Nate Boyer Dropped A Knowledge Bomb

Last year when President Frump was elected, I wrote a piece about our country’s momentary laps of human decency and the break-down of our country’s general ethos.  You can read it here.

Then recently the Colin Kaepernick protest became a twitter-fest of classic magician’s diversion tactics from our President, when he attacked every NFL football player who knelt during the national anthem.  In blustering “Great and Powerful Oz” – like form, the Orange Menace (Trump) quickly raised his tiny hand and spewed to the world, “PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN” as he waived his not-so-magic wand around the country drawing a line in the sand for us all.

On one side, the “Patriots” who honor the flag and what it stands for by arguing points that contradict the entire point of the flag and this country.  On the other side, “Sons of bitches” who kneel in order to stand for those who’s voice will not be heard, they kneel so that they can stand up against tyranny and unjust actions in this country.  The lost messages in this argument have become thicker than Trump’s dumb head.

Almost a year later, we’re further down the rabbit-hole and no red or blue pill is going to pull us out of the darkness and bring us towards the light.  Our country is in shambles, completely dis-jointed and the appointed “leader” is swinging the wrecking-ball.

But today, I read this article on ESPN and felt hope for a mere moment.  Hope for a better future, hope for a discussion and movement forward for EVERYONE.  If you’ve got half a brain, you’ll read it.  If you’re a Trumpian, I’ll warn you it’s a lot longer than 140 characters, so strap your self in.  And maybe, just maybe, you can be more open-minded than our President and think in terms of US instead of ME.


Ex-Green Beret Nate Boyer writes open letter to Trump, Kaepernick, NFL and America

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dear Every Single American,

Every. Single. American. Including President Trump, Colin Kaepernick, and my brothers in arms overseas who are wondering, “what in the hell is going on back there?” I’m sitting in the same chair, in the same apartment that I sat in almost a year ago when I wrote an open letter to Colin Kaepernick. I was hurt when I saw him sitting on the bench during the national anthem, but I’m much more hurt now. Not by him, not by where we’re at now with the protests, but by us.

Simply put, it seems like we just hate each other; and that is far more painful to me than any protest, or demonstration, or rally, or tweet. We’re told to pick a side, there’s a line drawn in the sand “are you with us or against us?” It’s just not who we are, or at least who we’re supposed to be; we’re supposed to be better than that, we’re Americans. This doesn’t even seem to be about right or wrong, but more about right or left.

Today it feels like this national divide isn’t even really about the anthem, or the flag, or kneeling, or sitting, or fists in the air. It’s not about President Donald Trump, it’s not about Colin Kaepernick, it’s not about the military, or even police brutality. It feels like it’s about winning. That’s what makes America so great, our sheer competitiveness. We’re winners, and we won’t quit until victory is ours.

We see it in sports everyday, we “live and die” by the outcomes of our teams. That desire to win at all cost is costing us greatly now among our neighbors. This winning mentality seems to have spilled over into an obsession with being right and not willing to admit that maybe, just maybe we were wrong. We repeat mantras to ourselves like, “no matter what I will never ever surrender.”

“To deploy overseas, train, live with, fight alongside, and ultimately defend foreigners that you have little in common with is truly a challenging task. But returning home to a country that is so divided, so judgmental, and so hateful of one another is almost as difficult to deal with as burying a fallen comrade.”

Nate Boyer on the pulse of America right now

Earlier this week I sat down with a group of five Combat Arms and Special Operations Veterans. The round table discussed our individual feelings on the flag, the anthem, and the players who knelt when it was played. We all had very different takes, but what surprised me most at the end of the discussion was that we all agreed on one thing. Colin Kaepernick and President Trump should be the ones uniting our country together. Wait…what? I know it sounds crazy, but maybe that’s exactly what we need to see. Maybe that’s how we start to heal. Two men sit in a room and talk, simple as that.

That’s how it all started with Colin and I, neither of us knew that kneeling would be the result of our conversation. Colin wanted to sit, I wanted him to stand, and so we found a common ground on a knee alongside his teammates. I believe that progress and real change happens in this world when you reach across the divide, you build a bridge, you swallow your pride, you open your mind, you embrace what you don’t understand, and ultimately you surrender.

