Is the NFL targeting Eric Reid?

Drug tests are conducted randomly in the NFL…at least they should be.

Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid, who I’ve mentioned several times in this blog, claimed earlier this week that he has been drug tested five times in eight games since taking his initial drug test after signing with the panthers during late-September.

He believes these aren’t random.

 

Reid has of course been a controversial figure in the NFL with his support of former teammate, Colin Kaepernick, and for using the national anthem to protest racial inequality and injustice in America.

Could the NFL perhaps be targeting Reid?

It’s a possibility.

Reid has repeatedly expressed his support for Kaepernick and believes he should be playing in the NFL. Both have filed grievances against the league alleging that NFL team owners colluded to prevent them employment under the influence of President Donald Trump, who’s strongly against players kneeling for the anthem.

Reid has also committed some unnecessary roughness penalties over the past few games which could be another reason for these drug tests if the NFL is involved.

Let’s take a look at these random drug tests.

First, these drug tests are “performed by an independent laboratory, and a computer program selects the names of players to be tested.” The NFL nor NFL Players Association are involved in the testing under the collective bargaining agreement.

Here’s how the process works according to the NFLPA:

“Each week during the preseason and regular season, ten (10) Players on every Club will be tested. By means of a computer program, the Independent Administrator will randomly select the Players to be tested from the Club’s active roster, practice squad list, and reserve list who are not otherwise subject to ongoing reasonable cause testing for performance-enhancing substances.”

With the Panthers having 72 total players making up their active roster, reserves and practice squad, each player has a 13.9 percent chance of being drug tested each week (10/72), but the probability of the same player being tested for five times in eight weeks is just 0.2 according to the USA Today.

It’s not exactly impossible statistically to be drug tested for five times in an eight-week span, but it’s still very unusual which still raises some questions that the NFLPA will investigate.

If it is discovered that the NFL had something to do with this and the reason lies within a desire to defame Reid read over his protests, then there will be some serious backlash against the NFL.

 

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The NBA’s latest protest and how it affects the league

Numerous NBA teams showcased a different look this past weekend.

The Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks all wore shirts with “ENOUGH” on them and the names of the victims from the Thousand Oaks shooting that took place in on Nov. 7.

There’s been a constant debate throughout our society about professional athletes voicing their opinions and political stances.

Some have been supportive of athletes’ views while others believe they should just “stick to sports,” or “shut up and dribble.”

However, the NBA, unlike the NFL, has backed protests in the past and this latest one was no different with league commissioner Adam Silver offering his support along with numerous others in the league, including Golden State Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr.

Since he took over as the Commissioner in 2014, Silver has earned a positive reputation amongst NBA teams, fans, coaches and players for his willingness to let players speak their minds on topics related to social and government issues without penalty.

Silver banned former Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the NBA for life after racist comments and also backed LeBron James’s and Kevin Durant’s responses following the “shut up and dribble” controversy.

What does all this exactly mean?

Simply, the NBA is showing unity which is something the NFL has lacked when it comes to social and political issues.

With former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem to protest the police brutality and racial inequality that exist in America, the NFL has been somewhat divided when it comes to players expressing their views whether they’re for or against Kaepernick’s actions and message.

The NFL made a rule requiring teams to stand for the national anthem following a series of negative views reharding the protests from President Donald Trump, but the league is currently in a standstill with the NFL Players Association on this rule.

This proposed rule came after a season in which comments from Trump sparked unity throughout the league during week three with numerous players and coaches locking arms and/or kneeling for the national anthem.

 

Kaepernick has also filed  a grievance against the NFL alleging that “the owners violated their collective bargaining agreement with players by conspiring to keep him off teams.”

Mixed stances from the NFL and an initiative to require players to stand for the national anthem has reflected negatively on the league.

With the NBA taking a stand and showing unity by allowing players to express their views, this creates a valuable platform to inspire fans and have their voices and messages heard.

Players should have the right to express their opinions no matter what side of a topic they’re on.

Sure, these are players who are getting paid millions of dollars to play basketball, but at the end of the day, they are still American citizens who have the right make their voices heard.

 

What the midterm elections mean for sports and athletes in politics

With the midterm elections now behind us, many new faces will be representation their respective states and districts in Washington D.C.

Among those new faces are two former NFL players in Anthony Gonzalez and Collin Allred.

Gonzalez, a former wide receiver at Ohio State who played briefly for the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots in the NFL, was elected to Ohio’s 16th congressional district as a Republican.

