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Myron Medcalf

Columnist | Local

A longtime Minnesota resident, Myron Medcalf has previously worked as a news and sports reporter for the Star Tribune, and is now a national writer for ESPN. His column appears in print on Sundays twice a month and also online. 


Medcalf is currently a senior college basketball reporter and nationally syndicated radio host with ESPN. He's a former Star Tribune news and sports reporter.
Recent content from Myron Medcalf
A new barricade and a new fist sculpture are at the south and north entrance to George Floyd Square a day after part of the square was cleared in Minn

Medcalf: Changes to George Floyd Square threaten to scrub history

The city's move to reopen the intersection follows the playbook in a country that loves to move on when race is involved.
Trinity Ottoson-Smith, 9, was caught in crossfire while jumping on a trampoline on May 15. ORG XMIT: MIN2105272026100384

Medcalf: A love letter to the young Black men in Minneapolis I failed

Our children have a right to live.
Over the past year, artists worldwide have created murals of George Floyd — including these from Kenya, Belgium and Milwaukee — after he was murde

Medcalf: Will powerful white Minnesotans live up to promises made after George Floyd's murder?

Until white people collectively commit to the empathy necessary to unravel systemic racism, this place will be ripe for more horror.
“Caste,” by Isabel Wilkerson ORG XMIT: MIN2007221333450079

Medcalf: Antiracism book club explores caste in America

In Chris Rock's 2008 comedy special, "Kill the Messenger," he discusses the limited diversity in his affluent neighborhood in Alpine, N.J. At the time, the…
The casket of Daunte Wright was removed from Shiloh Temple International Ministries after his funeral in April.

Medcalf: Compliance during Minnesota police encounters is only strictly required if you're Black

Reform, in the future, will be tested in a place now known for police killings,
This May 25, 2020, file image from a police body camera shows bystanders including Alyssa Funari, left filming, Charles McMillan, center left in light

Medcalf: Chauvin trial verdict offers glimmer of hope of what Minnesota can become

Although the darkness still lingers, the sun poked through the clouds on Tuesday.
Candles at the base of the fist sculpture that is now installed at the place where Daunte Wright was killed by a Brooklyn Center police officer.  JEFF

Medcalf: Gawking at Black pain steals our humanity

What's the line between reporting atrocities and feeding fascination with Black trauma?
People inside the Brooklyn Center Police Department reacted after first seeing the police body camera footage being live-streamed from a nearby news c

Medcalf: Blackness too often seen as act of resistance by Minn. police

Once again we are asked to tell the world how bad this feels.
Organizer Anthea Yur gathered Asian women in a circle and read their signs as they gathered March 18 at Levin Park in Minneapolis in solidarity with t

Medcalf: In Minnesota and across country, Asian Americans are under attack and need our support

Minutes into my FaceTime conversation with Anthea Yur about the recent anti-Asian attacks around the country, I was struck by her vigor for change, as…
Myron Medcalf’s great-great-great-grandmother, Mary Ann Key, is shown with Medcalf’s great-grandfather, Jolly Key, right, and his great-uncle, Wil

Medcalf: Join a local anti-racism book club for all Minnesotans

The Mary Ann Key Book Club is a collaboration with Hennepin County Library, the Friends of Hennepin County Library and the Star Tribune.
Chain link fence with barbed wire, concrete barriers, and concertina wire surrounded the Hennepin County Public Safety Facility, the Hennepin County G

Medcalf: Security buildup before Derek Chauvin trial risks stifling voice of marginalized communities

If the line between protesters and opportunists isn't drawn and respected, it could create more challenges for all involved
The construction of Interstate 94 tore a hole through Rondo, St. Paul’s historic black neighborhood.

Medcalf: Racism, not a highway, tore apart St. Paul's Rondo neighborhood

They didn't just build a major highway through a Black neighborhood in the 1950s and 1960s. They killed dreams.
Nur-D had the audience on their feet during his performance at the MLK celebration in St. Paul in 2020.  GLEN STUBBE • glen.stubbe@startribune.com M

Medcalf: Minnesota artists uphold, demonstrate the timeless power of Black music

I've loved hip-hop music since I was a kid. It's filled with vivid imagery, anchored by defiance. Local rapper Nur-D, real name Matt Allen, and…
Lena K. Gardner

Medcalf: For far too long, voices of Black women in fight for justice have been ignored

Throughout the history of the movement for equality, Black women have been denied the recognition they've deserved.
KG Wilson, shown in 2012.

Medcalf: White Minnesotans who ask why BLM protests police shootings, not homicides, aren't being honest

Those who ask why BLM protests police shootings, not homicides, aren't being honest
George Floyd’s tombstone.

