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Just days after he canceled the Philadelphia Eagles' planned trip to the White House, President Donald Trump did something unexpected: He offered to hear them out.

In a major departure from the heated rhetoric he's spent the better part of two years slinging in the direction of NFL players, Trump asked players to recommend people they'd like to see pardoned or who they felt were wronged by the justice system:

"I'm going to ask all of those people to recommend to me — because that's what they're protesting — people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system. And I understand that. I'm going to ask them to recommend to me people that were unfairly treated and I'm gonna take a look at those applications and if I find, and my committee finds, that they've been unfairly treated than we'll pardon them. Or at least let them out."

A number of players responded, calling on the president to commute the sentences of people convicted of nonviolent drug offenses.

One of the sports world's most vocal Trump critics, Eagles defensive lineman Chris Long, published a video to his Twitter profile.


"Mr. President, as of 2012, there were over 11,000 people sitting in federal prisons on marijuana-related offenses. It is now legal recreationally and/or medicinally in almost 30 states. There are people freely profiting off of it, as they should be. Yet still, there are thousands sitting in prison. Those people should be pardoned. There are also numerous cases of people sentenced to life without parole for nonviolent drug crimes. They should not die in prison, and in most cases, people having served decades have done their time. They should go home."

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who recently made news when he responded to reporters' questions with handwritten messages on poster board, posted a video of his own.

"Mr. President, we should pardon those who have life without parole for nonviolent offenses who have served a large portion of their time. Currently, over half of the men and women sentenced to die in federal prison are there because of nonviolent crimes, 30% of which are there for nonviolent drug offenses. And as of 2013, nearly two-thirds of those people were black. Our system is not rehabilitative. There needs to be a focus on helping people become better contributing citizens when they do return to society as well as provide the opportunity to re-enter in a reasonable time for nonviolent offenses."

Jenkins, along with fellow NFL players Doug Baldwin, Anquan Boldin, and Ben Watson, elaborated on those thoughts in an opinion piece published with The New York Times.

The players note Trump's recent commendable action commuting Alice Johnson, a 63-year-old woman who was serving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug conviction. Sadly, many others, just like Johnson, remain in prison for nonviolent offenses. Fixing this will take more than "a handful of pardons," the players state.

Malcolm Jenkins holds his daughter after winning Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4, 2018. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.

"These are problems that our government has created, many of which occur at the local level," they write. "If President Trump thinks he can end these injustices if we deliver him a few names, he hasn't been listening to us."

Still, he can put his pardon power to good use, chipping away at the number of people serving these sentences. The players suggest commuting sentences of nonviolent drug offenders over the age of 60 who haven't been recently convicted. That type of approach would make a lot of sense because those people pose little threat to society and cost the government more money than average to keep incarcerated. Beyond that, the players suggest working with the Department of Justice to eliminate life without parole sentences for nonviolent crimes.

There's something else that seems to get lost in the conversation around anthem protests: These players are more than just players.

"Our being professional athletes has nothing to do with our commitment to fighting injustice," they argue. "We are citizens who embrace the values of empathy, integrity, and justice, and we will fight for what we believe is right. We weren't elected to do this. We do it because we love this country, our communities, and the people in them. This is our America, our right."

Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long stand during the national anthem during a September 2017 game. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.

A cursory glance into the background of some of the NFL stars caught in the controversy over kneeling shows what kind of people they really are. Jenkins devotes time during the off-season to visiting prisons, speaking with lawmakers about racial justice, and working to improve police-community engagement. Watson has advocated on behalf of Louisiana House Bill 265, which would restore the voting rights to people recently reintegrated into society after serving a prison sentence. Long donated his entire 2017 salary to education initiatives in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia (as well as the three cities he's played in during his NFL career); in 2015, he launched a foundation to dig water wells for people in rural east Africa. Those are just a few of the many great, charitable things these players do — often to little fanfare.

They're just citizens using their fame, their money, and their platform to fix some of society's problems. For all the talk over people kneeling during the anthem, we don't recognize that it's these acts of kindness and desire to improve the world that makes them exceptionally patriotic.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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Pop Culture

'90s kids share movies that will 'take you back to a better time'

It was a magical time when animals played sports and yet somehow things were just simpler.

