Fernando Botero, Sports Struggles, and LeBron’s Surprise

This week’s edition covers stories 
from September 14th to September 20th, 2023.

Today’s issue is 750 words, a 5-minute read.

Mateo talks Latine artist Fernando Botero, MN Viking’s Alexander Mattison recieved racist and violent messages, LeBron James’ visit to Lourdes High School in Rochester, MN.

Good Morning and Happy Thursday! Can you believe that it’s almost fall already? Summer is officially drawing to a close and I hope that everyone has made time to enjoy the perfect weather we are getting this week. The leaves are finally changing colors, football is back, and now we can sit back and reflect on the eventful summer we all had. This week I will be discussing the life of an influential Latine artist, today’s problem with racism in sports, and a celebrity surprise visit to a Minnesota high school.

On a separate note, the NewPrensa team would like to offer condolences to the family of Mario Duarte, a  journalism pioneer in the Twin Cities Latino community, and founder of “La Prensa de Minnesota”, who passed away on Saturday. To learn more about Mario and his impact, click here.

Fernando Botero in Monaco on February 14, 2001 📸 Alain BENAINOUS / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

This week we recognize and appreciate the impact of Fernando Botero, who sadly passed away last Friday at the age of 91. Botero, a renowned Colombian artist and sculptor, is considered one of the most influential Latin American artists of his time. He was well known for his signature style, “Boterismo”, which depicted people or figures at an exaggerated size, often for social or political commentary. He won countless awards around the world throughout his lifetime, including the Guggenheim International Award (1957), the Order of Andrés Bello (1976), the Silver Cross of the Order of Boyacá (1977), the French Legion of Honor (2002), the Américas Prize (2002), the Grand Cross of the Order of Isabel la Católica (2007) and the International Sculpture Center Lifetime Achievement Award (2012).

His work is on display in museums across the world, including collections across Europe, the US, and of course Latin America. A larger collection is located at Museo Botero in Bogotá, where you can find over 100 pieces of Botero’s work that he donated. His lifetime work and achievements have inspired many and will be taught about for generations to come.

Following last Thursday’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison was the recipient of over 60 “disgustingly disrespectful messages, two of which he shared on his Instagram story for the world to see. The messages were full of racist and violent language, and I will warn you, are disturbing and harmful. With today’s social media presence, it can become difficult for a player to stay out of the spotlight following a mediocre athletic performance, as there can be millions of viewers at a time, many discussing the game as it happens on social media. 

Players are always subject to criticism, as it is part of competitive sports, but what happened to Alexander Mattison was extremely out of bounds, and should serve as a wake-up call to the sports community about the severity of this issue. Unfortunately, this is not new. Athletes (especially POC athletes) have been subject to racial attacks regardless of performance since the integration of sports. In May, seven people were arrested after they directed racist comments at Real Madrid star soccer player, Vini Jr..
In July, three former Northwestern football players spoke out against what they described as a pattern of racism from coaches and players at the school. Last month, in August, San Jose Sharks hockey player Anthony Duclair detailed the racism he faced throughout his lifetime as a black hockey player and the racism black youth hockey players still face to this day. These are just recent and reported examples. It is going to be important going forward that league officials work with teams and social companies to combat the hate and drive positivity and success.

LeBron James and his son, LeBron James Jr. 📷Alex Bierens de Haan via Getty Images

On a more positive note in sports, Lourdes High School students were pleasantly surprised last Friday by one of basketball’s all-time greats, LeBron James. The NBA’s all-time leading scorer is 38 years old and plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, but found himself in Rochester, MN for the last week as his son, Bronny, received treatment at Mayo Clinic. Students at Lourdes High were called into an assembly, likely expecting to hear from the principal and other administrators, when the curtain opened to reveal the longtime superstar standing on stage. He thanked them for allowing him to use their gym and weight room, and in return was showered with applause and the occasional “I love you LeBron!”

That’s all from me, we’ll see you next time.


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Hi, friend: Mateo here! 
I’m a Communications Specialist by day
and playing football
 by night!

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