Former tennis pro, James Blake, is one of those guys that you just know is an outstanding dude. During his touring days, Blake was always a good sport and was never in the negative spotlight.
James Blake on Tour
Blake had a career high ranking of #4 (11/2006) and won 10 singles titles, along with 7 doubles titles and 2 Hopman Cup titles; and a 2007 David Cup victory. He was in no way a mug on the tour, especially with his powerful forehand and one-handed backhands that gave many of his competitors troubles.
2015 James Blake NYC Incident
Back in 2015, Blake was standing out in front of his hotel when an NYPD officer randomly tackled James Blake for, what later was discovered, mistaken identity. Apparently Blake resembled the actual suspect and the officer attempted to apprehend him; you know shoot first, ask questions later.
Everything was cleared up soon after with the commissioner, Bill Bratton, apologized for the incident.
James Blake Updates 2015 Incident
Shortly after the incident, Blake filed a civil suit against the NYPD.
Instead of Blake pursuing the civil suit, James agreed to drop it under very specific circumstances; a legal fellowship will be created in his name that will bolster the work of the city’s police watchdog agency.
This fellow will have a 2 year term at the Civilian Complaint Review Board and the city will fund it for 6 years. The salary (included with the agreement) will be comparable to the other staff that is currently there and will be no less than $65,000 annually.
After the settlement James Blake stated, “It has been my intention since Day One to turn a negative into a positive, and I think this fellowship accomplishes that goal.”
This guy is great!
Civilian Complaint Review Board
The NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board is the nation’s largest independent oversight organization of the biggest police department in the US. The CCRB was created to investigate, mediate, and prosecuting complaints of misconduct of the NYPD.
Additional James Blake Awesomeness
In addition to dropping his civil suit in order to fund the CCRB, Blake has a foundation called “The James Blake Foundation” that invests seed money at the leading-edge of science. This money speeds up the most promising work and shortening the time it takes to turn around lab discoveries into better treatments for patients.
Additionally, Blake has hosted Anthem Live!, a charity tennis exhibition and music event in Virginia and New York City. Anthem Live! raises money for cancer research.
Also, in 2008, Blake established the “Thomas Blake, Sr. Memorial Research Fund” to support cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The fund was named after Blake’s father after passing from gastric cancer in 2004.
I had the opportunity to string Blake’s tennis racquets at a Power Shares event, I cannot explain just how nice of a guy he is. He was extremely nice to be around, thanked me for my work, and treated me like kindly. Definitely a first class guy.
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