Why more NFL players are protesting during the national anthem — in their own words.

When San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat on the bench during the national anthem before an August preseason game against Green Bay, he was the only one.

Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," the quarterback told NFL.com following the game.  


What started as a lone player's attempt to spark a conversation about police overreach and violence rapidly became the subject of national attention and debate, leaving many wondering: What would happen when the season began in earnest? Would the quarterback continue to sit alone?

In week one, Kaepernick's protest was joined by nearly a dozen players around the league.

Some, like Miami Dolphins running back Arian Foster, took a knee during the anthem. Others, like Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters, raised their fists in the air, echoing John Carlos and Tommie Smith's iconic protest from the 1968 Summer Olympics.

According to Robert Kelmko of Sports Illustrated's MMQB, over 70 current and former players are "discussing and debating" Kaepernick's act and possible next steps via text.

Some commentators — and even a few of their teammates — have criticized the protesters for disrespecting the flag and veterans.  But for many of the players showing solidarity, their message is too important to waste the moment.

Here's why they're doing it, in their own words:

Many spoke about their desire to use their position in the public eye to keep the conversation going about the role of police in communities of color.

A few team executives have criticized Kaepernick. But one owner — Miami Dolphins' Steve Ross — stood up for his players' right to speak their minds:

And the man who started it all? He'd rather do what critics are asking him to do. On one condition:

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

When the COVID-19 pandemic socially distanced the world and pushed off the 2020 Olympics, we knew the games weren't going to be the same. The fact that they're even happening this year is a miracle, but without spectators and the usual hustle and bustle surrounding the events, it definitely feels different.

But it's not just the games themselves that have changed. The coverage of the Olympics has changed as well, including the unexpected addition of un-expert, uncensored commentary from comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Snoop Dogg on NBC's Peacock.

In the topsy-turvy world we're currently living in, it's both a refreshing and hilarious addition to the Olympic lineup.

Just watch this clip of them narrating an equestrian event. (Language warning if you've got kiddos nearby. The first video is bleeped, but the others aren't.)

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