Things That Matter

[VIDEO] JC Chavez On Drugs, Narcos And Suicide

Julio César Chávez, boxing legend and hero to Mexican dads everywhere, recently appeared on “Titulares Telemundo” where he opened up about some of the darkest days of his life. In an interview with Miguel Gurwitz, Chávez described what it was like to fall into a pit of drug addiction and how it nearly led him to take his life.

Chávez talked to Gurwitz about the first time he tried cocaine.

Credit: Telemundo Deportes / YouTube
CREDIT: Credit: Telemundo Deportes / YouTube

Chávez said he first tried cocaine in 1992 after his fight versus Hector “Macho” Camacho. He said it became an addiction he couldn’t shake. Chávez, who grew up poor, said his lavish lifestyle wasn’t making him happy. “I felt alone, empty. And what did I seek out? The dumbest and most stupid thing I could, which was drugs.”

He also clarified what kind of relationship he had with Mexican drug lords.

Credit: Telemundo Deportes / YouTube
CREDIT: Credit: Telemundo Deportes / YouTube

“I know all of the drug traffickers. All of them. From the smallest to the biggest. They wanted to meet me, take pictures with me.” Chávez said he was just a celebrity that they admired. “Thank god that I never got involved in drug trafficking,” he said to Gurwitz.

Chávez revealed that he was an abusive father.

Credit: Telemundo Deportes / YouTube
CREDIT: Credit: Telemundo Deportes / YouTube

Chávez says his children suffered due to his drug and alcohol addiction. “They suffered a lot, honestly. They suffered a lot. I treated their mother poorly. I was always drugged out… I would insult them.” Chávez said that at the time, he cared more about drugs than his family. “When you’re deep into alcohol and drugs, you fall in love with the drugs and alcohol. And your loved ones are the ones you push away the most,” Chávez told Gurwitz.

Chávez also revealed that he almost committed suicide.

Credit: Telemundo Deportes / YouTube
CREDIT: Credit: Telemundo Deportes / YouTube

Chávez says his drug addiction drove him to suicide. When he attempted to shoot himself, his brother-in-law in law intervened and saved him. Chávez says that moment was the beginning of his turnaround. He says he’s been sober for six years.

Watch the full video:


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Bad Bunny And Marc Anthony Will Rebuild Baseball Parks In Puerto Rico Destroyed By Hurricane María

Entertainment

Bad Bunny And Marc Anthony Will Rebuild Baseball Parks In Puerto Rico Destroyed By Hurricane María

badbunnypr / marcanthony / Instagram

While it’s been two years since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, the recovery efforts aren’t finishing anytime soon. Many people on the island are still trying to put their lives back together, which includes rebuilding homes, churches, and schools. What many might not know is the recovery efforts have also included revitalizing baseball fields on the island where Puerto Ricans once played. 

Among the destruction that both Hurricanes Irma and Maria left in 2017 is more than 300 small league baseball parks that were found inoperative. As a result, many community ball programs were essentially eliminated and youths on the island were essentially left in the dark without fields to play the sport.

Leading the revitalization efforts are Puerto Rico’s own two native sons: Bad Bunny and Marc Anthony. The duo, along with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a U.S. community development non-profit, has teamed up for a new program called Play Ball Again. The purpose of the initiative will be to help rebuild some of those damaged baseball fields and facilitate local programming for 17,500 youth. It is expected that in total, about 300 facilities will be impacted by this initiative. 

The duo hopes the contributions play a huge role in bringing not only baseball back to the island but a place where people can escape from their worries. 

Credit: @laguerradelbsn / Twitter

The initiative is special to both of them not only because they’re helping youth but they hoping these recovery efforts go a long way in bringing back a sense of community. Maestro Cares Foundation, which Anthony owns, is putting money towards the program with a goal of restoring “normalcy” in Puerto Rico.

“Sports and recreation activities help restore a sense of normalcy, in the wake of disasters,” Anthony, who is among the program’s earliest supporters, said in a press release.” Baseball isn’t just a game in this context. It helps young people do better in school and improves family life and health in difficult circumstances.”

