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Pittsburgh Steelers player says decision to honor Antwon Rose on helmet came from management, but team says otherwise

The decision by the Pittsburgh Steelers to honor a teen fatally shot by a police officer and allegedly involved in a drive-by shooting appears to have created disruption and controversy.

Two Steelers players have already declared that they will not pay tribute to the Antwon Rose Jr., and now another Pittsburgh player revealed that management decided who the players would honor on their helmet. Previously, the team said that players and coaches were united on the name that would be written on the back of helmets, but it seems that might not have been the case.

During a Zoom call with media on Thursday, Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick was asked about the team’s decision to use helmets to deliver social justice signaling. Fitzpatrick said that the decision to honor Rose came from the Steelers’ front office and not players.

“It was made from people upstairs and everything else like that,” Fitzpatrick said in the interview. “Don’t know exactly who. Don’t know exactly how. But we did. We knew that we were going to have somebody on the back of our helmets, and it wasn’t exactly clear on what it was going to be. It was mostly made by everyone upstairs.”

This contradicts what the Steelers said earlier this week about the helmet gesture.

“This year the NFL is allowing players to wear helmet decals to honor victims of systemic racism,” the Steelers website stated on Monday. “Players could select the name of an individual to wear on their helmet and the Steelers players and coaches united as one to wear a single name on the back of their helmets and hats for the entire 2020 season — Antwon Rose Jr.”

When the Steelers played the New York Giants on Monday night, the players had the name “Antwon Rose Jr.” on the back of their helmets. All the Steelers had Rose’s name on their helmets except for Pittsburgh offensive lineman and West Point graduate Alejandro Villanueva. He decided to honor the late Alwyn Cashe, a soldier who saved fellow servicemen and was posthumously awarded the Silver Star Medal, the third-highest award for valor in combat.

On Thursday, Steelers center and co-captain Maurkice Pouncey announced that he would not be wearing Rose’s name on his helmet this season.

“I was given limited information on the situation regarding Antwon, and I was unaware of the whole story surrounding his death and what transpired during the trial following the tragedy,” Pouncey said. “I should have done more research to fully understand what occurred in its entirety.

“Moving forward, I will make my own decision about what to wear on the back of my helmet,” Pouncey added. “Make no mistake, I am against racism and I believe the best thing I can do is to continue helping repair relationships between the police and their communities. Systemic racism issues have occurred in our country for too long, and that needs to stop.”

Rose was reportedly involved in a drive-by shooting in 2018. Then-17-year-old Rose and his friend Zaijuan Hester were pulled over because they were in a vehicle that matched the description of a car that was used in a drive-by shooting that injured two people minutes earlier.

The two teens fled after they were pulled over by East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld. The officer shot Rose three times. Rose died from the gunshot injuries.

Hester pleaded guilty to charges related to the drive-by shooting, and was sentenced to 6 to 22 years in prison. Rosfeld was acquitted by a jury and found not guilty of homicide charges in the death of Rose.

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Nancy Pelosi condemns rioting as public sentiment turns against unrest: ‘They should be prosecuted’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spoke forcefully Thursday against the riots that have been occurring with regularity for nearly four months in cities all over the country, as polling continues to show public sentiment souring on the unrest.

Pelosi and other Democrats have spent much of the last few months criticizing President Donald Trump’s use of federal law enforcement to stop violence in places like Chicago and Portland, Oregon.

“We support peaceful demonstrations, we participate in them, they are part of the essence of our democracy,” Pelosi said. “That does not include looting, starting fires, or rioting. They should be prosecuted. That is lawlessness. I’m very proud that Joe Biden has presented the clarity that, making a distinction that I don’t think our colleagues quite understand but the American people do and a poll released today said that the American people support congressional Democrats over President Trump in terms of dealing with the issue of crime in our country for all of their misrepresentations.”

Pelosi also claimed that voters support congressional Democrats to handle crime more than they trust President Trump.

Protests began in late May after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis Police Department officers while resisting them after they attempted to arrest him for allegedly using counterfeit money at a local store.

Anti-police protests sprung up all over the country, often devolving into dangerous riots at night time. Protesters in Seattle took over blocks of the city and occupied a police precinct. Further police violence incidents, such as the shooting of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta and the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, sparked renewed protests and violence.

Portland, which has long dealt with general unrest often inflamed by Antifa, has seen some form of protests in the streets for more than 100 days in a row. Former GOP congressman Trey Gowdy criticized Pelosi for her late condemnation of the ongoing violence.

“You can be 100% behind law and order and law enforcement, or you can be, in her case, 100 days behind them,” Gowdy said on Fox News. “It’s been about 100 days. In that time, she had time to compare cops to stormtroopers. She had time to call [House Minority Leadaer] Kevin McCarthy the ‘enemy of the state.’ She had time to get her hair done … but she had no time to defend law enforcement until the polls started tightening.”

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Pittsburgh Steelers co-captain goes against NFL, will decide who he honors on his helmet

Pittsburgh Steelers center and co-captain Maurkice Pouncey announced that he would decide whose name is on the back of his helmet, not who the Steelers or the NFL tell him to honor. Pouncey is going against the league, which is honoring a victim of a police shooting, who was also reportedly involved in a drive-by shooting.

On Monday, the Steelers announced that every player would wear a helmet decal honoring Antwon Rose Jr.

“This year the NFL is allowing players to wear helmet decals to honor victims of systemic racism,” the Steelers website stated. “Players could select the name of an individual to wear on their helmet and the Steelers players and coaches united as one to wear a single name on the back of their helmets and hats for the entire 2020 season – Antwon Rose Jr.”

“On the night of June 19, 2018, the car Antwon Rose Jr., who is black, was a passenger in was pulled over by the East Pittsburgh Police,” the website reads. “While the driver was being handcuffed on suspicion of being involved in an incident that happened earlier that evening, a frightened Rose fled from the car. The cell phone video a bystander captured showed Rose running, and then you could hear gunshots and see as he was fatally shot in the back three times by a white East Pittsburgh Police Officer.”

The Steelers played the New York Giants on Monday night. The Pittsburgh players, including Pouncey, had the name “Antwon Rose Jr.” on the back of their helmets. On Thursday, Pouncey announced that he regretted wearing the tribute and would not wear Antwon Rose’s name on the back of his helmet for the rest of the season.

“I was given limited information on the situation regarding Antwon, and I was unaware of the whole story surrounding his death and what transpired during the trial following the tragedy,” said Pouncey, who was named the Steelers’ 2019 nominee as the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award for “exceptional character and work off the football field.” “I should have done more research to fully understand what occurred in its entirety.”

“My work with the police, both in Pittsburgh and back home in Florida, is well documented,” the Pittsburgh lineman said. “I don’t always feel the need to highlight what I do with the police departments, but I also want to make sure they understand I inadvertently supported a cause of which I did not fully comprehend the entire background of the case. I take responsibility for not doing more investigating into something that is sensitive to the community and his family, but it is a lesson learned as it relates to political issues that occur every day in our society.

“Moving forward, I will make my own decision about what to wear on the back of my helmet,” Pouncey continued. “Make no mistake, I am against racism and I believe the best thing I can do is to continue helping repair relationships between the police and their communities. Systemic racism issues have occurred in our country for too long, and that needs to stop.”

“My focus will continue to be on helping the police in our communities, and I will support making any necessary changes to help those efforts,” the statement concluded.