Football fans may remember him best for this catch against Ohio State’s arch-rival, Michigan in 2005. This set up the game-winning touchdown as the Buckeyes defeated the Wolverines, 25-21.

The policies that Gonzalez campaigned for are explained in this political advertisement and video below.

Allred, 35,  played college football at Baylor and played in the NFL for five seasons with the Tennessee Titans as a linebacker. He defeated Republican incumbent, Pete Sessions, who held the Texas 32nd congressional seat since 2003.

 

 

Many other former athletes were elected into office at the state and local levels of government Tuesday night as well.

There’s been some debate on the topic of athletes becoming politicians and as well as these professional athletes voicing their political opinions publicly.

As you’d expect, there has been some controversy regarding athletes voicing their opinions such as NBA stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant criticizing President Donald Trump and then being told to “shut up and dribble” by FOX News host, Laura Ingraham.

With that being said. what does it mean for former athletes having success getting elected in this general election?

It shows that no matter your background, you have a chance to get elected if you do indeed make a valiant effort. There’s often a stereotype that athletes only know how to play their respective sports and lack common sense, but these two former NFL players getting elected and the many others who have enjoyed success in politics defeats that stereotype.

In fact, those professional athletes and celebrities such as LeBron James and Taylor Swift carried a lot of influence heading into the elections as a result of being outspoken and using their platforms to encourage people to vote.

With social media serving as tool for these big name athletes, celebrities and politicians to get their message across to followers and fans, more will be influenced and made more aware of what’s going on in the world of politics.

This trend of athletes becoming more involved in politics can also help influence more people and encourage them to vote in future elections. It’s a trend that’s picking up more momentum and doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon.

 

Will the World Champion Red Sox visit the White House?

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(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

It seems as if every time a college or professional team wins a championship, there’s a common question that comes during the postgame celebration.

Will this championship team visit the White House?

As I’ve discussed several times on this blog, White House visits are a yearly tradition that have been around since the 1920’s, but today they’re becoming more and more scarce with President Donald Trump in office.

Trump’s actions and his polarized presence has caused friction between him and the NFL as well as the NBA, resulting in several championship-winning teams not visiting the White House such as the Golden State Warriors and the Philadelphia Eagles.

As you would expect, the question was asked by many after the Boston Red Sox defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games to win their fourth World Series title in the past 15 years earlier this week.

Will the Red Sox visit the White House?

So far, it remains up in the air.

As assumed, people have voiced their opinions on this matter via social media.

Most signs point to the Red Sox visiting the White House.

Red Sox owner John Henry, who has donated to Democratic funds and organizations, expects the team to visit the White House, but noted the organization hasn’t received an invitation yet.

Boston’s manager, Alex Cora, didn’t specify if the team would visit or not.

Cora’s background provides an interesting perspective that could provide some insight into whether the team does in fact travel to D.C.  He’s Puerto Rican and has devoted himself to the recovery and relief efforts of the island following Hurricane Maria.

He has criticized Trump though for his views on island’s death toll following Hurricane Maria.

Cora did in fact visit the White House when he was a coach for the Houston Astros last season which is another sign his presence as well as the rest of team’s can be expected at some point.

There is a strong public presence though not in favor of the Red Sox visiting Trump that mostly has to do with the message the team would be sending given Trump’s views on Hurricane Maria and immigration along with the amount of players on Boston’s roster from different countries as well as the state of Massachusetts being primarily a Democratic state.

There are those however who would love nothing more than to visit the White House such as one of Boston’s own relief pitchers, Heath Hembree.

There are indeed issues and even reputations at stake depending on what the Red Sox decide to do, but one thing for sure is that there will be even more public opinions on either perspective no matter the outcome.

Background and meaning from the Reid-Jenkins confrontation

Two national anthem protesters were involved in a confrontation against each other this past Sunday as Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid went face-to-face with Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Malcolm Jenkins prior to kickoff.

Although the game itself turned out to be a classic with the Panthers overcoming a 17-point deficit to defeat the Eagles, 21-17, this confrontation was the most talked about subject following the game.

You could even argue that this confrontation overshadowed what might be one of the greatest body slams in NFL history from Reid on Eagles tight end, Zach Ertz.

Why was Reid upset with Jenkins?

There really is no way to explain all the details since some of them are still unclear and more things have been said between the two behind the scenes that we aren’t aware of.