Now I don’t pretend to speak for everyone who fought overseas, many veterans rightfully disagree with my position. But I do feel that I echo the sentiments of most war fighters when I say that what we hope for more than anything right now in America is unity. To deploy overseas, train, live with, fight alongside, and ultimately defend foreigners that you have little in common with is truly a challenging task. But returning home to a country that is so divided, so judgmental, and so hateful of one another is almost as difficult to deal with as burying a fallen comrade. In fact we’re still losing our brothers in arms overseas right now and it’s hardly mentioned it in the media; but that’s OK, we don’t risk our lives and sacrifice so much for fanfare or recognition. It’s not at all why we do what we do. We do what we do because you are worth it, because we love you.

I would love for those two leaders to have that conversation, but more than anything I just want us to love one another again. One great thing about freedom is that you get to choose everyday how you treat your neighbor. This IS the best country in the world, but we can always do better. I’m laying it all out there because I have to, I swore to defend this land and its people, and I will die trying. I know some people will hate this (we love to hate things these days), and I’ll get called a disgrace to the Green Beret once again. But I don’t care, the United States means more to me than any of that.

Over the past year I’ve come across veterans from various walks of life. We may actually be the most diverse sub-culture in the America. Since I myself am a Green Beret, I want to share with you a couple of messages that were sent to me from men in my former unit. One of them is white, and one of them is black:

“Hey brother. At first I was with you on the Kaepernick issue. However, I just stood in formation while one of our brothers was pulled off a plane with our nation’s flag draped over the coffin. I had to fight back tears as I saw the pain in the eyes of Staff Sergeant T’s wife and family. While I would like to sit here and tell you that I rose above it all, I have to be honest. My heart filled with rage. Rage for anyone who takes for granted the ideals and symbols that we fight and die for.”

“Hey Brother, this is J. I spent nearly 18 years in 10th Special Forces Group and wish I had an opportunity to meet a brother like yourself. I just want to say I appreciate your views on this national anthem and flag issue. I love our country, but at the same time I have to take the time to tell my sons to act a certain way out of fear for their lives when dealing with police officers. Most of my neighbors and friends here in MD are law enforcement personnel and will tell you they also have to act a certain way to avoid confrontation and situations that normally don’t occur for those that are not of color. Not all officers are bad, the majority I believe are good and poor training is attributed to some of these issues we hear of. I really just want to thank you for your taking the time out to understand and convincing him to take a knee and not sit out on what we have fought for. God Bless You Bro!”

Different backgrounds, different experiences, different colors, but at the end of the day they just want the same basic things for their families.

So please, no more lines in the sand, not at home, not among our people. No more choosing sides, no more “for or against.” I believe our Veterans will be called upon to lead the way in healing the world and solving its problems; right now our country needs that more than I can remember. So I’ll be here, standing in the radical middle, doing what I can to continue fighting for those that can’t fight for themselves. Let’s get this thing fixed together, you and me. I love you all with all my heart.

De Oppresso Liber

— Nate Boyer

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Duck, Duck, Goose Reminds Bears Fans They Still Suck

The 1-4 Chicago Bears began the Trubisky-tour 2K17 last night with a loss to the walking Quarterback Injured Reserve List of a franchise, the Minnesota (flapjacks) Vikings.  Trubisky actually impressed in his first rookie start going 12-of-25 passing for 128 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  Not a bad first game for Bears fans, especially considering the previous choices in gun-slinger over the past 6 seasons were: Mike Glennon, Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley, Jimmy Clausen, Josh McCown, Jason Campbell, Caleb Hanie and a zombie-parrot named Chico.

That’s a Cleveland Browns-ian list of QB’s starting and failing at an exceptional pace, so good for you Bears fans.  You might have a QB last more than one season in your lineup, slow clap initiated……..

Head Coach John Fox on Trubisky:

“Our guys feel it. They feel his presence,” I know he scrambled for a first down. I know they were able to do some different things with him as far as attacking the corner. For a first outing, I thought he was really good. I know his teammates feel the same way and he’ll just get better with time.”

Who Will Lead?

Three thoughts I never imagined I’d ponder on a Monday in September:

1.  The NFL and it’s players are under attack, not by worried mothers, not by CTE or brain damage and not by a league-wide plague of herpes….but from our own President of the United States.