The “whole story” that Pouncey is alluding to is that the Steelers did not mention that Rose was reportedly in a vehicle matching the description of a car that had been involved in a drive-by shooting that happened about 10 minutes before Rose was shot. Rose’s friend, Zaijuan Hester, allegedly fired a gun from the rear passenger side of a gold Chevy Cruz, shooting Thomas Cole Jr. in the abdomen, and hitting William Ross in the leg with shrapnel, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Officer Michael Rosfeld pulled over the vehicle on suspicion of carrying out the drive-by shooting. A witness video of the incident shows Hester and Rose run away from the officer. Rosfeld fired three shots, all of them hit Rose; striking him in the face, elbow, and the back, according to Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr.

Rose was unarmed at the time of the shooting, according to police. Daniel Wolfe, a scientist with the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office, said gunshot residue was found on Rose’s hand. But it could have come from Rosfeld’s weapon.

There were two guns on the floor of the car. There was a 9 mm Glock 26 handgun with 16 rounds in the magazine that holds 17 rounds. The other gun was a .40-caliber Glock 22 with a live round in the chamber and an extended magazine with 18 rounds.

Rose had an empty 9 mm ammunition magazine in his pocket, which matched the 9 mm pistol in the car. Shell casings found at the scene of the drive-by shooting matched the .40-caliber Glock 22 pistol, according to police.

Hester, who was 17 at the time of the crime, pleaded guilty on March 15, 2019, to charges related to the drive-by shooting, including three counts of aggravated assault and four firearms charges. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped a charge of attempted homicide. Hester was sentenced to 6 to 22 years in prison.

Rosfeld testified that he thought one of the teens had turned and pointed a gun at him. On March 22, Rosfeld was acquitted by a jury and found not guilty of homicide charges in the death of Antwon Rose.

For the past three seasons, Pouncey donated Steelers tickets to the Pittsburgh police so they could take young people from city neighborhoods to football games and enjoy a pregame tailgate party. Pouncey hopes the experience can build trust between young people and police officers.

“I think sometimes the message gets blurred some with some of the incidents,” Pouncey said. “The things we do in the community, and how Pittsburgh is, how involved they are in bringing up the youth and making sure everyone knows they do a lot of great things. To bring up the kids that way is awesome.”

“This gives the kids a chance to see the police beyond the uniform,” Pouncey added. “They are human. They are great people. They have kids and family members too. Just because they wear a badge you shouldn’t look at them a certain way. They are a lot of great people that help with a lot of great causes.”

Pouncey wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to object to honoring Antwon Rose Jr. on their helmet. Fellow Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva paid tribute to Alwyn Cashe, a U.S. Army sergeant who died while serving in Iraq in 2005.

Cashe was in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle that hit an improvised explosive device during a patrol in Samarra, Iraq. He exited the vehicle with minor injuries, but when he saw there were injured soldiers in the burning vehicle, he went back to save them.

Cashe helped to rescue all six soldiers from the fiery vehicle and extracted the body of an interpreter killed by the IED. He was able to save the soldiers while under small arms fire. Cashe suffered severe burns on 72% of his body. He succumbed to his injuries and died on Nov. 8, 2005, at the San Antonio Military Medical Center in Texas. Cashe was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.

The NFL has said that only pre-approved names could appear on helmets and would be reserved for victims of racial injustice. Cashe was not on the NFL’s pre-approved list.

The mother of Antwon Rose, Michelle Kenney, criticized Villanueva for not wearing her son’s name on his helmet.

“The Pittsburgh Steelers took a team vote. Obviously one person didn’t like the results so they chose to do something different,” Kenney wrote on Facebook. “I have nothing against vets and absolutely appreciate everything that they have done and continue to do for us. But this one person showed us exactly who he is and obviously he didn’t approve of how the vote turned out.”

In July, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt said that he would not be kneeling during the national anthem. “I’m not kneeling for the flag and screw anybody who have [sic] a problem with that,” he said.

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NFL player covers name of police shooting victim on helmet in favor of Army vet killed in Iraq — and shooting victim’s mother is irate

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva is no stranger to controversy.

You might recall almost exactly three years ago when Villanueva — a former Army Ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan — stood alone on the field for the national anthem while the rest of the team stayed in the locker room.

It was the fall of 2017, and President Donald Trump — barely a year into his first term — was angry at players taking a knee in protest of police brutality against minorities, a movement that began the previous season with then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Prior to Villanueva standing on the field for the national anthem, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said his entire team would stay in the locker room to help them avoid politics. The next day Villanueva said he regretted his gesture because it made the rest of his team look bad.

Now what?

It’s now the fall of 2020, and football players taking a knee for the national anthem seems decidedly mild compared to the strident social justice stances professional athletes, teams, and leagues are taking in the wake of recent minority deaths at the hands of police and the wave of protests that have gripped the country.

In that vein, the NFL has allowed players to wear helmet decals honoring victims of “systemic racism,” CBS Sports reported, adding that the Steelers decided as a team to honor for an entire season police shooting victim Antwon Rose Jr. — a black teenager shot in the back by a white police officer in Pittsburgh in 2018 after he ran from a pulled-over vehicle. The network said the now-former officer was charged with murder, but a jury found him not guilty in March 2019.

But Villanueva had something different in mind.

For the Steelers’ game against the New York Giants on Monday, he covered Rose’s name on the back of his helmet in favor of the name Alwyn Cashe, an Army sergeant who died after trying to rescue soldiers from a burning vehicle in Iraq in 2005, CBS Sports said.

Tomlin said Tuesday he gave Villanueva permission to break ranks with his teammates and that it was “in line with everything we’ve said about participating in social justice this offseason,” TribLive reported.

“As an organization, and myself as the head coach of the organization, we’re going to support our players however they chose to participate and express themselves, or to not participate or not express themselves, as long as they do so thoughtfully and with class,” Tomlin also said, according to CBS Sports, adding that Villanueva’s choice didn’t warrant an explanation.

Shooting victim’s mom is angry

It appears, however, that Rose’s mother wants an explanation — because she isn’t happy with what Villanueva did.

“The Pittsburgh Steelers took a team vote,” Michelle Kenney wrote on Facebook, according to TribLive. “Obviously, one person didn’t like the results, so they chose to do something different.”

Kenney had praised the team for choosing to place her son’s name on their helmets, saying it “means more to me than anything,” but that feeling appears to be gone.

“I have nothing against vets and absolutely appreciate everything that they have done and continue to do for us,” Kenney also wrote, TribLive said. “But this one person showed us exactly who he is, and obviously he didn’t approve of how the vote turned out.”

Rose’s mother also wrote that she will use what she deemed as “negative press” as motivation to “hold the Pittsburgh Steelers even more accountable,” the outlet reported.

“Yes, I believe in second chances, but as we all know I believe in putting in the work and that’s how I base my collaborations,” Kenney wrote, according to TribLive. “They came to me as a team/organization and I don’t care how good of an individual you are, if you are not a TEAM player, then maybe you are playing for the wrong team.”

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Colin Kaepernick Eric reid Intelwars National anthem kneeling NFL social justice

Colin Kaepernick is not a fan of the NFL’s social justice pandering, calls it ‘propaganda’

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is now a full-time activist, does not approve of the NFL’s social justice presentations, even though they are a progression of the national anthem kneeling protest he started in 2016.

Kaepernick questioned the league’s sincerity and motives in purporting to care for black lives and racial justice, while Eric Reid, Kaepernick’s former teammate, is not on a team roster.

