Bits & Pieces: Baltimore Ravens' Rice continuing anti-bullying campaign in Howard

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice visited Howard High School in May of last year for an anti-bullying assembly and plans to return to Howard County a couple times over the next few months to continue his campaign against bullying and to help those county residents with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

This Thursday, April 11, Rice will team up with Wegmans and BODYARMOR SuperDrink for a charity event at the Wegmans in Columbia. This VIP Charity Fundraiser for the Ray Rice Charitable Fund and The Arc of Howard County will run from 5 to 7 p.m. Tickets, at$100, are available to the first 100 people on a first-come, first-serve basis.

In July, Ray is planning to come back for another "Ray of Hope" session to continue his campaign against bullying.

Along with Ray's efforts, there have been editorials in newspapers throughout the country decrying bullying. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has come out strongly against bullying and so have senior state and national officials.

We continue to emphasize to our young students and student-athletes that bullying is wrong and what do we get? We get a coach at Rutgers University throwing basketballs at his players during practice, cursing at them and actually hitting some of them. All of it has been captured on tape.

This is bullying in its truest form by adults whom we have entrusted with our young athletes. Both coaches involved should have been fired immediately, but it took several months and the leak of the video for the decision to be made.

This whole situation raises an even bigger question. If the coach at Rutgers was allowed to do his thing unsupervised, are there other coaches, managers or people entrusted with the care of our young athletes doing the same things or worse?

The truth is that the large majority of coaches are doing things right. It's just that small minority who don't seem to know the difference between right and wrong.

Inspiration Walk

Special Olympics Howard County will sponsor its 12th annual Inspiration Walk on April 20 at Centennial Park. Proceeds are earmarked for the 19 sports programs run by Special Olympics. Over 570 Howard County children and adults with intellectual disabilities are the beneficiaries of the funds collected.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the walk will begin at 9:15. Pre-walk activities take place at the stage near the boathouse. Walkers with a minimum of $25 in pledges receive a shirt and will be entered in a random prize drawing of gifts donated by local businesses.

Basketball standouts

Two of our former high school boys basketball stars are coming off impressive years at Division I colleges.

Tommy Brenton, a senior at Stony Brook and former Player of the Year while at River Hill, has been named the Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year. It marks the first time in Stony Brook basketball history that one of its student athletes has won a national player of the year award. Kentucky's Anthony Davis, who was selected No. 1 in last year's NBA Draft, won the award last season.

Brenton also received recognition this season as a Lou Henson Mid-Major All-American and was named America East Player of the Year.

Eric Atkins, a junior at Notre Dame who grew up in Columbia, also turned in a strong season for a Fighting Irish team that made this year's NCAA Tournament. Atkins graduated from Mount St. Joseph, but honed his skills as a kid practicing in Columbia gyms. This winter he averaged 11.2 points per game as Notre Dame's starting point guard.

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