Donald Trump:

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,'” Trump said. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”

2.  According to near-sighted people, kneeling is the most disrespectful act a person can demonstrate towards the American flag.

“The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.”

“The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.”

“It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.”

“The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.”

“No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations.”

3.  The country is being divided and bred to harbor anger towards fellow Americans by our own President.

The main question I have at this point, is how did we get here?  How did we go from Colin Kaepernick kneeling to protest the injustice and killing of African American citizens due to a systematic problem with the police department, to Donald Trump calling NFL players “sons of bitches” and creating a false-narrative about patriotism?

The NFL timeline since Colin Kaepernick’s protest, a post-Kaepernick era:

  • Aug 14, 2016- Colin Kaepernick sits for the national anthem…..and no one noticed.
  • Aug 20th, 2016- Colin again sits, and again, no one noticed.
  • Aug 26th, 2016- Colin sits and this time he is met with a monsoon of hatred unseen against an athlete in recent memory.  Even the future President (Trump) of the United States took shots at him while on the campaign trail.  Colin went on to explain his protest had NOTHING to with the military.
  • Aug 30th, 2016 Nate Boyer, a former Army Green Beret turned NFL long snapper, penned an open letter to Colin in the Army Times.  In it he expressed how Colin’s actions affected him.
-Excerpt from the letter:
“I’m not judging you for standing up for what you believe in. It’s your inalienable right. What you are doing takes a lot of courage, and I’d be lying if I said I knew what it was like to walk around in your shoes. I’ve never had to deal with prejudice because of the color of my skin, and for me to say I can relate to what you’ve gone through is as ignorant as someone who’s never been in a combat zone telling me they understand what it’s like to go to war.
Even though my initial reaction to your protest was one of anger, I’m trying to listen to what you’re saying and why you’re doing it.
There are already plenty people fighting fire with fire, and it’s just not helping anyone or anything. So I’m just going to keep listening, with an open mind.
I look forward to the day you’re inspired to once again stand during our national anthem. I’ll be standing right there next to you.  Keep on trying … De Oppresso Liber.”
“De Oppresso Liber” is Latin, a motto of U.S. Army Special Forces, which can be translated to meaning “To free the oppressed,” or possibly “Free from having been oppressed.” Or even “Free from the oppressed one.”
Nate Boyer expressed empathy, and Colin Kaepernick responded by inviting Nate to San Diego to speak with him about the topic.  In the 90-minute discussion between the two men, Nate Boyer suggested a compromise that few and proud among us could only HOPE to reach when in the midst of clashing philosophies.
Nate proposed Colin kneel instead of sit for the National Anthem.
But why kneel?
In a military funeral, after the flag is taken off the casket of the fallen military member, it is folded 13 times and then presented to the parents, spouse or child of the fallen soldier by a fellow service member while KNEELING.  The two decided that kneeling for the flag would symbolize his respect for those that paid the ultimate sacrifice while still allowing Colin to peacefully protest the injustices.
Empathy and understanding is what brought Kaepernick and Boyer to a compromise that both felt was a common ground.  The power of discussion, dialogue and listening overpowered the notion of hate or hubris between the two completely different men.
What can we learn from these two men that we obviously can not learn from our “Commander and Chief”?  We MUST look through the fine-brushed canvas painting portraying patriotism as division and really SEE the truth of ourselves and our country.  The toughest window to look out of is a mirror.
The divide in our country permeated by our country’s “leadership” can be mended, but this bitter argument about a man kneeling during the National Anthem has opened Pandora’s box of confused rhetoric.
A nation divided can not stand.
The truth is out there, but understanding the story without rushing to judgement is the key to any growth or compromise.  From this rubble and ash we need a leader to rise, someone to unify and lead.
  • Great leaders remain positive even when under pressure and scrutiny
  • Great leaders exhibit confidence but not arrogance or hubris
  • Great leaders have a sense of humor but also know when to be serious
  • Great leaders embrace failure and use it as a tool for learning and moving forward Great leaders manage setbacks and manage emotions
  • Great leaders listen intently to the opposition and respond articulately
  • Great leaders inspire and motivate
  • Great leaders take responsibility and never place blame
  • Great leaders make decisions based on experience and lessons learned
  • Great leaders lead by example and commit to doing what’s in the best interest of the group   

 Who will stand and lead?