“While the NFL runs propaganda about how they care about Black Life, they are still actively blackballing Eric Reid for fighting for the Black community,” Kaepernick wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “Eric set 2 franchise records last year, and is one of the best defensive players in the league.”

Reid was one of the first players to kneel with Kaepernick during the national anthem when they were teammates on the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. Reid played for the Carolina Panthers in 2019, recording 130 total tackles, 97 solo tackles, and four sacks, playing and starting in all 16 games.

Reid signed a three-year contract extension with the Panthers in February 2019, but was cut in March 2020. Reporting on Reid’s departure indicated that Reid was cut due to the size of his contract. The team also traded quarterback Cam Newton and parted ways with star tight end Greg Olsen.

At the time of his release, Reid did not indicate a belief that there was anything nefarious about the transaction.

“It’s been a pleasure Carolina!” Reid posted the day he was cut. “I enjoyed my time and the support I received from the fans, media, teammates, and staff there will be remembered. Looking forward to furthering my career in another city!”

In his tweet, Kaepernick cites a Deadspin article that claims, without evidence, that Reid is being actively blackballed by owners and the league, who are colluding to keep him unsigned.

Reid was a part of a collusion grievance against the NFL that was launched in 2017 by Kaepernick. The two players settled that grievance for a total of less than $10 million. Due to confidentiality agreements associated with that settlement, we may never know more detail about the situation, and Reid himself may be legally prevented from speaking on it.

Kaepernick has claimed an interest in returning to the NFL, and Nike, which sponsors Kaepernick, has run a #BringBackKap campaign online. However, Kaepernick has not played since 2016, and there is no indication that teams have interest in him, especially after the debacle surrounding his league-arranged tryout last year.

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Gender Gender is a social construct Gender reveal parties Intelwars leftism social justice Social Media Trevor Noah Videos

Trevor Noah says gender reveal parties are dangerous, should only happen when kids are old enough to choose gender. Ted Cruz hits back with savage burn.

“The Daily Show” host and comedian Trevor Noah says gender reveal parties should be obsolete, as children clearly aren’t able to choose their genders as babies.

What are the details?

In a Tuesday monologue, Noah pointed to the California fire sparked by pyrotechnics at a gender reveal party. The fire, dubbed the El Dorado Fire, has burned more than 13,000 acres at the time of this writing.

“At this point, ‘gender reveal party’ is now one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations,” Noah joked during the monologue. “It’s ISIS, al-Qaeda, Taylor Swift fans, and gender reveals parties.”

The Comedy Central host added, “Aside from all the damage it can cause, celebrating a baby’s genitalia is starting to feel very outdated. Given everything we’re learning about gender, gender reveal parties should only happen when the child is old enough to know their actual gender — and to pitch in some cash for the fire damage.”

He also suggested that parents “do something that helps the situation” following the fire, suggesting that expectant parents attempt to douse the El Dorado fire with pink-colored water if the child is a girl, or blue-tinted water if the child is a boy.

In response, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said that many liberal men simply “never grow balls.”

In a Friday tweet, Cruz on Twitter linked a tweet from The Daily Wire, which reported that Noah was apparently “offended” by gender reveal parties.

He wrote, “A fair point. Many liberal males never grow balls[.]”

‘Nothing less than child abuse’

Cruz has been outspoken about his stance on biological gender, children, and parenting, and in 2019, said that parents allowing children to transition genders was a “horrifying & tragic” notion to behold.

In a tweet, the Texas Republican wrote, “This is horrifying & tragic. For a parent to subject such a young child to life-altering hormone blockers to medically transition their sex is nothing less than child abuse.”

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Houston Texans Intelwars Kansas city chiefs National Anthem NFL NFL ratings Nfl week 1 social justice

NFL sees double-digit ratings drop for season opener loaded with social justice activism

The NFL’s season-opening game between the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans drew disappointing TV ratings fueling continued questions about whether increased political activism in sports is driving fans away.

Preliminary Nielsen ratings show that 16.4 million people tuned in to the Thursday night primetime game, which is a 16% decrease from the number of people who watched last season’s opener between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears.

Ratings in professional sports have been down since returning from their coronavirus-related hiatus, despite people being more likely to be stuck at home and having been deprived of sports on TV for months. Some fans have expressed a dislike of overt social justice demonstrations that have taken over in football and basketball.

The NFL featured social justice messages in the end zones, a playing of the black national anthem before the game, and players locking arms before the game as social justice messages were broadcast on the scoreboard. And even those efforts were further politicized by the Texans, who stayed in the locker room while the national anthems were played as a protest against “empty gestures.”

There weren’t many fans at the game due to social distancing for COVID-19, but some of the fans in attendance booed players during a moment of silence before the game, apparently displeased with the social justice presentation.

The NBA playoff ratings during the first round were alarmingly low, down 27% from 2019 and 40% from 2018. The NBA’s social justice displays have been even more ubiquitous than the NFL’s. “Black Lives Matter” is painted on the court in large letters for every game, and players display social justice messages on the back of their jerseys while coaches sport “Racial Justice” badges on their shirts.

A recent Harris Poll found that politics has been a top reason people are turning away from the NBA:

A new Harris Poll backs Trump’s critique of the NBA, with 39% of sports fans saying they are watching fewer games. And the chief reason why? Politics. The longtime polling agency surveyed nearly 2,000 people over the weekend and gave people ten options to choose from on why they are watching less basketball.

“The league has become too political” was the clear choice for the decline, with 38% of respondents. “Boring without fans” captured 28% of the vote while the NBA’s association with China caused 19% of sports fans to turn the dial, another nod to a league Trump labeled a “political organization” last week after players boycotted games in response to a police officer shooting Jacob Blake seven times in the back in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The poll found that Republicans were more likely to be turned off by the league’s politics that Democrats.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ducks question about national anthem, isn’t concerned about social justice hurting ratings

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t worried that the league’s heavy social justice emphasis for the upcoming season will hurt television ratings, despite evidence that some fans have been turned off by the NBA’s demonstrations and protests, Goodell told CNBC.

The NFL has long dominated professional sports television ratings in the United States, but there was some belief in past years, particularly in 2017, that national anthem kneeling protests and the controversy surrounding them hurt the league’s ratings. Now that the NFL is embracing, instead of opposing, overt social justice displays, Goodell isn’t concerned.

“Our ratings have really been the envy of every entertainment and sports property,” Goodell told CNBC. “We have the broadest audience, we have the best partners in all of television and media. We feel that ratings always go up and down for a variety of reasons.”

When asked about the issue of national anthem protests, which upset many football fans who believe those demonstrations are disrespectful to the country, Goodell deflected.

“I wonder if you would agree that your own stance as it pertains to social justice has evolved since Kaepernick first took that knee. Certainly your recent interviews suggest that,” CNBC host Carl Quintanilla said to Goodell. “I think some of our viewers want to know whether players will be on the field for the anthem, and whether you as a league and the ownership are willing to withstand any pushback if in fact we do see players take knees.”

“I would tell you that all of us, hopefully, are evolving and learning—we should be—and we all should realize that we have to do more,” Goodell responded. “I’m proud of what our league has done. I said it several months ago that we should’ve listened to our players earlier and been able to understand the things that were going on in our communities. We’re seeing that play out on television sets across the country. They have been happening in our communities for years—decades—and we have to end it.”

Goodell has fully embraced social justice activism by players in recent months, especially since the death of George Floyd in May. He said he was wrong for not listening to and understanding what players were protesting in previous years, and now the league is actively participating in social justice activism. From ESPN:

The NFL is planning extensive content around social injustice for Week 1 of the regular season, sources told ESPN.