YouTube/Upworthy photo illustration

Honey, I shrunk the kid named Matilda while jamming in space!

Everyone knows that '90s movies just hit different. From sports movies to rom-coms to even horror, there was an undeniable innocence, without being overly simplistic or juvenile. They didn’t have nearly the amount of money going into production as they do today, but somehow managed to transport us to magical places.

Movies of the '90s are so iconic that there have been several attempts to reboot beloved titles. Which, let’s face it, tends to be a fool's errand at a cash grab. These movies are so timeless that simply viewing the original is more than fine.

Not sure which movie to start with? You’re in luck—a Reddit user by the name of YouBrokeMyTV asked ’90s kids to share movies that took them “back to a better time,” and because the internet can be a wonderful place, tons of people responded with some beloved classics.

These answers certainly don’t make a definitive list (there are just so, so many gems) but they're a fun glimpse into what made '90s cinema so special. A nostalgic romp through memory lane, if you will.

Enjoy these 14 titles that just might leave you jonesing for a rewatch:

1. "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"

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A perfect example of how '90s movies were silly, but smart at the same time. And oh so wholesome.

2. "The Sandlot"

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It taught us nothing about baseball, but everything about friendship, rooting for the underdog and (most important) how to make s’mores.

3. "Drop Dead Fred"

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Critics might have run this cult classic through the mud during its inception, but audiences fell in love with the bizarre charm of this story about a mischievous little girl and her anarchist imaginary friend. So take that, snotfaces!

4. "The Goonies"

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Everyone just wanted to set off an epic quest with their friends for pirate treasure after seeing this movie.

5. Tim Burton's "Batman"

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Before the superhero genre was the behemoth it is today, a quirky director and the dude who was best known for playing the creepy demon in "Beetlejuice" breathed new life into comic-book movies. Marvel might be the leader on creating stories with adult themes that are digestible for kids nowadays, but this DC film was the first of its kind. Plus, that soundtrack … forget about it.

6. "Hook"

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Pretty much any '90s film starring Robin Williams was an absolute gem, but this one in particular is timeless. His gift of balancing childlike humor with emotional gravitas lent itself so well to playing the now grown and cynical Peter Pan, who must learn to reclaim his joy (relatable, millennials?). It was a bang-a-rang-er, no question.

7. "Space Jam"

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It had Looney Tunes, it had aliens and it had Michael Jordan. That’s a winning combination.

8. "Matilda"

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I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that this movie helped a lot of kids make their way through difficult childhoods.

9. "The Parent Trap"

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Even '90s reboots were awesome. And how fun it is to see that Lisa Ann Walker—the actress who played Chessy the housekeeper—is not only yet again gracing the screens in NBC’s “Abbott Elementary,” but is also being revered as a style icon on TikTok for her ultra casual looks in the film. We all knew she was onto something with long button downs and shorts.

10. "The Land Before Time"

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No cartoon, not even “The Lion King,” was a better depiction of childhood grief. And yet, despite encapsulating tragedy, director Don Bluth still left viewers hopeful. The subsequent 14 (yes 14) sequels definitely pale in comparison to the original, but "The Land Before Time" continues to stand the test of time nonetheless.

11. "Richie Rich"

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The scene where they play tag on four-wheelers is simply iconic.

12. "Dunston Checks In"

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Man, the '90s were the golden age of animal-centered films. And not just monkeys either—we got sports playing golden retrievers and not one, but two movies starring talking pigs. What a time to be alive. These films were made before CGI had reached the levels it’s at today, and the authentic interactions between humans and creatures reached right through the screen.

13. "George of the Jungle"
george of the jungle, brendan faser

Watch out for the tree!!!

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Have I seen this movie at least 20 times? Probably. It doesn’t get any better than this in terms of silly action films with bird puppets. It’s crazy to think that this role would eventually lead Brendan Fraser to "The Mummy" franchise, turning him into a household name. Though his career has had some tragic ups and downs, we are all grateful for the glorious comeback he’s been having.

14. Anything involving Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
mary kate and ashley

Yes, they were professional detectives.

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Whether vacationing in London, Paris or Rome, whether playing magical witches or making a huge billboard so their father could find love … Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen offered zany, whimsical entertainment while wearing fun outfits. Sometimes, that’s all you need.