Post published a side-by-side of these two cases, they executed a false equivalency. When other media outlets issue unnecessary comparisons between the circumstances surrounding the accusations against Franken and Moore, they send a sense of false equivalency as well. Equalizing Franken and Moore tries the crimes in a duplicate manner when they are enormously at variance; while both men’s actions are inexcusable, they are not the same.

It does not matter what the initial intention behind these works is; most readers unfortunately only digest the headline and its corresponding photo(s), not bothering to read the adjacent article that can be accessed with an extra tap or click. Consequently, the fallacious equity then pools in readers’ minds.

This malpractice is a symptom of sensationalism: these serious instances of sexual misconduct are overhyped as different outlets compete to outdo each other in viewership and subscriptions. The news is a business; there is the constant pressure to be the first organization to publish a story and to be the one with the most customers. The truth is manipulated along the way, either by the published works themselves or by the consumers who twist the facts and give the lies lives of their own.

Sensationalism will not stop in the news media, not even if it means people’s abilities to differentiate the austerity of two separate cases will be distorted or that pedophilia is placed on the same level as groping—the latter, by the way, is incredibly dangerous, as it trivializes how seriously demented pursuing sexual encounters with minors is.

You can put Weinstein and C.K. and Rose in the same basket. However, Franken does not compare to them, nor does he come close to Moore and his pedophilic promiscuity. The media needs to stop making it seem like Franken—and those like him—are the same.

What Franken did was wrong, but not a disrobing-and-kissing-and-fondling-a-14-year-old level of wrong.