Among options discussed by the league and players union, according to a source involved: Players reading personalized poems and delivering first-person vignettes based on experience with social injustice. These stories could be incorporated into game-day broadcasts.

This is in addition to recognizing victims of police brutality on the backs of helmets and playing or performing what’s known as the Black national anthem, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” before the season-opening games, as ESPN senior NFL writer Jason Reid reported in July.

(H/T The Daily Wire)

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NFL helmets will feature names of victims of police violence and systemic racism this season

The NFL, once openly opposed to overt social justice or political demonstrations, will reportedly allow players to put the name of a victim of police brutality or systemic racism on the back of their helmets this season, according to Pro Football Talk.

Mike Florio writes:

It’s a fairly thick white strip, where multiple organizations currently print the names of their teams. The names of specific persons will be easy to see when TV cameras capture close-up images of players on the field.

The names will come from an approved list, with names like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery among the possibilities.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has softened his stance toward social justice issues in recent months, notably lamenting the fact that he didn’t listen more to former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick about the issues he was protesting by kneeling during the national anthem.

ESPN reported over the weekend that the NFL was planning “extensive content” around social justice for the season’s opening week of games.

The black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” will be performed before games, and the end zones will feature messages of “End Racism” and “It Takes All of Us.”

Game day broadcasts may include players reading personal poems or telling person stories of their experiences with social injustice or racism.

At least one team, the Arizona Cardinals, has considered a Week 1 boycott of games in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, ESPN reported.

The NBA has put forward the most overt social justice demonstrations of all the major American professional sports leagues, with players sporting league-approved social justice messages on the back of their jerseys, ranging from “Black Lives Matter,” to “Group Economics.” The words “Black Lives Matter” are featured on the courts during games.

That focus on political activism may be turning some viewers off from the league, however. Despite a presumably strong appetite for sports after the hiatus caused by COVID-19, the NBA’s ratings have been disappointing during its playoff season.

“People are angry about it … they don’t want — they have enough politics with guys like me, they don’t need more,” President Donald Trump said of the league’s struggling ratings, according to the Washington Times. “The NBA is in trouble. I think it’s in big trouble, bigger trouble than they understand.”

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CNN Intelwars Protests Republican National Convention Riots Rob davidson social distancing social justice

CNN guest says COVID-19 isn’t as big a concern for social justice protests because racism is a ‘public health crisis’

While discussing social distancing on CNN, Dr. Rob Davidson said that the lack of COVID-19 precautions at social justice protests aren’t as concerning as the crowd at the White House for President Donald Trump’s Republican National Convention speech, because racism is a public health issue.

Members of the media heavily criticized President Trump for allowing 1,500 people to sit in close quarters outside the White House for his Thursday night speech, citing the risk of COVID-19 spread since attendees weren’t required to be tested for the virus, and very few people wore masks.

On Friday, however, thousands of people marched in Washington, D.C., in protest of police brutality against minorities. The protest was labeled as a “March on Washington” with the official title, “Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks,” a reference to the Minneapolis Police Department killing of George Floyd.

Here’s what Dr. Davidson had to say about the RNC gathering:

“I was very concerned about the White House event last night, 1,500 people packed shoulder-to-shoulder, the head of the White House coronavirus task force in attendance without a mask, with his family and his elderly mother without a mask, and it’s concerning. We know people weren’t tested, only people in direct contact with President Trump had tests done. So I think we are going to see cases come out of that, and it’s just modeling bad behavior.”

And here’s what he had to say about the protest:

“Now when you juxtapose that with what’s going on in Washington, D.C. right now, people mostly wearing masks. Now true there is social distancing issues, however this is a public health crisis they are marching against. Systemic racism has taken so many lives in this country throughout our history. … I just think that when you’re marching against a public health emergency, you do every risk mitigation procedure you can, but we understand that you have to do the risk-benefit analysis, and the folks there are doing something very important today.”

Davidson draws the distinction that many protesters are wearing masks. However, one of the greatest concerns public health experts have consistently raised about mask use is that they fear people who wear masks will then neglect social distancing, leading to more spread of the virus.

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NFL team cancels practice, tells media ‘This country is founded upon racist ideas’

The NFL’s Tennessee Titans canceled practice Thursday and instead held a virtual news conference during which quarterback Ryan Tannehill said the United States is “founded upon racist ideas,” according to the Tennessean.

With the entire team standing behind them, Tannehill and safety Kevin Byard explained why they decided not to practice, and spoke about the changes they want to see.

“We feel that with all the recent events that’s happened in our country, not only just this year, not only the past year, but the past hundreds of years, we decided that it’s time to take a stand today,” Byard said. We feel that with this moment right here, and today, with my brother Ryan [Tannehill] standing next to me and all my brothers standing behind me, we wanted to show solidarity and be unified, and say that we’re tired.”

Byard referenced police brutality against black people, and expressed concern about the environment his young children would grow up in.

“We’re sick and tired of seeing the things that’s been going on, on social media for the entertainment,” Byard continued. “Seeing our black brothers and sisters be murdered by police like it’s nothing, it’s time for a change. … I just had a son, just Sunday. I have a 1-year-old daughter, and I have no clue what I’m going to tell them or what kind of world that they’re going to grow up in, in this country.”

Tannehill spoke after Byard, and called for an end to centuries of systemic oppression in the U.S.

“This country is founded upon racist ideas with slaves being brought here from the day of foundation, and those ideas have persisted throughout the last hundreds of years, and it’s going to take time until we can get those all out,” Tannehill said. “But we’re tired of it. We’re tired of dealing with the systematic oppression. We’re tired of dealing with excessive force. We’re tired of seeing black men and women die in situations where they should be walking home and spending the night with their families. It’s sickening.”

Athletes in the NBA, MLB, and MLS refused to play scheduled games this week after the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The NBA considered cancelling its entire postseason in protest, although it eventually opted to resume play.

Blake was shot seven times in the back during an altercation with police, who had been called by his girlfriend. The girlfriend accused Blake of stealing her keys and refusing to leave. Police shot Blake as he reached into his car, where they say they found a knife on the floor.

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Anthem kneelers Colin Kaepernick Intelwars National Anthem Protest NFL Roger Goodell social justice

Roger Goodell regrets not listening to Kaepernick more, says anthem kneelers are not unpatriotic

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he regrets not having more dialogue with former quarterback Colin Kaepernick about social justice issues and said he now understands that players who kneel during the national anthem aren’t being unpatriotic, ESPN reported.

What did he say?

“These are not people who are unpatriotic,” Goodell told ESPN’s Emmanuel Acho on the video series “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.” “They’re not disloyal. They’re not against our military. In fact, many of those guys were in the military, and they’re a military family. And what they were trying to do is exercise their right to bring attention to something that needs to get fixed. And that misrepresentation of who they were and what they were doing was the thing that really gnawed at me.”

Acho asked Goodell what he might say in a public apology to Kaepernick, and Goodell cited regret that he was not able to have more conversations with the player who started the social justice protest of kneeling during the national anthem. Goodell said the league should have listened more and really understood what Kaepernick and other players were protesting.

“That’s where we should have listened sooner,” Goodell said. “And that’s where we should have been in there with them, understanding and figuring out what we can do as the NFL.”

What is Kaepernick up to?

Kaepernick has spent the last several years as a high-profile social justice activist. His experience, which many characterize as having been blackballed from the NFL for his protests, has led to a lucrative book deal and several television and documentary opportunities.