Maestro Cares, along with the Good Bunny Foundation and UNICEF USA, will all be putting forth $300,000 of what LISC expects to be more than $1.6 million in baseball field renovations. Joining the efforts is Chicago Cubs second baseman Javi Baez with his Cubs Charities, which will donate an additional $100,000 in support. This also includes the Kohler Company, which made a donation to fund bathroom fixtures for onsite facilities.

“Two years after these devastating storms, the need to rebuild the island remains strong,” Báez, whose family is from the Bayamón area, said in a press release. “Cubs Charities understood the need and has stepped up to the plate to help restore baseball fields and give kids throughout Puerto Rico the opportunity to play the game. This rebuild will make a big difference for the community, and I am proud to continue my efforts to restore the island.”

The recovery efforts in Puerto Rico have been long and tiresome but the fuel behind the revitalization has always been the people. 

 Credit: UNICEF / MAESTRO CARES

While time may have passed, many on the island of Puerto Rico are still trying to get back on their feet. For Bad Bunny, he knows firsthand the power that activities like baseball have on youth. Growing up, baseball was part of his life and much of his time was spent at many of the ballparks that were destroyed in 2017. 

“Growing up on the island I spent a lot of time in some of these parks that are now destroyed,” says Bad Bunny, whose Good Bunny Foundation is part of the initiative. “In parks similar to these, a lot of great athletes like Roberto Clemente, Yadier Molina, Roberto Alomar, Edgar Martinez, and Ivan Rodriguez grew up. Our commitment is to rebuild these parks so that we can help new athletes grow. This is the first step for the rebirth of sports within the island.”

The rebirth of Puerto Rico is taking time but in that process, there is a sense that an even stronger community will come out of this disaster. While simple things like baseball may not seem significant, it’s a part of the fabric of Puerto Rico and displays the love that is shared playing on a field. This rebirth has already started as construction on the baseball field is underway and most field renovations are set for completion by the 2020 season.

READ: The Death of Four-Year-Old Noah Cuatro Has Rocked the Los Angeles Community As They Come to Grips With the Failure of Child Protective Services

These Latino Athletes Have Delivered The Most Iconic Moments In Sports History

Entertainment

These Latino Athletes Have Delivered The Most Iconic Moments In Sports History

sabatinigaby / nairoquintanaoficial / Instagram

Latin American and U.S. Latino athletes have given the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking world countless moments of joy, pride, and hope. Latin American sportswomen and men usually come from disadvantaged backgrounds so their stories of pride and success inspire us even more. It would be almost impossible to enumerate all the triumphs achieved by Latin American athletes, but we are listing some of the most memorable ones. Sí se puede!

When Diego Armando Maradona scored the infamous but glorious goal known as “La mano de Dios” (“The hand of God”)
June 22, 1986, Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, in a quarterfinals game against bitter rivals England

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This has got to be the single most controversial moment in World Cup history. Argentina was facing England in the quarterfinals and Maradona jumped to hit the ball with his head. But thing is, he actually hit it with his hand and the ball penetrated the net. The English were of course appalled, but this event remains one of the most memorable in the long history of joy and drama of the Argentinian national team. We got to also remember that there was some bad blood between Argentina and England at the time, a product of the Falklands War. 

When Ana Gabriela Guevara excelled in an Olympic event that was uncharted territory for Latina athletes
2004 Olympic Games, Athens, Greece

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Ana Gabriela Guevara, who is now a very controversial politician, gained notoriety for scoring a silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. She competed in 400m, a test that Mexican track athletes don’t generally excel. But she proved that she is one of a kind. 

When Mexican boxing legend Julio César Chávez pulled off a miracle and knocked out Meldrick Taylor in the last few seconds of their championship unification fight
March 17, 1990, Las Vegas, Nevada

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In a rare encounter, the world’s two best boxers met for a unification fight. Both were unbeaten and Chávez was heralded as a national hero in his native Mexico. The fight was as tough as it gets, with both boxers sustaining enormous amounts of punishment. With 17 seconds left on the clock and behind in the scorecards Julio César connected with a massive right hand. The contest was stopped with two seconds left: a boxing miracle of the highest order.

