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The 2018 World Cup may be over, but the conversations about race and identity are not.

Most recently, German soccer player Mesut Özil is making headlines. Özil has decided to quit playing professionally for the national team after what he describes as experiences of racism and double standards against people with Turkish ancestry.

On July 22, the Turkish-German midfielder posted a statement on Twitter detailing the slander and ridicule he has received from far-right German politicians, the media, the German Football Association (DFB), his team, and soccer fans.


The statement comes in response to backlash Özil, a practicing Muslim and son of Turkish immigrants, received for posing for a photo with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The photo was taken after a charity event in London.

While Germany has over 3 million Turkish immigrants, some German politicians and fans questioned Özil's national loyalty after his photo with the Erdoğan. Some have gone so far as to say that Erdoğan was exploiting Özil for political gain.

But in his statement, Özil insisted that his meeting and photo with Erdoğan had no political motivation. "For me, having a picture with President Erdoğan wasn’t about politics or elections," Özil wrote. "It was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country."

Twitter users also pointed out the double standard and hypocrisy Özil received for posing with Erdoğan compared to other athletes.

Özil says he's been singled out because of Germany's failure to advance in the 2018 World Cup.

While Özil helped lead Germany to win the 2014 World Cup, he said that he has been unfairly scrutinized for the team's shortcomings this year — something he says has to do with his Turkish roots.

In his statement, Özil described in detail every racist incident he's experienced. He called out the German media for using the Erdoğan photo as right-wing propaganda, DFB president Reinhald Grindel for making "unforgivable and unforgettable" comments about immigrants and Muslims, and German politician Bernd Holzhauer for referring to him with an offensive expletive.

But Özil insists that his heart is still with Germany. "I have two hearts, one German and one Turkish," he added. Despite being one of the world's best midfielders, Özil said his mother has always taught him to never forget his roots and values. This is particularly why he wanted to celebrate his dual heritage.

Özil's resignation is a powerful and courageous act of defiance against the selective — and racist — celebration of immigrants.

By taking a public stand against racism, Özil shed spotlight on the double standard used against players of dual-heritage. At a time when debates about refugees and national identity are looming, he's bravely shaping the conversation on the meaning and purpose of European identity.

The disapproval of dual heritage isn't a problem exclusive to Germany. Trevor Noah received backlash in July 2018 from a French ambassador for celebrating the African background of some of the French soccer players. But Noah set the record straight: His celebration of their African roots is not denying their "Frenchness" but rather is pointing out the beauty in all "these Africans who can become French."

As a matter or principle, Özil said he would no longer stand to be a part of the scapegoating and racism. The only way for him to do that is to step down from the team and speak out against injustice.

"Racism should never be accepted."

Right on, Özil.

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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Kevin Ford with his daughter Seryna.

Kevin Ford, the Las Vegas airport Burger King employee whose story went viral after he displayed the meager goodie bag he received after 27 years of never missing a day of work, might have started off feeling less than hopeful. But after his story reached the masses, his faith in humanity has been restored.

The original video showed the 54-year-old displaying the bag’s mediocre contents: a reusable Starbucks cup, one singular movie ticket, a couple of pens, a lanyard, some keychains and cheap candy (no offense Reese's and Life Savers).


@thekeep777 He's Worked for the Company for Almost 3 Decades and Has Never Called Out!!!😵💫🥺😱😭 #Grateful #Dads #FathersDay #Loyalty #Honor #WorkersUnite #Rewards #Thankful #NorrinRadd777 #theKeep777♬ Slide (feat. Frank Ocean & Migos) - Calvin Harris


Despite receiving a “gift” more equivalent to convention swag than a display of employee loyalty, Ford shared authentic gratitude.

“I’m happy about anything, I’m thankful for anything I get,” Ford told TMZ, “but, like most big corporations, they’ve kind of lost touch with their workers.” Ford added that before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees would receive anniversary checks, sharing that he initially thought that’s what the movie ticket was.

TMZ later reported that after Ford’s video began circulating everywhere, he received a flood of new job opportunities from potential employers near and far—including one position restoring classic cars and another working at a beachside restaurant in South Carolina. However, as he was close to retirement at his current job, Ford passed.

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New York Times journalist Caity Weaver achieved all those things masterfully in a eulogy written for her mother—the coupon-clipping, chronically late, green-thumbed Dr. Maureen Brennan-Weaver.

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