September 25, 2017

Players in all 14 of Sunday's National Football League games and most NFL team owners registered their objections Sunday to President Trump's two days of comments and tweets about NFL players who protest racism and police violence during the pregame national anthem. Dozens of players knelt but virtually all of them locked arms during the national anthem in solidarity against Trump's comments in Alabama on Friday night that owners should fire "son of a bitch" players who declined to stand during the anthem. At least three owners joined their teams on the field during the anthem, two singers took a knee, and the Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, and all but one Pittsburgh Steeler stayed in their locker rooms until after the anthem was finished.

In a long series of tweets, Trump portrayed the protests begun by unsigned former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as against the American flag, but even NFL players, coaches, and commentators who disagree with kneeling during the anthem — and many of them do — recognized the protests as about being against racial injustice and the mistreatment of minorities. On Fox Sports, for example, Terry Bradshaw said the players were exercising their constitutional rights, adding, "not sure if our president understands those rights, that every American has the right to speak out and also to protest."

Sunday's displays of protest were an unprecedented rebuke and show of solidarity, in a league with enforced conformity and short contracts, though Trump seemed fine with one form of protest against him.

Some of the fans booed the players who knelt on Sunday. But all but two team owners — Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson — issued statements supporting their players or criticizing Trump. Most surprisingly, Patriots owner Bob Kraft, a friend of Trump's and generous political donor, said he was "deeply disappointed" by Trump's comments. Miami Dophins safety Michael Thomas had a more personal response. Peter Weber

5:39 p.m.

President Trump and Boris Johnson, the United Kingdom's frontrunner to replace outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, see eye to eye on some things, but that doesn't mean Johnson would follow Trump into battle. At least not blindly.

During a debate for party leadership, Johnson and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt were both asked if they would support U.S. strikes against Iran, considering the high tensions between the two powers. Both candidates said they would not.

"Diplomacy must be the best way forward," Johnson said. Hunt also expressed concern that conflict could break out accidentally.

That wasn't the only Trump-related question the two candidates answered, however.

Trump's tweets telling Democratic congresswomen to go back to the "broken and crime infested places from which they came" reverberated across the globe, prompting Johnson and Hunt to address them during the debate. The two were again largely in agreement on the matter, with the former calling Trump's comments "unacceptable" and the latter deeming them "totally offensive." Despite the criticism, though, they both hedged on calling the tweets racist. Tim O'Donnell

Tim O'Donnell

5:36 p.m.

New York City theatergoers aren't getting stubbed — er, snubbed — after this weekend's blackout.

On Saturday, the lights literally went out on Broadway, with a power outage causing several New York City theaters to cancel their nightly performances. That cost ticket seller StubHub more $500,000 under their policy that guarantees refunds for canceled shows, Billboard reports via a StubHub press release.

A solid 30 blocks of Manhattan's west side lost power at 6:47 p.m. Saturday, and some areas didn't have it restored until midnight. Yet even as restaurants, subways, and theaters emptied out, some performers took their songs to the streets, putting on impromptu show for anyone near Broadway.

StubHub's user policy says that it'll refund any ticket costs and fees if a show is canceled, and will let customers know if their show is rescheduled. That's the case for Jennifer Lopez's Madison Square Garden show that was rebooked for Monday, and Dave Chapelle's solo Broadway show rescheduled for this coming Sunday.

That $500,000 total doesn't even count event tickets sold by other companies, or losses of revenue for businesses that couldn't operate without power. Saturday's blackout came exactly 42 years after a blackout crippled the city for 25 hours, sparking a surge of looting and arson at a cost of $1.2 billion in 2017 dollars. There's no official estimate for losses sustained Saturday, though it looks like customers who saw a Broadway show taken to the streets got their entertainment for free. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:41 p.m.

President Trump needed to remind himself to shower Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in falsities.

Trump tweeted a racist attack on Omar and three other Democratic congressmembers on Sunday, suggesting they "go back and help fix" the "countries" they came from. And in doubling down on that attack Monday, Trump falsely accused Omar of "speaking about how wonderful Al Qaeda is," despite Omar having no ties to the terrorist group and Trump having no idea how to spell it.

During his Monday press conference, Trump said he didn't think his tweets attacking the freshmen Democrats were racist "at all" before repeatedly suggesting Omar's "statements about al Qaeda" were laudatory in some way. Omar has angered Republicans with some of her tweets, but she's never praised al Qaeda. The Washington Post's Jabin Botsford later shared these photos he captured at the conference, which show that Trump's notes were covered in black marker scribbles reminding him to bring up the mysterious "alcaida" and the even vaguer "some people."

While Trump has continued to defend his Sunday tweets, GOP lawmakers have been slow and even reluctant to react. The so-called "squad" of Omar and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) meanwhile scheduled a press conference for 5 p.m. ET Monday to respond. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:35 p.m.