“The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, ensuring that there is no prohibition on the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.”

 

NFL Off-Season: What People Do In Venice Beach For Fun

With the NFL season upon us like a plague of ice-breathing, zombie-dragons; I give you the greatest compilation of NFL-Offseason “bored to death” videos on youtube: “Stuck In Traffic”.

Proving once again that NO MATTER where you live: Venice Beach, California….Manhattan, New York….Richmond, Virginia….or Fort Collins, Colorado, drinking alcohol while filming traffic will always be the most interesting thing you do today.

Thank god it’s football season.

The Greatest Goal in UMBC Soccer History

Admittedly, I don’t know much about the small college in Baltimore, Maryland other than it’s mascot is a retreiver and according to wikipedia they’re notable alumni consists of a guy named Duff who apparently is a pastry chef on The Food Network and Kathleen Turner may or may not have attended classes there at some point.

But then this happened: Christos FC, an amateur Baltimore soccer team that never practices and is headquartered in a liquor store, was playing a fourth-round U.S. Open Cup match against D.C. United of MLS. In the 23rd minute, Mamadou Kansaye scored on a free kick to give his club a 1-0 lead over the three-time Open Cup champs.

Kansaye, like many of Christos FC’s players, played soccer at UMBC.  And the liquor store crowd went crazy:

 

2017 College Football Re-Rankings

Reranking the New Year’s Top Ten Teams

(originally posted on espn.com)

Not only do we now have two finalists for the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T and a clear No. 1 and No. 2 heading into Monday’s game (8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App) between Alabama and Clemson, we also have a completed season for everyone else.

We know more now than we did on Dec. 4, when the CFP selection committee laid out the semifinals and the rest of the New Year’s Six bowls, decisions that weren’t devoid of controversy at the time. That means we can rework the speculation of the final CFP rankings into something that is (slightly) more objective, as the two human polls will do on Jan. 10.

So here’s a reranking of the 12 teams selected for the New Year’s Six bowls.

1. Alabama

The struggling passing game sent up an itty-bitty red flag, and it’s difficult not to raise an eyebrow at offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin’s sudden departure for his new job and the elevation of Steve Sarkisian. But the result of the CFP semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl was nonetheless a decisive 24-7 takedown of Washington. The Crimson Tide are the defending national champions, and as they look to become the first 15-0 team in college football history, they are the kings until someone else takes the throne.

2. Clemson

The Tigers’ 31-zip domination of Ohio State was spectacular football in all phases. Quarterback Deshaun Watson and his team seem to be peaking at the right time, riding late-season momentum after they suffered their only defeat, a stunner to Pittsburgh. It’s not difficult to make a case that Clemson is a more complete team than Alabama. It’s also not difficult to wonder what Watson might do for an encore in a championship rematch against another outstanding Crimson Tide defense, particularly with receiver Mike Williams healthy and available this year. Clemson can propel itself upward one spot with a fairly obvious accomplishment Monday.

3. USC

Maybe it’s an emotional reaction to the Trojans winning truly one of the most entertaining games you’ll ever, ever see — a 52-49 thriller over Penn State in the Rose Bowl, decided on the last play — but we’re promoting the Trojans over two playoff teams. Only Alabama and Oklahoma can eclipse USC’s nine-game winning streak, which also includes a win over Washington and a team that beat Ohio State (Penn State).

4. Penn State

Maybe it’s an emotional reaction to Penn State’s gutty effort in losing truly one of the most entertaining games you’ll ever, ever see, but we’re promoting the Nittany Lions, too. Here’s a guess we’re not the only ones whose opinions of this team are higher today after a bowl loss than they were before the Nittany Lions took on USC. And, well, they are the Big Ten champs.

5. Ohio State

Making a distinction between Ohio State and Washington is difficult, particularly with the Big Ten and Pac-12 being mostly bad-to-mediocre in the postseason and both teams getting whipped in CFP semifinals. The edge here comes down to the major criticism of the Huskies all season: their nonconference schedule. You can’t ignore that the Buckeyes posted the most impressive nonconference victory this year: a blowout win at Oklahoma, the Big 12 and Sugar Bowl champ.

