Sportsball Open Thread: There Is Power In A Union?

I am given to understand that Roger Goodell is an aggregation of marketing slogans made flesh and slapped in a jacket, but it seems that the players still have some pushback here:

The NFL did not seek commitments from its players to stop kneeling during pregame renditions of the U.S. national anthem but rather focused on helping them in their political activism.

“We spent today talking about the issues that our players have been trying to bring attention to. About issues in our communities to make our communities better,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters.

Trump’s repeated denunciation of the players as unpatriotic for kneeling during the national anthem, which he reiterated as recently as Monday, has only made the practice more widespread…

The small but growing number of players who have taken to kneeling during the national anthem are protesting the killing by police of unarmed black men and boys across the United States, as well as racial disparities in the criminal justice system. More than half of all NFL players are black.

Goodell appeared less interested in stifling the silent protests, despite Trump’s wishes, and instead praised players’ character, saying he wanted to help their political activism.

“Today’s discussion with our players was very productive and very important. It reflected our commitment to work together with our players on issues of social justice,” said Goodell…

Along those lines, team owners and 13 players had a “productive meeting” of their own earlier on Tuesday at the league offices about how to collaborate on positive social change and addressing inequality, according to a statement by the NFL and the players’ union, the NFL Players Association…

Malcolm Jenkins, a player for the Philadelphia Eagles, told reporters that the two sides discussed how to amplify players’ voices and make what he called “long, sustainable changes.”

“We all have mutual interests. … We want to make sure that the quality of product that we put out on the field is great, but at the same time we have a responsibility to the communities that we live in and the communities that we come from,” Jenkins said…

Players and their union have bristled at Trump’s assertion they are unpatriotic. Though still a minority, more players have begun kneeling since the new football season began, and some sympathetic teammates have linked arms with the kneelers while standing themselves…

The NYTimes:

The league’s rule book never required players to stand for the anthem but says they must be on the sideline during the song and “should” stand for it.

The ambiguity in the rule has made it difficult for the league to fine players who have either sat or knelt for the anthem, and the owners had discussed clarifying the wording to make standing for the anthem mandatory.

By leaving the rule alone, the league has chosen to avoid more internal strife with its players and to potentially weather more criticism from fans and President Trump, who has repeatedly ridiculed the league for not firing players who demonstrate during the anthem.

“We need to be above petty attacks from anybody, because racial and socioeconomic inequality has existed in this country for too long,” Jed York, the chief executive and co-owner of the San Francisco 49ers, said when asked about the president’s criticism of the league. “You got to block out the noise and go do your job, and that’s what we need to focus on.”…

We fully understand that nobody’s gonna pay NFL dollars to watch a bunch of Trump interns in full gear attempt not to injure themselves running around the field every Sunday, Monday, and Thursday evening, Mr. I-Killed-Arena-Football.

…Jenkins said there had been no discussion during the meeting about prohibiting players from kneeling during the national anthem; whether players continue to do so, he said, would be an individual decision.

He also said that Kaepernick had been invited to the meeting but chose not to attend. Kaepernick’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, later said it was possible that Kaepernick would attend future meetings…

The league also continues to grapple with Kaepernick, who filed a grievance accusing the owners of colluding to keep him from joining a team. Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013, has remained unsigned since leaving the team in March.

What say the sports fans?

Update: Where to Donate to Help Puerto Rico & the Islands

From the AP:

The U.S. ramped up its response Monday to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, even as President Donald Trump brought up the island’s struggles before Hurricane Maria struck — including “billions of dollars” in debt to “Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with.”

The Trump administration has tried to blunt criticism that its response to Hurricane Maria has fallen short of its efforts in Texas and Florida after the recent hurricanes there.

Five days after the Category 4 storm slammed into Puerto Rico, many of the more than 3.4 million U.S. citizens in the territory were still without adequate food, water and fuel. Flights off the island were infrequent, communications were spotty and roads were clogged with debris. Officials said electrical power may not be fully restored for more than a month…

In Washington, officials said no armada of U.S. Navy ships was headed to the island because supplies could be carried in more efficiently by plane. The Trump administration ruled out temporarily setting aside federal restrictions on foreign ships’ transportation of cargo, saying it wasn’t needed. The government had waived those rules in Florida and Texas until last week…

Energy Department crews are working in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, coordinating with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, FEMA and a team from the New York Power Authority, among others. An eight-member team from the Western Area Power Authority, an Energy Department agency, assisted with initial damage assessments in Puerto Rico and has been redeployed to St. Thomas. A spokeswoman said additional responders would go to Puerto Rico as soon as transportation to the hurricane-ravaged island could be arranged…

Here are some donor suggestions, via commentors to yesterday’s post:

Charity Navigator has a list of Charities Providing Assistance in the Wake of Hurricane Maria

So does the Florida Association for Volunteer Action in the Carribean & the Americas: FAVACA

All Hands Volunteers has a link dedicated to US Virgin Island Hurricane Response

Commentors who’ve adopted dogs from Second Chance Animal Rescue of Puerto Rico speak up for that group’s volunteers, and the many rescues they’re sheltering.

