'I take it personally': NFL star chokes up responding to Trump's attacks.

President Donald Trump's divisive comments on the NFL protests are making national headlines, but to Miami Dolphin Michael Thomas, the remarks hit close to home.

Michael Thomas. Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Sirius XM.

Speaking to reporters from the locker room on Sunday, Thomas — who has knelt during the national anthem before games — responded to Trump's claim that a "son of a bitch" like him should be fired for refusing to stand.


Over the past several months, many players have kneeled during the national anthem in a peaceful, silent protest to draw attention to racial injustice — namely, police brutality targeting people of color — since former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling last season.

"As a man, as a father, as an African-American man, as somebody in the NFL who’s one of those 'sons of bitches,' yeah I take it personally," Thomas told reporters. "But at the same time, like I said in my Twitter posts, it’s bigger than me."

"I got a daughter; she’s going to have to live in this world," Thomas told reporters, holding back tears.

"I’m going to do whatever I got to do to make sure she can look at her dad and be like, 'Hey, you did something, you tried to make a change.'"

Thomas' emotional response shows how deep the president's remarks have cut and why more athletes are now stepping up — or, rather, kneeling down — to spark change.

Controversy surrounding the NFL protests boiled over this past weekend, after the president waded back into the world of political activism in pro sports.

Trump set off a firestorm Friday night at his rally in Alabama, claiming NFL athletes who sit or kneel during the protests should be fired. The following morning, he slammed Stephen Curry for planning to skip his team's potential White House visit after winning the NBA national championship in June: "invitation is withdrawn!" the president tweeted. LeBron James jumped into the foray to defend Curry shortly thereafter, calling the president a "bum."

Trump's bombastic remarks prompted a wave of players to kneel on Sunday. According to NPR, roughly 200 NFL athletes protested as "The Star-Spangled Banner" played before their respective games.

Several Detroit Lions players kneeled during their game on Sept. 24, 2017. Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images.

Critics have slammed Trump for stoking a fire solely to enrage his base while ignoring other dire issues.

"He wanted a reaction; he got that reaction," Michael Steele, former Republican National Committee Chairman, told NBC News. "It’s very disappointing — the same level of stuff we get from the president that doesn’t advance a genuine conversation but polarizes people into camps."

Meanwhile, dilemmas are playing out on the national and global stages — the GOP's unpopular Graham-Cassidy health bill, relations with North Korea, devastation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria — with little leadership or comment from the president.

"It just amazes me with everything else that's going on in this world, especially involving the U.S., that’s what you’re concerned about, my man?" Thomas noted to reporters on Sunday. "You’re the leader of the free world — this is what you’re talking about?"

It appears so.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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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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