Morale is low at Customs and Border Protection, Politico reports, and Border Patrol agents are apparently none too thrilled with President Trump.

In a deep dive published on Monday, Politico detailed the dysfunction that has plagued the Border Patrol for years. There was reportedly hope that a White House led by Trump, who ran a 2016 presidential campaign centered on being tough on the southern border, would give the agency its time in the sun.

Turns out, two years in, that's not the case. Workforce morale is reportedly terrible, as it always has been, and it's been difficult both to recruit new members and retain old ones. And, despite the president's promises, the Patrol has made no progress toward hiring 5,000 new agents. In fact, the Trump-era Border Patrol is actually smaller than it was during the Obama years. Their pilot ranks are especially depleted; since Trump took office, the agency has reportedly been unable to meet four out of five requests for helicopter assistance.

That's seemingly doubly disappointing for those in the agency now, though, considering the high expectations for Trump.

"The results haven't held up to the hope," said one former Border Patrol union official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity. "The agents thought they were going to be the belles at the ball [under the Trump administration]. Trump is not delivering." Read more at Politico. Tim O'Donnell

3:45 p.m.

Game of Thrones and Veep should come out of Tuesday's Emmy nominations announcement ready to dominate this fall.

The two HBO series that ended in recent months are already favorites to win in the top categories of Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Comedy Series respectively at September's show. But experts on the awards website Gold Derby also see Better Call Saul, Killing Eve, Ozark, Pose, Succession, and This Is Us as series likely to join Game of Thrones in the drama category, while the comedy category should be rounded out by The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Barry, as well as Fleabag, GLOW, The Good Place, The Kominsky Method, and possibly Russian Doll.

Fleabag may have been snubbed during its first season, but star Phoebe Waller-Bridge is thought to have a shot at a lead actress in a comedy series nod, although Veep's Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a shoo-in to win, with Russian Doll's Natasha Lyonne also potentially joining her. Jim Carrey, Michael Douglas, and Don Cheadle may also join past nominees like Barry's Bill Hader in the lead comedy actor category, and Jim Parsons could receive recognition for The Big Bang Theory's last season.

On the drama side, Thrones' Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke should be nominated in the lead actor categories after previously being snubbed, although some experts, including those at Vanity Fair, predict Harington will be left out in the Winterfell cold again as Succession's Brian Cox, Pose's Billy Porter, and Bodyguard's Richard Madden instead get nods.

Still, the Thrones cast should fare well overall, and some prognosticators believe Sophie Turner will score a nod in the supporting actress category alongside repeat nominees from the series. The show isn't expected to take much of a hit despite the divisive nature of its final season, but we'll get a better sense of its reception among voters when the nominations' are unveiled on July 16. Brendan Morrow

3:25 p.m.

Sen. Mitt Romney's (R-Utah) has thoughts on President Trump's tweets — after the equivalent of a few commercial breaks.

Trump tweeted a racist attack on four Democratic congressmembers on Sunday, which was met with quick condemnation from Democrats and slower, more tepid condemnation from some Republican lawmakers. Romney joined the fray Monday and told NBC10 Boston that he felt "a number of these new members of Congress have views that are not consistent with my experience and not consistent with building a strong America."

But of course, readers were itching for more from the former GOP presidential nominee, who's been a frequent spurn to the president since he entered office this year. So NBC10 Boston's Alison King tweeted out this quote and cliffhanger.

Outrage promptly ensued over the traditional local "tonight at five" hook. But after a brutal 15 minutes, King obliged and tweeted out Romney's response to the question of racism a few hours early. Spoiler alert: It was a big nothingburger. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:01 p.m.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) wants to shake up the current state of U.S. labor law, which often overlooks a crucial part of the country's workforce.

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate announced on Monday that she is introducing the National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, a first-of-its-kind piece of legislation that, if passed, would provide legal protections and benefits to millions of people who work as nannies, house cleaners, and home care workers, who are often immigrants and women of color. Currently, these professions have few federal protections and benefit guarantees.

"The courageous working-class women, women of color, and immigrant women who are demanding their rights today are unwilling to be excluded any longer," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who is co-sponsoring the bill, said. "When domestic workers win everyone wins."

The protections and benefits — such as sick days and fair scheduling — would reportedly be enforced through grants to organizations that represent domestic workers. Additionally, the bill would address issues like health care, retirement, and workplace sexual harassment and discrimination.

However, the bill's ultimate fate might be to serve as method of changing the debate around labor laws. The National Domestic Workers Alliance reportedly does not expect it to pass on the first try because of the majority-Republican Senate.

The bill reportedly received input from domestic workers for the last two years. Read more at Fast Company. Tim O'Donnell

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