Multiple commentors also recommended ShelterBox USA: “ShelterBox provides shelter and life-saving supplies to communities overwhelmed by disaster, including people affected by the recent Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. They are actively evaluating needs in the Caribbean after Hurricane Maria and in Mexico following recent earthquakes.”

Habitat for Humanity:

“We appreciate that you are anxious to help, but please do not self-deploy. Shelter, food and water are in limited supply and the arrival of unexpected volunteers adds to an already strained situation. Volunteers from outside the immediate area will be needed, now is just not the time.

Habitat for Humanity has trained disaster response personnel on the ground now as a part of the initial response and assessment, which includes basic cleanup work. The next phase will be to repair and rebuild. This will take months and could take years to complete. These efforts are often the most difficult as media attention tends to move on before the work has even really begun. Please don’t let timing discourage you from being a part of the hurricane recovery efforts.

In the immediate aftermath of the hurricanes, it is important to give first responders and trained disaster responders the space and resources they need for their work. But as we move into the long-term rebuilding phase, we’ll be counting on volunteers to help, just as they have so many times before. Sign up below to join our hurricane recovery volunteer registry. This will give us the ability to keep you up to date on the situation, and call on you as volunteer teams prepare to deploy…

Global Giving’s Puerto Rico & Caribbean Hurricane Relief Fund

Operation USA — “Give and it gets there”

Please add your own suggestions below — and forgive me if I missed your comment yesterday.

Donation Sites for Puerto Rico & the Islands Hurricane Relief?

The need is dire, and will be for many months if not years. And since the GOP perceives even Puerto Ricans as the wrong kind of American citizens, it will be a battle to get any government support. Who’s got links for the groups that can make best and fastest use of our donations?

Commentors have suggested a couple already:

The Hispanic Federation’s “Unidos”: A Hurricane Relief Fund for Hurricane Maria Victims in Puerto Rico

First lady of Puerto Rico Beatriz Rosselló’s United for Puerto Rico

And GoFundMe’s Hurricane Maria Relief Page, which includes fund drives dedicated to Dominica as well.

Add your favorite groups in the comments (or tell us more about the ones here) and I’ll post an updated list tomorrow.

You used to call me on your cell phone

Now just call

Friday Morning Open Thread: Look for the Helpers

Apart from (doing our best) staying positive, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the week?

From Quartz, pretty good use of social media — “A three-day-old crowdsourcing website is helping volunteers save lives in hurricane-hit Houston”:

On the night of Sunday, Aug. 28, Matthew Marchetti was one of thousands of Houstonians feeling powerless as their city drowned in tropical storm Harvey’s deluge.

By Monday morning, the 27-year-old developer, sitting in his leaky office, had slapped together an online mapping tool to track stranded residents. A day later, nearly 5,000 people had registered to be rescued, and 2,700 of them were safe.

If there’s a silver lining to Harvey, it’s the flood of civilian volunteers such as Marchetti who have joined the rescue effort. It became pretty clear shortly after the storm started pounding Houston that the city would need their help. The heavy rains quickly outstripped authorities’ ability to respond. People watched water levels rise around them while they waited on hold to get connected to a 911 dispatcher. Desperate local officials asked owners of high-water vehicles and boats to help collect their fellow citizens trapped on second-stories and roofs…

The idea behind his project,, is simple. The map lets people in need register their location. They are asked to include details—for example, if they’re sick or have small children—and their cell phone numbers.

The army of rescuers, who can also register on the site, can then easily spot the neediest cases. A team of 100 phone dispatchers follows up with those wanting to be rescued, and can send mass text messages with important information. An algorithm weeds out any repeats.

It might be one of the first open-sourced rescue missions in the US, and could be a valuable blueprint for future disaster volunteers…

I Have a Dream: 54 Years Later

Today is the 54th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech.

On this 54th anniversary the Anne Frank Center brings the heat:

Here’s the video of the speech:

ETA at 11:05 PM

Lest we forget, today is the 62nd anniversary of Emmet Till’s murder. The date for the March on Washington was specifically chosen to coincide with the anniversary of Till’s murder.



Monday Morning Open Thread: So, How Can We Help?


Apart from the ongoing Harvey disaster, what’s on the agenda for the start of the new week?