The former quarterback stands as an influential voice and symbol in social justice circles, and his statement in the days following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has proven to be fitting for the unrest that has occurred since.

“When civility leads to death, revolting is the only logical reaction,” Kaepernick wrote in a May 28 tweet that is pinned to the top of his profile. “The cries for peace will rain down, and when they do, they will land on deaf ears, because your violence has brought this resistance. We have the right to fight back!”

There have been protests and riots across the United States almost every night for the past three months, and the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday has sparked new riots in that city the past two nights.

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Black Lives Matter BLM Intelwars Say her name Sen. kelly loeffler social justice Video Wnba

GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler rips WNBA — including players on the team she owns — for showing up to games in shirts backing her opponent

Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler is not a fan of the WNBA’s decision to have players sport “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name” on their jerseys, and she let the league commissioner know it.

The fact that a U.S. senator is publicly calling out the WNBA is interesting enough. What makes Loeffler’s complaint carry more weight is she’s a co-owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.

The senator’s statements set off WNBA players, including members of her own team, who have now taken to wearing T-shirts supporting Loeffler’s Democratic challenger to their games and demanding that the league strip her of her ownership.

And now Loeffler is blasting her players for their latest antics.

What’s going on?

Earlier this summer, Loeffler wrote a letter to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert asking that the league reverse its decision to emblazon team jerseys with “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name” and replace the statements with American flags, the New York Post noted.

Following the senator’s request that the league change its plans to spread the Black Lives Matter messaging, the WNBA players union
tweeted, “E-N-O-U-G-H! O-U-T!” and insisted that the league remove Loeffler as co-owner of the Dream.

Now WNBA players — including members of Loeffler’s team — are wearing “Vote Warnock” shirts to promote the candidacy of the GOP senator’s Democratic opponent, the Rev. Raphael Warnock.

According to
ESPN, the pro-Warnock shirts are more than just a few upset players making a statement. Rather they are part of a plan by the WNBA’s executive committee to respond to Loeffler’s statements because, as Dream center Elizabeth Williams, who tweeted a photo of herself donning a “Vote Warnock” shirt, told the outlet, “for effective change to happen, there has to be policy changes. And so if we’re going to sit here and talk about wanting justice reform, part of that is making sure that we have officials in office that understand that.”

Loeffler responded to the T-shirt campaign in a
statement on her campaign website Wednesday morning, blasting the WNBA and the country’s “out of control cancel culture” that tries to silence and shame anyone who might disagree with them:

This is just more proof that the out of control cancel culture wants to shut out anyone who disagrees with them. It’s clear that the league is more concerned with playing politics than basketball, and I stand by what I wrote in June:

We come together around sports, but promoting a political agenda divides us rather than unites us. The lives of every African American matter, and there’s no place for racism in our country. But I oppose the BLM political organization due to its radical ideas and Marxist foundations, which include defunding the police and eroding the nuclear family. On the other hand, our flag represents our values of freedom and equality for all. If we can’t unite behind our flag, much less the national anthem during this struggle, then what keeps us together? It’s sad to see that there’s more interest in tearing our country apart than in solutions that bring us together. I’ll continue to defend American values and our flag, because this is not a game – it’s the future of our country.

Who’s idea was it to make shirts?

Williams said Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird was the first to come up with the idea of campaigning for Loeffler’s opponent.

Asked by
ESPN about the move, Bird said:

This was a situation where given what was said in regards to the owner of Atlanta and how, basically, she came out against a lot of what the women in our league stand for, I think was emotionally tough for a lot of the women in our league to hear that. But very quickly we started to realize that this was only happening for her political gain. This was something that she wanted. And the more noise we made, whether it was a tweet saying to get her out, that was just playing into her hands.

I’m not some political strategist, but what I do know is that voting is important. And I think our league has always encouraged people to use their voices and to get out and vote.

More from Bird via ESPN:

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Alex villanueva Defund the police Intelwars Los Angeles Police social justice

LA County could redistribute nearly $1B from law enforcement to ‘social programs’

Los Angeles County residents will vote this November on whether to redistribute nearly $1 billion in funding from county law enforcement to “social programs.”

According to KTTV-TV reporter Bill Melugin, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on Tuesday to include the charter amendment on November’s ballot.

“It would strip $880 million away from Sheriff’s Department, court system, DA’s office, and redistribute it to low income areas/social programs,” Melugin reported. “Supervisor Kathryn Barger was the lone ‘no’ vote, saying this proposal was rushed, wasn’t transparent, had no feedback from stakeholders, and could result in job cuts to county employees as well as budget issues down the road. Other Supervisors say let the voters decide.”

The proposal, which has been dubbed “Reimagining L.A. County,” mandates that at least 10% of the county’s net cost be earmarked for “social programs,” according to Melugin.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said the program is not about defunding the police, but rather expanding the so-called social safety net, KTTV reported.

“It’s time to bring our budget into alignment with our actions, intentions and vision. The supervisors have said we want to move people from custody to care, and our constituents are pleading with us to expand housing and treatment options and stop relying on punitive, outdated law enforcement tactics,” she said.

If approved by voters, the program, whose goal is “to address the disproportionate impact of racial injustice,” would be fully implemented by June 2024.

More from KTTV:

If passed by voters, the charter amendment would allocate funds to be spent in a number of broad categories, including youth development programs, job training for low-income communities, access to capital for minority-owned businesses, rent assistance and affordable housing, community-based health services and jail diversion programs.

It would prohibit such funds being used for or redistributed through law enforcement or correctional agencies, including the District Attorney’s Office, but would not prohibit its use to cover costs related to trial courts. The ordinance cites only a percentage of “the county’s locally generated unrestricted revenues in the general fund,” not an absolute number.

Not surprisingly, the program would adversely impact public safety, L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva warned last week, explaining he would be forced to close several patrol stations in the county.

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Alex villanueva Defund the police Intelwars Los Angeles Police social justice

LA County could redistribute nearly $1B from law enforcement to ‘social programs’

Los Angeles County residents will vote this November on whether to redistribute nearly $1 billion in funding from county law enforcement to “social programs.”

According to KTTV-TV reporter Bill Melugin, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on Tuesday to include the charter amendment on November’s ballot.

“It would strip $880 million away from Sheriff’s Department, court system, DA’s office, and redistribute it to low income areas/social programs,” Melugin reported. “Supervisor Kathryn Barger was the lone ‘no’ vote, saying this proposal was rushed, wasn’t transparent, had no feedback from stakeholders, and could result in job cuts to county employees as well as budget issues down the road. Other Supervisors say let the voters decide.”

The proposal, which has been dubbed “Reimagining L.A. County,” mandates that at least 10% of the county’s net cost be earmarked for “social programs,” according to Melugin.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said the program is not about defunding the police, but rather expanding the so-called social safety net, KTTV reported.

“It’s time to bring our budget into alignment with our actions, intentions and vision. The supervisors have said we want to move people from custody to care, and our constituents are pleading with us to expand housing and treatment options and stop relying on punitive, outdated law enforcement tactics,” she said.

If approved by voters, the program, whose goal is “to address the disproportionate impact of racial injustice,” would be fully implemented by June 2024.

More from KTTV:

If passed by voters, the charter amendment would allocate funds to be spent in a number of broad categories, including youth development programs, job training for low-income communities, access to capital for minority-owned businesses, rent assistance and affordable housing, community-based health services and jail diversion programs.

