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.

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What Jemele Hill’s newest job means for sports and politics

Former ESPN personality Jemele Hill has a new gig as she will be joining The Atlantic, where she’ll work as a staff writer, covering sports, politics, gender, race and culture.

Hill, who spent the past 12 years at ESPN, has stirred up controversy with her comments toward President Donald Trump and his administration which has vaulted responses from Trump.

Hill was eventually suspended for her controversial comments and the Detroit native left the now abandoned, “SC6,” show following this and joined the, “The Undefeated.”

However, Hill and ESPN parted ways last month which eventually led her to her current job at The Atlantic.

Hill’s controversies were some of the reasons why ESPN has faced criticism and controversies when it comes to viewers and subscribers.

Before, it seemed that sports channels like ESPN served as an escape for people away from the world of politics and focused purely on sports no matter when you watched it, but with the growing political controversies and polarization that have mostly come with Trump’s presidency, sports networks like ESPN seem to be incorporating more politics in their content.

ESPN has been accused of this and professional athletes such as Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James and Kevin Durant have been criticized for publicly stating their political beliefs and views toward today’s American society.

Indeed, we all have voices and no matter who you are, you have every right to voice our opinions whenever we want to, but it seems like what sports fans want is for these sports outlets to stay away from politics and return their focuses strictly to sports and only sports.

ESPN has taken these steps under its president, Jimmy Pitaro, who was hired back in March.

Hill is one of many who has been both praised and ridiculed for her actions and views, but while she’ll still more than likely receive criticism for her views, she now has what seems like a better platform for her content which allows her to incorporate her views and politics as the ongoing controversies between the sport and political worlds continue.

Athletes who became Politicians: Gerald Ford

This week’s series highlighting collegiate/professional athletes who became politicians comes to an end today as I take a look at the football and political careers of Gerald Ford.

Career in football: Ford attended school and played football at the University of Michigan where he played linebacker, center and long-snapper. He helped the Wolverines achieve two undefeated seasons and win two national championships in 1932 and 1933. He was also voted the team’s most valuable player in 1934.

Ford was selected to play in the 1935 East-West College All-Star game and although he received contract offers to play for the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, he elected to attend law school at Yale University instead.

Career in politics: After serving in World War II in the United States Navy, Ford, a Republican, was elected to the House of Representatives in 1948 and held that seat until 1979, representing Michigan’s fifth congressional district.

He was served as the House Minority Leader from 1965 to 1973 and was nominated to replace Richard Nixon’s Vice President, Spiro Agnew, after he resigned in 1973.

Following the Watergate scandal and Nixon’s resignation from the presidency, Ford was sworn in and became president until the end of term in 1976.

As president, Ford created controversy when he decided to pardon his predecessor, Nixon.

Working with a Democratic congress, Ford vetoed 66 pieces of legislation, but he helped loosen tensions with with Soviet Union by signing the Helsinki Accords.

He narrowly lost reelection to Democrat Jimmy Carter during the 1976 presidential election. 

Death: Ford passed away on Dec. 26, 2006 at age 93.

The School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan is named in his honor.

Athletes who became politicians: Jon Runyan

This week’s series highlighting former athletes in politics continues today as I take a look at the football and political careers of Jon Runyan.

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With Free agency less than a week away, and the fact that we need OL help this year, here is one of the baddest dudes that has ever worn midnight green at that position. Jon Runyan was signed by the Eagles after playing 3 seasons Tennessee Titans. At the age of 27, Runyan signed a 6 year 30.5 million contact and he was worth every penny. Standing at 6'7" 330lbs his presence on the offensive line was one of the key assets to the Eagles NFC east success. When his NFC East opponent Michael Strahan was inducted to the Hall of Fame he paid homage to Runyan. "You were the toughest guy I ever had to face on a consistent basis. You made me a better football player" #WhatDoYouThink #DidYouKnow #JonRunyan #congressmanrunyan #philadelphiaeagles #birdgang #Philly #Eagles #FlyEaglesFly #freeagency #NFL #success #onebaddude

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Career in football: Runyan was born and raised in Flint, Michigan and would stay in his home state to play football and attend school at the University of Michigan.