Medcalf: In 2021, Minnesotans shouldn't need another tragic image to commit to change

I remember pressing a gray button to get my voicemail messages and hearing the menacing voice. I was 20 years old, serving as the editor-in-chief…
William Green said Minnesotans were surprised that “George Floyd could happen here,” in part because so many hadn’t grappled with the state’s

Medcalf: How can Minnesotans face the truth about racism, past and present? Start with a book

To ponder the past is not an optional quest for a Black person in this country.
Myron Medcalf

Medcalf: Our duty is to students of color falling behind

The great fight for any family of color in this state is to magnify the brilliance, potential and progress of our children against the undercurrent of discouraging statistics in Minnesota.
Connie Sheehan, the founder and owner of PUSH Fitness.

Medcalf: With a positive vibe, Black trainers push virtual fitness among a vulnerable group

It's hard to fight a pandemic — and winter inertia — while also shouldering the disproportionate health impact of the virus, Myron Medcalf writes. But these motivators help.
Brittany Wright at the March on Washington 2020.

Medcalf: For Black Minnesotans fighting injustice, finding joy is itself 'an act of resistance'

In the middle of struggles for racial equality, it's OK to be tired, too. And it's important to do whatever's necessary to reboot.
Myron Medcalf

Medcalf: To be Black in Minnesota is to constantly barter for acceptance

Value often feels like something you have to earn here when you're not white. Value seems conditional.

Summer of Reckoning: Tyus Jones in 2011

An occasional series following 15-year-old Tyus Jones' summer of basketball on a national stage.
Ralph Sampson III

Sampson doesn't regret decision to forgo NBA

The Gophers center considered leaving for the pros but decided his education came first.
Tubby Smith, shown at media day, watched last year’s Gophers tumble from the top 15 to not even making the NIT. He’s hoping for better things with

Tubby Smith putting on his bravest face

After a nightmarish end to last season, Gophers men's basketball coach Tubby Smith enters this season with a squad short on experience but long on potential.

Five things the U men's basketball team must do to win now

1 FIND A POINT GUARD Last year the Gophers fell from the national rankings and ultimately missed out on the NIT as they struggled to…

Six-time winner McGregor finishes 10 Mile in 4th place

As race officials offered commentary on the USA Women's 10 Mile Championship over loudspeakers near the finish line Sunday, many spectators sighed when they learned that Minnesota's Katie McGregor, a six-time winner of the event, had dropped to sixth in the field.
Leane Guerrero

She found running, and left troubles in the dust

Leane Guerrero's first marathon epitomizes her triumph over addiction.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford scrambled out of the pocket as Kansas City outside linebacker Tamba Hali tried to sack him last week. Hali didn’t

Lions' passing weapons are a secondary concern

The Vikings defensive backs are more worried about their own performance, especially the part that happens in the second half.
North Dakota State coach Craig Bohl, center, celebrated with assistants after the Bison defeated the Gophers in 2007. The teams meet again Saturday ni

Thundering herd coming down I-94 for Gophers-Bison game

As many as 20,000 North Dakota State fans are expected to descend on the Twin Cities on Saturday when their Bison take on the Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium.
Miami's Jeff Tanner (74) congratulated Gophers coach Jerry Kill on the field after Saturday's game.

Gophers coach gets a reward for fortitude

After spending five nights in the hospital this week, Jerry Kill got his first victory as Gophers coach.
Sans helmet, Vikings defensive tackle Keith Millard went after Bears quarterback Mike Tomczak at Soldier Field in 1988.

Former Vikings star revels in memories, coaching

Keith Millard, a standout defensive tackle in the 1980s, has found new life teaching his style of intense football.
University of Minnesota vs. New Mexico State football. New Mexico State won 28-21. Medical personnel administered to Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill a

U coach suffers seizure on sidelines

Jerry Kill collapsed in the closing seconds of a home-opening loss to New Mexico State.
Then-Vikings rookie Adrian Peterson set an NFL single-game rushing record with 296 yards against San Diego in 2007. Four years later, the two teams me

Chargers have 296 reasons to remember No. 28

The last time Adrian Peterson faced San Diego, he ran for a record 296 yards, which should be fresh on the Chargers' minds.
Former Gopher DeWayne Walker has a 5-21 record since taking the New Mexico State coaching job in 2008.