It would prohibit such funds being used for or redistributed through law enforcement or correctional agencies, including the District Attorney’s Office, but would not prohibit its use to cover costs related to trial courts. The ordinance cites only a percentage of “the county’s locally generated unrestricted revenues in the general fund,” not an absolute number.

Not surprisingly, the program would adversely impact public safety, L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva warned last week, explaining he would be forced to close several patrol stations in the county.

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Commentary: Let’s end the absurdity surrounding anthem kneeling

You can kneel during the national anthem and still love America and support police officers. You can stand during the national anthem and still believe black lives matter and police brutality is wrong.

The primary narrative surrounding a peaceful protest should be the issue being protested, not an obsessive accounting of which individuals choose to participate and which ones don’t.

Everyone who kneels during the national anthem is not saying the same thing. Some of them are publicly expressing their opposition to police brutality. Some of them are protesting racial injustice in broader terms. Some are supporting Black Lives Matter. Maybe some of them actually do hate America. I imagine many, if not most of them, don’t really care and are just doing whatever it takes to not get criticized.

Everyone who stands during the national anthem isn’t saying the same thing. Most people stand during the national anthem because it’s just what you do during the national anthem. Some people are standing because they don’t want to get lumped in with Black Lives Matter, the organization. Most people who stand are probably not making a statement of protest against black people; they are just doing a normal thing.

It doesn’t take any particular courage to stand for the national anthem, or to kneel for the national anthem. There aren’t any real consequences for either choice. Let’s stop with the hero worship of people who make the choice we prefer.

It’s ridiculous to approach a black American who chooses to stand for the national anthem and ask him whether he believes in black lives matter. It’s actually a stupid question.

A movement seeking justice for black people is destined to fail when we start turning on each other. When a movement called “Black Lives Matter” begins attacking black people who don’t act a certain way, it has lost its way. To say “black lives matter” is a lie if it excludes black people who express themselves differently than the mainstream.

Sometimes basketball players just want to be basketball players, and they should be allowed to do that. The issue of race in America is complicated, and many professional athletes simply aren’t informed enough to have helpful thoughts on it. We should encourage them to learn, but not force them to be activists.

Sometimes basketball players want to be activists, and they should be allowed to do that. If they choose to take on that role, they should take care to be informed and wise in how they express themselves, because they will be held to account for their activism. It’s fair game if that’s a path they choose.

If you really like sports, but you can’t stand to watch games because some people don’t stand for the national anthem before the game starts, that’s a bit silly, but it’s your right to turn away. It’s worth asking, though, whether you hold other organizations to that same standard for them to earn your business, and if not, why that might be.

Our society is really going insane. It’s like we’re incapable of reasonableness and moderation and compromise. Everything is a battleground.

We need to get rid of a lot of bad police officers. We need to create more accountability at a lot of police departments. We need to get some incompetent political leaders out of office in the process. We need to support the police officers who are willing to put their lives on the line for the members of their communities every day. None of that has to be a contradiction.

We need to fight racial injustice. We need to correct any system, big or small, that reinforces racial inequality. We need to be angry when a black person is unnecessarily and unjustly killed by police. We need to be angry when a person of any race is unnecessarily and unjustly killed by police. We shouldn’t try to make every white person feel guilty for all the racism of history. None of that has to be a contradiction.

We have a pandemic that has killed more than 150,000 people in this country, and put tens of millions of others out of work. We have literal riots in the streets almost every night in some cities in this country. We’re heading for an election where no matter who wins, the losing side is almost surely going to claim the results are fraudulent. Whether someone stands or kneels during the national anthem before a basketball game shouldn’t be anywhere near the top of our list of concerns right now.

If our nation fails some day, historians may note that our demise was largely due to the fact that we spent so much of our time fighting about things that don’t matter, while failing to address the things that do. This doesn’t have to be our story, but we’ve got to find some common sense.

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Black Lives Matter Black lives matter mafia Fernando martinez Intelwars La bodeguita de mima Louisville Nulu social justice

Cuban immigrant says activist group using ‘mafia tactics’ to intimidate Louisville business owners

An activist group is threatening Louisville business owners with possible repercussions if they fail to submit to their list of social justice-related demands.

Phelix Crittenden, who is allegedly the “lead supply organizer for BLM Louisville chapter,” created a group called “Blacks Organizing Strategic Success.” Its website claims to be a “creative cooperative designed to level the playing field” and “empowering minorities with business resources & networking opportunities.”

Fernando Martinez, a partner of the Olé Restaurant Group, believes the group uses “mafia tactics” to intimidate Louisville business owners. Martinez, who is a Cuban immigrant, became incensed after his restaurant, as well as other businesses, were given a list of demands from the activist group.

Businesses in East Market District of downtown Louisville, also known as NuLu (New Louisville), were given a list of demands such as:

  • Adequately represent the Black population of Louisville by having a minimum of 23% Black staff
  • Purchase a minimum of 23% inventory from Black retailers or make a recurring monthly donation of 1.5% of net sales to a local Black nonprofit or organization
  • Require diversity and inclusion training for all staff members on a bi-annual basis
  • And display a visible sign that increases awareness and shows support for the reparations movement

The Blacks Organizing Strategic Success website created a “Social Justice Rating System,” where businesses are given a grade for how many of the demands they submit to. The organization gives businesses a sort of social credit score, “Ally,” “Complicit,” and “Failed.”

“We’re holding Louisville businesses accountable, and we’re starting in Nulu. We will give businesses the standard 25-30 days to remedy any violation,” the site states. “We will offer them a realistic opportunity & resources to raise their grade.”

If business owners who do not comply with the demands, “protesters would respond by launching negative reviews and social media posts about the businesses,” according to WDRB-TV.

“I hate the word demands,” Rick Murphy, the president of the NuLu Business Association, said. “It’s bullying, it’s mean. We look at what they’ve given us as goals. I don’t embrace demands from anyone. No one can demand something of me, particularly if they accompany that demand with some sort of threat or doing harm to businesses. Right now is the wrong time to try to do harm to businesses.”

Some NuLu business owners were happy to agree to the terms, including Angie Garner, who is the owner of Garner Narratives, an art gallery. Garner even signed a contract, “addressing the gentrification of Clarksdale with some modest steps forward.”

“I knew not to get distracted by any impulses toward hand-wringing and defensiveness, just get busy,” Garner told the Courier-Journal. “It’s important to stay clear that what matters is what happened to the people in Clarksdale, and what opportunities and resources can be made available to Black Louisvillians.”

“Maybe that history will help business owners here understand why it’s not nearly enough, just to be welcoming to Black people who are looking to spend money with them,” she said.

Murphy said that he believes the group’s demands are legitimate, adding that he and other business owners had failed the black community when it comes to making NuLu inclusive for everyone, according to the Courier-Journal.

“I as an individual and we as a group totally endorse what they want,” Murphy said. “We consider those valid goals that we hope to meet in the relatively near future.”

However, Martinez and other Cubans do not plan on giving in to the demands.

Martinez said several protesters presented him with the list of demands and warned that he “better put the letter on the door so your business is not f***ed with.”

“There comes a time in life that you have to make a stand and you have to really prove your convictions and what you believe in,” Martinez wrote on Facebook. “… All good people need to denounce this. How can you justified (sic) injustice with more injustice?”

Martinez responded that as a Cuban immigrant with black relatives, he does not need diversity training.

“Although our community has achieved great success in this city, we continue to miss our homeland, our neighborhoods we grew up in and our families we left behind. We did not want to leave all of those, but we had to,” Luis David Fuentes said. “We had to escape the socialist government that took away our grandparents’ private businesses in 1959 and continue to restrict our civil and political rights today.”