6. Washington

The Huskies’ defense proved it was ready for prime time against Alabama, holding the Crimson Tide to 17 offensive points. The Huskies looked like just about everyone else against the Alabama defense, however, which was bad. While you could make a case that things might have been more competitive without several notable miscues, that can be said about just about every game. Washington proved itself as a good team this year, but it’s not yet in Alabama’s class.

7. Oklahoma

The Big 12 champs’ whipping of Auburn in the Sugar Bowl gave the conference a solid, perhaps partially vindicating, 4-2 bowl record. The Sooners took care of the No. 2 team in the SEC, and their in-state buddies in Stillwater stomped the Pac-12 South Division champ, Colorado. The Sooners’ much-maligned defense dominated Auburn, which might inspire some snarky “SEC offense” talk.

8. Florida State

The Seminoles provided the second-most-entertaining game of the postseason with their 33-32 win over Michigan in the Orange Bowl. Deondre Francois‘ 12-yard touchdown pass to Nyqwan Murray with 36 seconds left was the money play, but the money player was Dalvin Cook, who rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown. The Seminoles’ win should make up for a “down” 9-3 regular season and propel them toward another run at the ACC title next year.

9. Michigan

The Wolverines are back in Big Ten and national contention under coach Jim Harbaugh, no doubt, but the bottom line of this season is they lost three of four when it mattered most. Great teams find ways to win. Michigan found ways to lose at the end of the season.

10. Wisconsin

The Badgers could have embarrassed themselves by not taking Western Michigan seriously in the Cotton Bowl, but they took care of business in a 24-16 victory. The Badgers ended up as the Big Ten’s fourth-best team, but that still earned them a final top-10 ranking here. That said, our decision to drop the Badgers three spots despite their bowl win is in response to the CFP selection committee’s irrational exuberance for the Big Ten, which went 3-7 this bowl season.

Broncos’ Talib Is Gonna Beat Harry Douglas’ Ass This Summer

originally posted on deadspin.com


Aqib Talib Promises To Beat Harry Douglas’s Ass

Aqib Talib and the rest of the Broncos defense were furious with Titans receiver Harry Douglas after Douglas threw a cut-block right into Chris Harris Jr.’s right knee yesterday. Talib brawled with Douglas on the very next play, but that apparently wasn’t enough to satisfy his desire for revenge.

After the game, a still-fuming Talib stood in front of reporters and told them that he was going to beat Douglas up when he sees him in Atlanta. Broncos PR staff promptly ended the interview:

Talib wasn’t the only one who was still mad after the game. Harris Jr. called Douglas a “sorry receiver” during his postgame press conference, and said that Douglas should be fined for the hit. Defensive end Derek Wolfe claimed that the Titans’ offensive line was also playing dirty all game, and offered an invitation to Douglas:

Despite the anger and threats coming from the Broncos, Douglas maintained that his block on Harris Jr. was perfectly legal.  To Douglas’s credit, the block was technically legal: Harris Jr. wasn’t engaged with another blocker and was looking right at Douglas when the block came. That’s the kind of standard issue cut-block linemen and linebackers have to deal with all the time, but not something that cornerbacks normally out in space do. This is football, though, and technical legality doesn’t necessarily absolve a play from being dirty or dangerous.

Antonio Brown Is A Video Game

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Post-turkey, pre-couch nap, during your adult beverage digestif’, you may have noticed the garbage-fire of an attempt at competition that the NFL gave us Thursday night.  The Andrew Luck-less Colts showed less commitment towards employment than the button on most people’s jeans, losing to the Steelers  28-7.  Judging by the final score, the trainwreck doesn’t look overly butcherous, but this game was never actually close.

The real take from this Scott Tolzien-Colts offensive snooze-fest was witnessing Antonio Brown dismantle an entire team over and over and over again.  Brown amassed 3 receiving TDs while only being targeted six times last night, finishing with five receptions for 91 yards total.  On paper the yardage isn’t incredibly impressive, but the numbers turn ludicrous-speed when you factor in that 60% of the time he had his hands on the ball, the play ended with dancing in the endzone.  Antonio Brown is unguardable, Big Ben is getting healthy and Le’Veon Bell is back to beast-mode, which is why the Steelers can’t be counted out for a playoff run this season.  RIP to the Colts DB Vontae Davis’ knees and ankles.