Walker down Memory Lane as ex-Gopher, now coach

New Mexico State's leader has a warm spot in his heart for his old teammates, but Saturday, it's all business.
Vikings strong safety Jamarca Sanford, shown wrapping up the Bengals’ Cedric Benson in a 2009 game, never forgets he was a seventh-round draft choic

Sanford ahead at strong safety

The Vikings have yet to declare him the starter over Tyrell Johnson, but his preseason play has been sure and decisive.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was sacked by Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Christian Ballard

Lineman Ballard on the rise following his big fall

A report of a positive test for marijuana likely hurt Christian Ballard's draft stock, but the versatile rookie is making a mark.
Gophers wide receiver Da'Jon McKnight (6) wanted to be the next Michael Jordan in a Dallas high school, but football coaches convinced him to return t

Gophers receiver McKnight brings hoops skills to football

Da'Jon McKnight was chasing hoop dreams in high school before some football coaches made him an offer he couldn't refuse. And now, he's glad he switched.
Gophers running back Lamonte Edwards (left)

Gophers banged up, but Kill knows things could be worse

During Wednesday afternoon's Gophers football practice, redshirt freshman running back Lamonte Edwards stood on the sideline in shorts and a jersey after tweaking his hamstring.
Max Shortell (11, shown playing quarterback last season at Bishop Miege (Kan.) High School, has been impressive as a freshman for the Gophers in prese

U freshman QB Shortell keeps making strides

Max Shortell has put together a string of impressive performances,
Tyus Jones 15, worked on his jump shot during tryouts at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Co.

Part II: A 'feel for the game'

With his selection to the USA's 16-and-under team, Apple Valley's Tyus Jones is living up to his rank atop the national list of class of 2014 point guards.
Tyus Jones, 15, and his mother, Debbie Jones, already have a shoe box full of letters from colleges interested in his basketball exploits. Minnesota a

Part I: Summer of reckoning

The next few months will be critical in the development of the 15-year-old basketball phenom.
Jason Litzau jumped rope during his training session. He jumps over the rope twice with each jump and did 140 without stopping and celebrated with a b

Boxer Litzau fights against the odds

Jason Litzau knew tough times growing up in St. Paul. But now, he is on the verge of winning a world title, going up against undefeated prospect Adrien Broner in Mexico on Saturday.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany

Indianapolis to play host to Big Ten football title game

The Big Ten Conference decided to keep its football championship game in Indianapolis from 2012 to '15.
Linda Ambard, who is running in the Minneapolis Marathon Sunday. Her husband was killed in Afghanistan.

Minneapolis Marathon runner fulfilling husband's wishes

Colorado gym teacher Linda Ambard will run this weekend in honor of her husband, a serviceman killed in April in the Afghan war.
Caleb Truax, left, and Andy Kolle weighed in Thursday in Coon Rapids before Friday’s fight.

Local middleweights dream big

Duluth's Andy Kolle and Caleb Truax of St. Paul battle for a shot at the big-time fights outside Minnesota.
Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi

U's academic performance scores drop, but no penalties assessed

Soccer, with another perfect score, remains the academic standard for Gophers sports teams.
Referee Joe Cortez held up the arm of Ray Edwards after he was declared the winner of his professional debut Friday night.

Ray Edwards wins debut fight, but it was hardly a crowd-pleaser

The four-round unanimous decision notwithstanding, Ray Edwards was the first to admit, after his pro boxing debut, that he has a lot of work ahead.
Gophers basketball coach Tubby Smith

Tubby Smith: Cancer's gone

Gophers men's basketball coach Tubby Smith said Wednesday he recently learned he had early stage prostate cancer and underwent an April 21 procedure at the Mayo Clinic.
Ralph Sampson III

Sampson will return to Gophers

The 6-11 junior center withdrew from the NBA draft and was welcomed back in a statement by coach Tubby Smith.
Ralph Sampson III, left, hit the floor against Cornell as a sophomore, along with Blake Hoffarber and Lawrence Westbrook.

Signs pointing to Sampson's departure from U

As the deadline passed for underclassmen to remove themselves from the NBA draft, it didn't appear as though Ralph Sampson III was planning on returning to school.
Gophers men's basketball coach Tubby Smith has had his name linked to, among other schools, Oregon, Virginia, Arkansas and Georgia Tech; add Maryland

Could this rumor be right one for Tubby?

Maryland is the latest school that could have an interest in the Gophers coach, who does nothing to quash the speculation.
Minnesota's Ralph Sampson III was happy with his successful dunk against Wisconsin at Williams Arena this season.

Sampson opts for draft

Despite not appearing on many -- if any -- lists of top college prospects, the Gophers' junior center will at least consider turning pro.
Gophers basketball coach Tubby Smith

Q&A with Tubby Smith: ''I'm sure there's something we could have done differently'

The Gophers coach discussed the challenges he faced during the frustrating 2010-11 season.
Gophers men's basketball coach Tubby Smith.

Practice facility tops list as Smith lobbies for resources

The Gophers coach said the true gauge of the university's commitment to men's basketball will come down to dollars and cents, an issue he's carried to school officials.
Gophers junior forward Trevor Mbakwe tried to find an open man against a Michigan double team.

Mbakwe leans on staying in school

The junior forward acknowledges that his "last incidents haven't really been good for me."
Colton Iverson, at right, is leaving the Gophers men's basketball team.