Fuentes said so many Cubans risked their lives for “freedom, respect, and prosperity” in America, but now these values are under attack “because of the diffusion and expansion of Marxist ideas.”

Martinez held a rally at his La Bodeguita de Mima restaurant on Sunday afternoon with American and Cuban flags displayed. Supporters held up signs that read “No 2 Socialism In America,” and “Justice 4 All.”

“La Bodeguita is open to everybody,” Martinez said on Sunday. “If you’re gay, this is your home. If you’re black, this is your home. If you’re white, this is your home. If you’re human, this is your home.”

“How can I be called a bigot and a racist when my family is black? When my son is gay?” he asked. “I’m the proud father of a gay son, and I’m gonna fight for him against anybody.”

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NBA won’t enforce rule requiring players to stand for the national anthem, citing ‘unique circumstances’

While the NFL struggled for years to manage its national anthem kneeling controversy, including botched attempts to ban the protests, the NBA avoided the issue with an established rule requiring players to stand during the national anthem — a rule that the players followed without incident.

Things have changed, however, and now NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has made the decision not to enforce the rule, allowing entire teams to kneel during the anthem as a form of social justice protest.

“I respect our teams’ unified act of peaceful protest for social justice and under these unique circumstances will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem,” Silver said Thursday, according to the New York Times’ Marc Stein.

Many players and coaches knelt during the anthem Thursday and Friday, as teams played their first regular season games since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down U.S. professional sports in March.

In the past, it was noticeable and newsworthy when a player did not stand for the national anthem. Now, in the NBA, it’s more surprising to see a player choose to stand. That’s what Orlando Magic player Jonathan Isaac did Friday before his team’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.

While Isaac’s teammates got down on one knee wearing Black Lives Matter shirts, Isaac stood for the anthem while wearing only his game jersey.

TNT analyst Charles Barkley defended any player who chooses to stand.

“The national anthem means different things to different people,” Barkley said. “I’m glad these guys are unified. If people don’t kneel, they’re not a bad person. I want to make that perfectly clear. I’m glad they had unity, but if we have a guy who doesn’t want to kneel because the anthem means something to him, he should not be vilified.”

Isaac didn’t give a reason for his choice to stand, but he has commented on social justice issues in the past, including after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

“Just because we are in the position of being an NBA player, it doesn’t give us automatically an understanding or insight to issues that happen around us,” Isaac said in June. “But I think because we have the ear of so many it’s important for us to be diligent, to be vocal, but in a balanced way.”

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Bob gualtieri Breonna taylor Intelwars Matt silverman Pinellas County Sheriff police brutality social justice Tampa bay rays

Fla. sheriff outraged by MLB team’s social justice tweet about cops who killed Breonna Taylor, now says department is reconsidering relationship with team

A sheriff in Florida is reconsidering his department’s relationship with the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball after a post on the team’s Twitter account called for the arrest of the police officers responsible for Breonna Taylor’s death, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

What’s this about? On July 24, opening day of the Major League Baseball season, the official Twitter account for the Tampa Bay Rays posted: “Today is Opening Day, which means it’s a great day to arrest the killers of Breonna Taylor.”

Taylor was shot and killed in her home on March 13 by Louisville Metropolitan Police Department officers who were serving a no-knock warrant at her home in the middle of the night based on suspicion of her involvement with drug trafficking. The officers, Sgt. Jon Mattingly, and Detectives Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison, have not been charged. Hankison was fired in June.

Law enforcement upset: Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told the Tampa Bay Times that he called Rays President Matt Silverman last weekend to complain about the tweet.

“To turn a baseball event into a political event is uncalled for,” Gualtieri said. “It’s just wrong, and it’s improper. It’s just reckless. It’s throwing gasoline on the fire, and it didn’t need to happen.”

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office provides some security services for Rays games, but now Gualtieri isn’t sure that will continue. Gualtieri said Silverman told him the tweet had not been approved by the highest levels of the organization. However, a week later, the tweet is still active, indicating that the team stands by it.

St. Petersburg Police Department Chief Anthony Holloway also didn’t like the tweet and said he “disagreed with its characterization of the officers,” but said his department will continue providing security services for the team.

“I called the Rays organization and we had a long discussion,” Holloway told the Tampa Bay Times, “However, this one ‘tweet’ will not impact our commitment as a professional agency to provide a secure environment for fans at future Rays games.”

Social justice and sports are inseparable now: The major professional sports leagues are all featuring some level of social justice protest, with players from MLB and the NBA kneeling during or before the national anthem, and the NBA featuring the phrase “Black Lives Matter” on the court. The NFL will have anti-racism phrases in the end zones when its season begins later this year.

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NFL plans to stencil ‘social justice’ messages on end zones during Week 1

The NFL announced Monday that the end zones on every field during Week 1 games and home openers will be painted with “social justice” messages in an effort to further the league’s “Inspire Change” campaign.

What are the details?

In a memo sent to teams on Monday, the NFL laid out a series of “social justices initiatives for Week 1,” explaining that “with the on-field signage, end zone borders will feature stencils with ‘It Takes All of Us’ and ‘End Racism’ on opposite ends of the field.”

“As we continue to amplify and elevate the NFL’s ongoing and long-term commitment to social justice, we will be incorporating several prominent elements on the field, into broadcasts and across league and club platforms to being the NFL season and beyond,” the memo said.

The announcement also reiterated the league’s earlier decisions to allow players to emblazon their helmets with decals in honor of victims of police brutality, and to play the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” — referred to by some as the “black national anthem” — at the start of every game.

The Washington Post reported that “the NFL follows the NBA, whose courts in the Orlando bubble have ‘Black Lives Matter’ painted on the floor. Major League Baseball players can wear a ‘Black Lives Matter’ or ‘United for Change’ patch on their sleeves.”

The NFL also reported that “among other initiatives, the league will introduce the ‘It Takes All of Us’ campaign in which ‘authentic imagery of our nation’s journey in 2020’ will recognize front-line healthcare workers, the social justice movement and NFL players journey’s (sic) to the season opener.”

The league has embraced the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis in late May. After previously pushing back against players kneeling during the playing of the national anthem at games after former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the practice in 2016, this year, the NFL decided to promote such protests by players.

Anything else?

Also on Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that “the league’s preseason games have been canceled due to concerns over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” WTTG-TV reported.

In an open letter to fans, Goodell wrote, “While this year will forever be defined by a heartbreaking global pandemic and a transformative social justice movement, I am reminded of the tenacious, resilient spirit of our country, the NFL community, and you, the greatest fans in the world. Thank you for your continued support.”

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Colin Kaepernick COVID-19 Dr. anthony fauci Intelwars Kneeling protests Robert f. kennedy human rights award social justice

Colin Kaepernick, Dr. Anthony Fauci set to receive Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for being ‘human rights defenders’

Former NFL player-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick and infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci are set to receive 2020’s Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award.

What are the details?

Others expected to receive the annual award include Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal, Dan Springer, CEO of DocuSign, and Dolores Huerta, founder and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and co-founder of United Farm Workers of America.

On Monday, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization issued a statement about the honors.

“At a time when the courageous pursuit of equality and justice has become political and riddled with adversity, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights stands with these modern-day human rights defenders in their inspirational fight for progress,” the org announced.

Kerry Kennedy, president of the organization, said that in 2020, the country is “yearning for leadership, for moral fortitude, for common decency and kindness, and this year’s Ripple of Hope laureates give us great hope for the future.”