Jenkins, who co-founded the Players Coalition, stopped protesting the national anthem late last season after the NFL announced it would donate $89 million to causes considered important to the coalition.

Needless to say, Reid wasn’t happy about this and the two have had a cold relationship off the field ever since.

Jenkins though didn’t have any sort of negative response after he was told about Reid comments.

What does this conflict mean moving forward?

First, Reid had every right to feel upset with Jenkins, but going on the field and confronting him during the coin toss when Reid himself isn’t a captain probably wasn’t the best way to confront him and it could hurt the movement started by Colin Kaepernick.

However, Jenkins responding with class saves this situation from escalating even further and his support for both Reid and Kaepernick shows that these men don’t want to get distracted from the message and movement for racial equality Kaepernick has started.

What Reid wants though is for more players to stand behind Kaepernick rather than “sell them out” as Jenkins did.

In other words, “they are just taking different paths to same goal.”  Jenkins is attempting to talk to those in power (like House Speaker Paul Ryan) to accomplish this goal and others like Kaepernick and Reid are using their own power.

More paths and roads towards this goal of achieving racial equality and criminal-justice reform could very well open up even more doors and progress could be made.

 

The NBA’s clash with American politics…will it continue?

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A new NBA season has commenced and like other leagues such as the NFL, there are people wondering if more controversy could take place this season between NBA personnel and politicians.

The league achieved a vast amount of criticism last year for conflicts between NBA players, coaches and President Donald Trump.

Here’s a brief list of some of those conflicts:

Will more controversies be on the way this season?

Well, one thing for sure is that some players will not hold back from what they think politically as we’ve seen. Indiana Pacers point guard Victor Oladipo recently said he will not just stick to sports.

NBA players and other professional athletes will continue to voice their opinions and rightfully so since it’s protected under the first amendment.

Do these clashes affect ratings?

Not really. Ratings and attendance at NBA games this past season were up and the NBA Finals once again drew in a large television audience.

Politics aside, there are still several interesting storylines heading into this season such as LeBron James playing his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Golden State Warriors seeking a three-peat and the Jimmy Butler saga in Minnesota. Even you if you don’t care for these conflicts between sports and politicians, this is still an intriguing season to watch unfold. 

However, with increased polarization between sports and politics, there is bound to be more clashes as we saw last year. Numerous projects that have more to do with political and social issues as well as basketball are on the way as a result. 

They conflicts and confrontations can occur at any time, but for now, it’s still a time to rejoice in the fact that basketball is officially back.

Eric Reid’s NFL return and his impact on protests, Kaepernick

One of the early pioneers of the NFL national anthem protests has found himself back in the league.

Defensive back Eric Reid, who was one of the first to join Colin Kaepernick in kneeling for the national anthem with the San Francisco 49ers back in 2016, was signed by the Carolina Panthers last week and continued to participate in the protests.

These protests, as I’ve mentioned in several posts, have been extremely controversial and President Donald Trump has even voiced his disgust with the NFL more than a few times.

Trump’s opposition to these protests have been impactful enough to the point where Reid and Kaepernick filed grievances against the NFL that alleged that teams and owners colluded to prevent these two from signing with teams.

The league also made a new rule requiring players to stand up for the national anthem and failure to do so would result in fines. However, the NFLPA filed a grievance over this, but for now, the new policy is on hold.

Before Reid was signed by the Panthers, only a short amount of players were still protesting the national anthem during the regular season.

Although there are just a few players protesting now, Reid included, a fair amount of NFL stadiums have seen these protests take place.

Below is a map of each NFL stadium that has had players protest the national anthem before a game in some way during the 2018 regular season. This includes kneeling, staying in the locker room, sitting, raising a fist in the air, etc.

What does Reid’s NFL return mean?

First and foremost, the national anthem protests are here to stay with the new policy currently on hold. There won’t likely be a new policy this season. Although the Panthers said their signing of Reid was football-oriented, it’s no doubt a controversial move, but it supports the argument that these protests shouldn’t cost someone’s job, but there are others who obviously think differently.

The Panthers needed help at safety due to injuries and Reid has shown to be a capable defender during his pro career which is why the team signed him.

But now with Reid having the opportunity to speak to the press more often, awareness for what these players protest for will be raised and published more in the media.

This also rises another question: Does this help Kaepernick get back in the league?

Only time will tell, but Reid’s signing can be considered a step towards that direction and provide some hope for the former 49ers quarterback.