Iverson is U's latest departure under Smith

The center will play his senior season elsewhere, after he was granted a release from his scholarship.
Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor (11), Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil (52) reacted on the bench near the end of the Badgers' Sweet 16 loss to Butler.

Badgers are Butler's latest victim

Cold-shooting Wisconsin couldn't stay with last year's NCAA tournament darlings, who are a victory away from an improbable return to the Final Four.
Minnesota native Jordan Taylor has led Wisconsin to its fifth Sweet 16 since 2000.

Taylor discovers a tougher inner shell

The Wisconsin junior shed that skin of insecurity to become one of the best -- and most fearless -- point guards in the country.
In happier times, Jordan Taylor celebrated with fans after beating then-undefeated No. 1 Ohio State 71-67 in February.

Blushing Badgers look to avoid another red-faced NCAA

Ever-steady Wisconsin, with its Minnesota connection, has suffered back-to-back embarrassing losses heading into the NCAA tournament.
Julian Welch, a junior college combo guard, said Saturday he will play for the Gophers.

U awaits NIT bid but also gains guard for future

As the Gophers pondered what will become of the rest of the season, they received good news about next season.
Northwestern guard Michael Thompson (22) was fouled by Gophers center Colton Iverson. Thompson scored 35 points, a Big Ten tournament record, in the W

Gophers are on bubble -- for NIT

Minnesota is hoping for at least one more game of any kind after a crushing first-round loss to Northwestern.
As Michigan’s Zack Novak can attest to last month, Trevor Mbakwe can be a beast underneath the Gophers’ basket.

Big Ten tournament a tryout for Gophers' Mbakwe

The Gophers forward was frustrated by legal troubles that forced him to sit out a season of basketball; his return has affirmed his talent for the game.

Big Ten tournament: Five story lines

big ten tournament: five story lines 1 This year's deep run: The Gophers shocked all when they stormed to the conference title game last year.…

Mbakwe's college career: a timeline

2007-08: Mbakwe plays in only 11 games as a freshman at Marquette due to a knee injury suffered prior to the start of the regular…
Trevor Mbakwe

State players well-represented in Big Ten honors

Jordan Taylor, Jon Leuer and Trevor Mbakwe were all honored; Purdue's JaJuan Johnson took home Player of the Year.
Blake Hoffarber was fouled by Tim Frazier on his way to a go-ahead three-point play, but the Gophers' lead wouldn’t last long.

So much for a high note to end season

The Gophers' Big Ten finale went as most of the games before it did -- with them unable to pull out a victory late.
Gophers guard Al Nolen, top.

Nolen still sees postseason play as a possibility

Al Nolen said he wants to return for the Big Ten tournament, but added he hasn't been cleared to run.
New Gophers volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon .

New U volleyball coach says 'hello' and 'see you later'

During Sunday's men's basketball game between Penn State and the Gophers, new Gophers volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon will greet fans for the first time. And probably the last time for the next 18 months.
Both Gophers basketball teams practice and play at Williams Arena.

What would practice facility mean to Williams Arena?

The Gophers don't yet have the funds for a facility, but they realize they have to look at what the future holds for their 83-year-old home.
Northwestern's Alex Marcotullio, left, celebrated in the air with Reggie Hearn after Marcotullio's basket put the Wildcats in the lead during their 68

Another late-game failure for the Gophers

Minnesota blew a 10-point lead and the frustration reached a boil when coach Tubby Smith and guard Blake Hoffarber yelled at each other during a time out.
Gophers freshman point guard Maverick Ahanmisi (front) is expected to get his third start of the season Wednesday against Northwestern, enabling Blake

Change at the point; freshman Ahanmisi likely to start

Coach Tubby Smith will likely start freshman Maverick Ahanmisi at point guard Wednesday at Northwestern and move Blake Hoffarber back to shooting guard.
Gophers sophomore Rodney Williams reacted after being elbowed in the face in the second half.

Another U flat finish sees hopes all but die

With their seventh loss in eight games, the Gophers' chances of an NCAA tournament invitation seem to have vanished.
Trevor Mbakwe in front of Tubby Smith at Michigan State in December.

Watch what U tweet cuz itll get U in trubl

As Gophers players know all too well, the practice of taking to social media to say -- well, anything -- can produce unintended results.
Michigan State’s Keith Appling went after a loose ball as the Gophers’ Colton Iverson grabbed his foot during the Spartans’ 53-48 victory over t

U's grasp slips on game, NCAAs

The game went down to the final minute, when the Spartans made all the right plays and the Gophers frittered away a much-needed win.
Minnesota coach Tubby Smith

Nolen's absence hurts U's NCAA bid

The Gophers have missed their injured point guard on the court, but he also might be a factor when the selection committee votes.