After earning All-Big 10 conference honors in 1995, Runyan was drafted in the fourth round by the Houston Oilers (became the Tennessee Titans in 1999) in 1996 and played with the franchise until the 1999 season, the same season in which he earned All-Pro honors.

Runyan then played the bulk of his professional career with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2000 to 2008 where he was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2002 and helped the Eagles to seven playoff appearances including an appearance in Super Bowl 39.

Runyan also started 190 straight regular season games which was the second longest streak among active NFL players in 2008. He retired in 2009 after playing in just five games with the San Diego Chargers.

Career in politics: Runyan ran for congress in 2010 as a Republican seeking a seat on the House of Representatives representing New Jersey’s third congressional district. He won the race and was reelected in 2012, but did not run for reelection in 2014.

While a member of congress, Runyan sponsored 15 pieces of legislation and supported the payroll tax cuts and the balanced budget amendment.

Where is he now? After politics, Runyan was hired by the NFL in 2016 to serve as the Vice President of the Policy and Rules administration. In his spare time, Runyan works as an Uber driver in the Philadelphia area.

Athletes who became politicians: Bill Bradley

This week’s series where I highlight one collegiate and/or professional athlete who turned to the world of politics following their career in sports is on its third day.

Today, we take a look at the basketball and political careers of Bill Bradley.

Career in basketball: Bradley originally decided to attend Duke University before breaking his foot, rethinking his future and ultimately deciding to attend Princeton University.

There, he would lead the Tigers to three straight Ivy League titles, averaging 30 points per game on his way to earning All-American honors three times. Bradley then went on to win the gold medal with the USA men’s basketball team two different times in the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and at the 1965 Summer Universiade in Hungary.

Bradley, known as one of the smartest players to have ever played in the NBA, continued his dominance at the NBA level after playing two seasons for an Italian professional team while he attended the University of Oxford. He played for the New York Knicks from 1967 to 1977, becoming and all-star in 1973 and winning two NBA titles in 1970 and 1973.

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Ranking the smartest players academically that played in the NBA * 1. Bill Bradley He graduated from Princeton University, wrote 6 books, and is a visiting professor is numerous prestigious universities such as Stanford University. As some might know, hes a former U.S. Senator and even ran for president in 2000. 2. Jeremy Lin Graduated high school with a 4.2 GPA and got an academic scholarship to attend Harvard University. He would graduate Harvard with a economics degree and 3.1 GPA. 3. Pau Gasol Attended University of Barcelona, which is a renowned school. Before becoming a NBA player, he was admitted to medical school and was taking medical classes and on his way to become a doctor. Still visits hospitals and talks with doctors. 4. Tim Duncan Graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in Psychology. He even helped a professor write a textbook. Loves going to Renaissance fairs and enjoys playing Dungeons and Dragons. 5. David Robinson Was a great math student and received 1400/1600 in his SAT. Got his masters in administration and has his own VC company. 6. Brandon Knight Had a 4.3 GPA in high school and received straight A's 12 years in a row. He tried to plead to his college to let him take more classes each semester. 7. Emeka Okafor Graduates from UConn in only 3 years with a 3.8 GPA and degree in Finance. 8. Danny Granger Got a 30 on his ACT and even received a financial package to attend Yale, but rejected it to focus on his basketball career. 9. Russell Westbrook He had a 3.9 GPA in high school and wanted to attend Stanford University. He had the grades to attend it but was not given a basketball scholarship * Do you agree or disagree? Leave your comments below * What ranking should I do next? * Follow @dreamznba * #nba #rankings #franchise #academics #school #college #nbaplayers #math #basketball #nbaplayers #russellwestbrook #oklahomacitythunder #dannygranger #indianapacers #emekaokafor #neworleanspelicans #brandonknight #phoenixsuns #davidrobinson #timduncan #sanantoniospurs #jeremylin #brooklynnets #paugasol #billbradley #newyorkknicks #scholarship

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Bradley was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983 and had his jersey number 24 retired by the Knicks in 1984.