She added, “Their work for equal justice touches every corner of society, sometimes at a great personal cost. We are deeply honored to celebrate these changemakers, who have set forth countless ripples of hope at a time when our world is in such need of inspiration.”

Kaepernick issued public thanks to the organization in a Monday statement.

“I am humbled to follow the footsteps of individuals like [2017 recipient Harry Belafonte] Mr. B and to be in the company of all of the other laureates,” he said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will be held virtually on Dec. 10.

All in good company

Previous winners of the Ripple of Hope Awards include former President Barack Obama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former vice president and presidential candidate Joe Biden, Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and more.

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Anthem kneeling Gabe kapler Intelwars major league baseball MLB san francisco giants social justice

MLB manager, players kneel for national anthem, sparking Trump criticism of the social justice protests

National anthem kneeling as a form of social justice protest has grown in popularity in Major League Baseball, demonstrated as numerous players and coaches knelt before an exhibition game Monday that wasn’t even played in front of any fans, CBS News reported.

What’s the story? While the NBA has welcomed social justice protests in various forms, and NFL players have knelt during the anthem for years to protest police brutality against minorities, the protests did not really catch on in Major League Baseball, a sport with a significantly smaller percentage of African American players and coaches.

Tuesday, however, San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler and several of his players took a knee during the anthem to protest recent incidents of police violence against black people.

Kapler explained his decision to kneel:

“I wanted them to know that I wasn’t pleased with the way our country has handled police brutality and I told them I wanted to amplify their voices and I wanted to amplify the voice of the Black community and marginalized communities as well,” Kapler said. “So I told them that I wanted to use my platform to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with the way we’ve handled racism in our country. I wanted to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with our clear systemic racism in our country and I wanted them to know that they got to make their own decisions and we would respect and support those decisions. I wanted them to feel safe in speaking up.”

Kapler said he doesn’t know whether he or other team members will continue to kneel throughout the season, but that they will make those decisions one game at a time.

Trump opposes protests: The next day, President Donald Trump reiterated his stance against the protests.

“Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!” Trump tweeted.

Major League Baseball posted a tweet Monday attempting to explain why the protests aren’t disrespectful.

“It has never been about the military or the flag,” the tweet read. “The players and coaches are using their platforms to peacefully protest.”

In another tweet, MLB stated that “supporting human rights is not political.”

The 60-game MLB season begins Thursday.

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NFL will let players wear helmet decals for police brutality victims like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor

The NFL is planning to join the NBA in allowing players to make statements about social justice on their game uniforms, according to the Associated Press.

Teams can choose to wear helmet decals honoring the victims of police brutality, including George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis Police Department officers, and Breonna Taylor, who was killed by Louisville Metropolitan Police Department officers.

The program will extend throughout the season, and the NFL is working with the players union to put together a list of names that teams can select from.

It’s unusual for the NFL to allow such an open expression of social justice activism, as the league has been resistant to such demonstrations — and probably became more resistant after the backlash that has accompanied players kneeling during the national anthem.

From the Associated Press:

This initiative is something of a breakthrough because the league has not allowed such messaging, except for during its October NFL Crucial Catch program in conjunction with the fight against breast cancer, and in its November salutes to the military. Players also have been allowed to represent a cause on their cleats one weekend per season.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently apologized for his opposition to peaceful protests before games in the past, presumably including anthem kneeling. There is a significant portion of the NFL fan base that is opposed to anthem kneeling, viewing it as disrespectful to veterans and to the country.

“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,” Goodell said in June. “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter. I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country.”

Also, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a song also known as the “black national anthem,” will reportedly be played at every Week 1 NFL game and ahead of “The Star-Spangled Banner” when the season begins.

The NFL is moving in the direction of the NBA, which has for years allowed overt and individual expressions of social justice protest against racism or police brutality.

The NBA is allowing players to choose from an approved list of social justice phrases to wear on the back of their jerseys instead of their last names. Approved phrases include “Black Lives Matter,” “Say Their Names,” “Power to the People,” “Liberation,” and “Group Economics.”

The phrase “Black Lives Matter” will be painted on the courts when the league resumes its season on July 30 in Orlando, Florida, after several months off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Commentary: Black Lives Matter’s influence is a result of repeated conservative failures on racial issues

Conservatives have spent much time and effort discrediting Black Lives Matter, but not enough time reflecting on the failings that created a space for the organization to become so influential.

Black Lives Matter openly advocates for causes and beliefs that are in direct opposition to values that Christians and conservatives hold as sacred or foundational. They seek, for example, to dismantle biblical views of sexuality, gender, and family, and to overturn traditional American economic and governmental systems.

There’s nothing wrong with pointing these things out, but if you only point out what you think is wrong with them without addressing the question of why they are so powerful, you’re not going to win the battle for America’s future that is currently raging — and escalating.

Some people who participate in BLM marches and protests are unaware of the details of the organization. To many, black lives matter is a statement of support for efforts to fight injustice against black people.

Others know what BLM is all about. Many of them may even disagree with some of it. But they march and protest anyway, because their primary concern isn’t unanimous agreement with every single organizational value; their primary concern is preventing the next George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin…the list goes on.

Black Lives Matter won the influence it has in our society because there was a big issue — violence against black people, especially by law enforcement officers — and BLM showed up to address it. And because so many people in this country had been waiting and searching for a movement to address this issue, they were eager to get on board.

There were plenty of opportunities for others to fill that void. Republicans could’ve made it a priority, but too few of them were willing to risk upsetting voters by being critical of policing in this country. Evangelicals could’ve addressed it, but too few of the most influential leaders in that movement were willing to speak on racism on Sunday morning or to utilize their significant resources to attack the problem.

Look how Sen. Tim Scott, the only black Republican senator, was treated when he tried to push police reform. Look how Sen. Mitt Romney, a recent Republican presidential nominee, was treated when he simply marched in a protest. Attempts by establishment Republicans to acknowledge or solve race-based problems is met with mockery or hatred from other conservatives.

Black Lives Matter didn’t just pop up out of nowhere in May 2020. An entire community of people in this country has been desperate for someone to take seriously their grievances about police brutality and racism for years. If you choose to leave that need unmet, you can’t complain when you don’t like the people who decide to meet it.

While we were hurting and angry over the death of Ahmaud Arbery, prominent conservatives were using their energy to make sure we knew he might have committed a minor, nonviolent crime before he was chased down and murdered in the street.

While we were outraged that Breonna Taylor was dead, the conservative media machine reminded us that she may have been passively involved in some drug deals before police officers broke down her door and sprayed bullets into her home in the middle of the night.

When we were mourning the loss of George Floyd, conservatives with huge platforms prioritized the investigation of his past to tell us that he was no angel in the years before a police officer choked the life out of him in broad daylight.

Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter was on the ground in these cities, mobilizing people who were desperate to take any sort of action to change their situation.

When it comes to black issues, conservatives are always prioritizing the wrong battles. Too busy fighting the latest media narrative to actually solve problems. So you think BLM is hijacking racial issues to promote Marxist or anti-Christian ideals? Maybe if you worked to fix those racial issues, they wouldn’t be so ripe for exploitation. When people get desperate enough for solutions, they’ll accept them in whatever form they take.

If conservatives want to continue viewing racism and police brutality as someone else’s problems, or insist that they’re not problems at all, they can do that. But closing your eyes doesn’t make an issue disappear, and when you finally open them again, you might not like what you see.

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