'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to skip his team's potential White House visit after winning the NBA national championship in June: "invitation is withdrawn!"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.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."