Political career: Following his basketball career, Bradley ran for senate in 1978 as a Democrat for New Jersey and won, eventually serving six three-year terms. He also helped co-author the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

Bradley announced his candidacy for the 2000 presidential election in 1999, but didn’t win a single primary, dropping out of the race in March of 2000. Then-Vice President Al Gore eventually won the Democratic nomination.

Where is he now? Bradley is currently an investment banker for Allen & Company in New York and hosts a talk show on satellite radio called, “American Voices.”

 

Alan Page: How he left his mark on the gridiron and the Supreme Court

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(Photo courtesy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame)

This week’s series where I highlight one collegiate and/or professional athlete who turned their attention to the world of politics following their career in sports per day continues.

Today, we take a look at the football and political careers of Alan Page. Page may not have technically been a politician, but his career is a unique one that started with football before he endured a full-time and memorable legal career.

Career in football: Page, a Canton, Ohio native, actually helped out with the construction of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the 1960’s.

Page went on to South Bend, Indiana where he had an impressive collegiate career at Notre Dame where he helped lead the Fighting Irish to a national championship on his way to earning All-American honors.

From there, he would play 16 years in the NFL, 12 with the Minnesota Vikings and four with the Chicago Bears.

Page’s bright and best years in the league came as a member of the Vikings as he and the, “purple people eaters,” helped lead the franchise to four Super Bowl appearances on his way to earning nine pro bowls, six first team All-Pro honors and NFL MVP in 1971.

Political career: Page attended law school at the University of Minnesota while still playing for the Vikings where he earned a Juris Doctor in 1978.

From there, he worked for a Minneapolis law firm, Lindquist and Vennum, from 1979 to 1984 during NFL offseasons. He was later appointed to Special Assistant Attorney General in 1985 and then to Assistant Attorney General.

Page was then elected to an open seat as an Associate Justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1992, becoming the first African-American to serve on that court. He won reelection three times and served until his retirement in 2015.

Where is he now? Page travels around for public speakings and recently, the NFL Players Association named the Alan Page Community (APC) Award, in his honor. 

Athletes who became politicians: Manny Pacquiao

The 2020 presidential election is two years away and numerous non-politicians and even some former athletes from the collegiate and professional levels have hinted at making a run for office.

Starting today and for the rest of this week, I will be highlighting five different professional and/or collegiate athletes (one per day) who turned their attentions to the world of politics following their careers in sports.

Today, I take a look at the boxing and political careers of Manny Pacquiao.

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(Photo courtesy of Forbes).

Career in boxing: Pacquiao made his professional boxing debut in 1995 and has since become one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in boxing history. His boxing resume includes being the only eight-division world champion and becoming the first boxer to win a major title in four of the original eight weight classes in boxing flyweight, featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight.

Pacquiao has accumulated a 60-7-2 career record in boxing with 39 of his wins coming by knockout.

Political career: The southpaw (left-handed fighter) ran as a liberal party candidate for a seat in the Philippine House of Representatives, but was defeated. He ran again in 2010 and was victorious and was reelected in 2013 without an opposition. Pacquiao then ran for senate under the United Nationalist Alliance party in 2016 and was elected and still serves today.

His political career has been met with controversy for his comments towards homosexuals and other topics.

Where is he now? Along with his role as a senator, Pacquiao is still active in boxing following a brief retirement and most recently defeated Lucas Matthysse on July 15 to win the WBA welterweight title.

Rumors have circulated of a potential rematch taking place between Pacquiao and retired boxing legend Floyd Mayweather.

The two fought each other in a highly anticipated match in 2015 that ultimately turned out to be a disappointment to boxing fans as Mayweather defeated Pacquiao by a unanimous decision.