An NFL star thinks we're asking the wrong question about the league's new anthem rule.

Ahead of the 2018 season, the NFL announced a new rule designed to put a stop to silent protests during the national anthem.

Seemingly designed as a compromise — even if it's not — meant to quash the tradition started by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016, the new rule states that players can choose not to be on the field during the anthem (this was the norm until 2009, when the league mandated that players be on the sidelines during the anthem), adding that players who are on the field must "stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem."


The new rule sparked outcry, with some accusing the NFL of corporate censorship in an effort to shut down protest and others (including Donald Trump) saying the league didn't go far enough.

Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images.

The NFL Players' Association (NFLPA) released a statement expressing disappointment that the league didn't consult them before implementing this new rule. On the other hand, President Trump said that while he agrees with the new rule, "maybe [players who stay in the locker rooms] shouldn't be in the country."

One of the most thoughtful responses to the new rule came from Chicago Bears linebacker Sam Acho, who pledged to keep fighting for what's right.

Sam Acho. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

"Obviously, from the beginning, no one's intent, and no one's purpose, was to disrespect the flag," Acho said in a statement first reported by NBC 5 Chicago's Mike Berman.

Acho went on to note that the purpose of the protests have always been to take a stand against the police brutality facing people of color, recommitting himself to finding "a way to stand up for people who are being unjustly treated, find a way to stick up for justice in whatever way, shape, or form you can possibly do it."

When it comes to the question of whether he's OK with the new rule, he proposed a different question for himself and other players: "What do you do now?"

"Obviously, the protests have brought a ton of awareness to the abuses of power that are going on in our country, and I think that was a great method to start our conversation. And now ... we're seeing action," he wrote, noting that he, his teammates, and many others in the NFL are putting time and money towards off-field activism work.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

It's been nearly two years since Kaepernick took a knee, and we're still talking.

"I think a lot of players are happy about the conversations that are happening. So the protests served their purpose," Acho concluded:

"And if guys still want to protest, obviously the ruling is if you don't want to stand for the anthem, according to the owners, you can stay inside. ... I will say we continue to do what we're doing and speak up for those who can't speak for themselves."

It's easy to ignore the underlying issue being protested, to smear players as spoiled, and to argue that they should do more off the field if they actually care about these issues.

The truth is that, as Acho and the NFLPA have said, players do do a lot of work off the field to help their communities and to fight for causes they believe in.

Kaepernick donated a million dollars to charity and traveled across the U.S. helping people out. Veterans around the country have come out in support of the expression of free speech shown in these pre-game protests, even if they don't necessarily agree with the cause or the method.

As Acho said, though, the new rule is what it is. The real question is how NFL players — and the rest of us — can help continue this conversation and work for a better world.

After all, there's nothing more patriotic than working to make your country a place where we are all truly equal.

Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images.

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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