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to skip his team's potential White House visit after winning the NBA national championship in June: "invitation is withdrawn!"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

Photo courtesy of Capital One
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Growing up in Virginia, Dominique Meeks Gombe idolized her family physician — a young Black woman who inspired Meeks Gombe to pursue her passion for chemistry.

While Meeks Gombe began her career working in an environmental chemistry lab, after observing multiple inefficient processes in and around the lab, she took the initiative to teach herself to code in order to automate and streamline those issues.

That sparked her love for coding and imminent career shift. Now a software engineer at Capital One, Meeks Gombe wants to be a similar role model to her childhood mentor and encourage girls to pursue any career they desire.

"I'm so passionate about technology because that's where the world is going," Meeks Gombe said. "All of today's problems will be solved using technology. So it's very important for me, as a Black woman, to be at the proverbial table with my unique perspective."

Since 2019, she and her fellow Capital One associates have partnered with the Capital One Coders program and Girls For A Change to teach coding fundamentals to middle school girls.

The nonprofit's mission is aimed at empowering Black girls in Central Virginia. The organization focuses on designing, leading, funding and implementing social change projects that tackle issues girls face in their own neighborhoods.

Girls For a Change is one of many local nonprofits that receive support from the Capital One Impact Initiative, which strives to close gaps in equity while helping people gain better access to economic and social opportunities. The initial $200 million, five-year national commitment aims to support growth in underserved communities as well as advance socioeconomic mobility.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

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