When Fernando Valenzuela became a baseball hero and an icon of Mexican-American pride and excellence
1981-1986

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Fernando “El Toro” Valenzuela became an icon of Latino sportsmanship after an excellent 1981 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was one of the first Mexicans to break into the mainstream in the United States. He inspired and continues to inspire, millions of paisanos. He was an All-Star in each season of his incredible 1981-1986 run. 

When Gabriela Sabatini demonstrated that Latinas can excel in the tennis court
US Open, 1990, Womens’ Tennis champion!

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Tennis is a perilous sport for Latin Americans because it is mostly dominated by the United States and Europe. But Sabatini showed that Latino girls can be ace too! She won the U.S. Open in 1990, defeating the German Stefi Graf. Una dama del deporte blanco en toda la extensión de la palabra.

When Colombian dynamo Nairo Quintana reached the stars on his bike
Since 2012

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Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas is perhaps the greatest Colombian cyclist of all time. That is a big claim considering the long and glorious history of the sport in Colombia. Quintana is known for his sustained attacks during steep hills: when most of his adversaries struggle, he has his best performance. He was won multiple stages of the Tour de France and the Giro di Italia. 

When Felipe “Tibio” Muñoz swam toward a gold medal and got a whole country celebrating after some pretty traumatizing events
1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City

Credit: mexico_68_el_tibio_munoz. Digital image. El Grafico

Prior to the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, Mexicans had experienced a traumatizing event when the army attacked a group of students and civilians who were protesting at the Tlatelolco Square. The country was split emotionally and politically. But then came “El Tibio” and at least for a brief moment, the country was united behind a young man who swam his way to a gold medal. The memory of his accomplishment is still brought up today when thinking of the greatest sporting moments in Latin American history. 

When Ecuadorian athlete Jefferson Perez won an Olympic gold medal in the Atlanta Olympic Games
Atlanta Olympic Games, 1996

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Ecuador doesn’t have a strong Olympic team, and medals have been few and far in between. That is why Jefferson Perez is a standout in the sporting history of this proud South American nation. During the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, Perez did the unthinkable. As Rihannon Walker writes in The Undefeated: “Ecuador’s Jefferson Pérez, Russia’s Ilya Markov and Mexico’s Bernardo Segura struggled to find separation from one another as they neared the finish of the 20-kilometer walk at the 1996 Olympics. Then Pérez began to take advantage of having the youngest legs of the trio and powered himself into the lead. As a crowd of 85,000 waited to see who would be the first to appear at Olympic Stadium, Pérez made a dramatic solo entrance and finished in 1 hour, 20 minutes and 7 seconds to become the youngest gold medalist in the 20-km event at 22. His victory also secured Ecuador’s first Olympic medal.” Just wow, a moment to remember forever. 

When Teófilo Stevenson reigned supreme in amateur boxing. Viva Cuba!
1972, 1975, and 1980 Olympic Games in Munich, Montreal, and Moscow

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In the 1970s Muhammad Ali was the greatest name in heavyweight boxing, but he was perhaps not the best. Many believe that amateur legend Teofilo Stevenson of Cuba would have beat the great Ali. But, alas, Cuban boxers were not allowed to turn professional and a fight between the two never materialized. Stevenson’s amateur career extended 20 years, from 1969 to 1986. He won a total of three gold medals, un logro extraordinario

When “Las espectaculares morenas del Caribe” Cuban female volleyball team captured the world’s imagination and won three consecutive Olympic gold medals
Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 Olympic Games

Credit: AAuFzt9. Digital image. MSN. 

This group of amazing Cuban ladies totally dominated volleyball for three Olympic Games, and then won the bronze in their fourth attempt. Puro Cuba! 

When Costa Rican swimmer Claudia Poll surprised everyone and became a national icon
Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games

Credit: AAuFGZl. Digital image. MSN

This amazing woman was born in Nicaragua but later became a Costa Rican citizen. She won a gold medal in the Atlanta Games (a big year for Latino athletes!) and is considered the greatest sports figure in the history of the Central American nation. She also won two bronze medals in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. A true force of nature.

READ: 11 Unusual Sports You Can Find In Latin America