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Olympian John Carlos, who raised fist at ’68 Games, would ‘take a knee’

Nearly 50 years ago, it wasn’t a bent knee but a raised fist that shocked the nation.

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John Carlos, then a bronze medalist in the 200 meters during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, joined fellow American Olympian Tommie Smith in protesting the way blacks and others who were disenfranchised were treated in the United States.

They did so by raising their fists skyward in the Black Power salute.

It’s not unlike today’s controversy surrounding former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other professional athletes who have taken a knee during the national anthem. Kaepernick was protesting police killings of African-Americans.

President Donald Trump has blasted those National Football League players who take a knee. During a recent rally in Alabama for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Luther Strange, the president said NFL owners should respond by saying: “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!”

Trump and others say the players are showing disrespect for the flag, the country and the military.

Carlos said the gesture was for all human rights.

“We were tired of being second-class citizens,” said Carlos, 72. “We were tired of the living conditions, tired of drugs running through the neighborhood — they weren’t going through Beverly Hills and Malibu. They were going through Harlem and the South Side of Chicago. We were tired of the housing situation in terms of blacks getting decent housing, and we were tired of the police harassing black people.”

Smith could not be reached for comment. Peter Norman, of Australia, who won the silver, wanted to show his solidarity. He wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge. Norman faced scorn when he returned to Australia, which was also dealing with criticism for its treatment of Aboriginals. He died in 2006.

It was a turbulent time in the United States. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had been gunned down that April as he stood on the balcony of a Memphis hotel. His assassination was followed by riots and protests across the country. Opposition to the Vietnam War was growing.

Carlos, who now lives in Clayton County, Georgia, remembers that moment vividly and the firestorm that followed.

He said he and Smith had talked about a way to protest what was happening at home. That moment came while on the podium.

Carlos said people in the stadium had started to applaud. That stopped when he and Smith bowed their heads and raised their fists.

“There was a deafening silence,” he said. “Everybody was stunned. Then they started screaming. They were going to shove it down our throats.”

International Olympic Committee President Avery Brundage criticized the athletes’ actions, which he called “outrageous.”

According to an article in The New York Times, the two athletes were told “that they must leave the Olympic Village. Their credentials were also taken away, which made it mandatory for them to leave Mexico within 48 hours.”

It wasn’t any better when Carlos returned to the states, where he said he and his family went through hell.

There were threats. He was investigated by authorities. His children were targeted by faculty members once it became known Carlos was their father.

“Let me tell you something, when you make a statement for humanity, you become this sacrificial lamb,” said Carlos, who later played professional football. “Your life is already secondary to the image you want to leave. They could take my life, but they could never erase that image. Once it’s done, it’s done and you’ve got to live with it.”

The Rev. Timothy McDonald III, the senior pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, remembers that day well. He was a 14-year-old student and member of the Youth Black Panther Party in Brunswick, Georgia.

“It was the talk of the town,” McDonald said. “Did you see? Did you see? Yes, I saw.”

That moment “symbolized the kind of pride that was different than anything else,” he said. “The intersection of athletics and politics goes back a long way. That point in history sent a loud message to America — not just black America — but to all America that we’re here, we matter and we make a difference.”

Gold medalist Mel Pender Jr. was also on the U.S. team in 1968.

Pender, 79, who lives in Kennesaw, Georgia, roomed with Carlos.

He was in the military at the time, and while he didn’t participate in that protest, he understood the aim.

“Here we are representing our country, winning gold medals for America, and when we go home we don’t have the same privileges and opportunities as whites and it’s still that way,” he said. He considers the United States “one of the greatest countries in the world,” but he is bothered by the reaction to Kaepernick, who was trying to make a statement with a peaceful protest.

“This is America, but we have police brutality in this country and we have discrimination in this country,” said Pender, who co-authored a book, “Expression of Hope: The Mel Pender Story,” with his wife, Debbie. “I still want to see everybody live in harmony, but I have to wonder, will it ever happen?”

Today, Carlos is a staunch defender of those other athletes who are taking a knee during the anthem. He also has spoken out in support of Black Lives Matter.

He said he would “definitely” take a knee today. It’s not about a “piece of cloth, it’s about the social injustices in society and the inequities of black people in this country.”

He criticized Trump’s comments about those who are taking a knee. He said Trump ran a divisive campaign and has done little since he’s been in office to build unity.

“Donald Trump is playing with people’s lives,” he said. “It’s the same rhetoric he used during the campaign. As a black man, my kids can go out to play and not come home. A black woman can drive through Texas and not come home. White people don’t have to worry about that. Everything changes in time, but the oppression hasn’t changed.”

He said before Trump questions anyone’s patriotism, he wants to see his discharge papers from the military.

“I demand to see his son’s discharge papers from the military,” Carlos said. “I demand his daddy’s discharge papers.”

Carlos added: “People need to find their moral compass. You can’t be neutral anymore. You have to step up.”

Once you do, though, he said “The haters will come out to discredit you and lambaste you.”

Steelers's Villanueva has strong words about anthem, his portrayal in media

The Pittsburgh Steelers tried to make good after last week's national anthem fiasco.

All the players and coaches on the Steelers's sideline appeared to stand before Sunday’s game in Baltimore, while some Ravens players chose to take a knee in prayer before the anthem, but then stood up.

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Last week, former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva was the only Steeler who stood for the anthem and after Sunday's game, he had a lot to say.

Villanueva is delivering a strong message about the anthem and how he is portrayed by the media.

As Maurkice Pouncey promised earlier this week, the entire Steelers team stood together for the national anthem Sunday afternoon in Baltimore.

After the game, Villanueva said he's tired of having the cameras in his face all the time and he's pretty upset about the criticism aimed at coach Mike Tomlin, especially because the team would rather focus on football.

"To wake up in the morning and see the face of coach Tomlin and the face of a soldier pitted against each other is completely unacceptable from the media,” Villanueva said. “To use me as a tool to push agendas and to push a message is completely unacceptable."

The Ravens were greeted with a chorus of boos at home when some of the players took a knee before the anthem.

They were all standing by the time the anthem was played.

Asked about that, Villanueva said he respects every single player in the NFL and that everyone has their rights.

O.J. Simpson out on parole after 9 years in prison

O.J. Simpson is out on parole after serving nine years in prison for an armed robbery in Las Vegas, The Associated Press reports.

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WATCH: High school football team stands with police, veterans during national anthem

When the football team for Mascoutah High School in Illinois marched onto the field Friday night for their homecoming game with Triad High School, they had company: The team walked hand-in-hand with law enforcement officers, firefighters and veterans.

>> Click here to watch

>> Texas high school football players kicked off team for protesting during national anthem

Athletic Director Scott Battas came up with the idea but let the team’s captains make the final choice, the Belleville News-Democrat reports.

>> On Rare.us: This NFL legend thinks the league needs to install a rule to ban kneeling during national anthem

Senior Darius Cooley said the decision was unrelated to the protests in the NFL, explaining, “In high school, we play for each other. It’s not about the individuals or whose opinion is bigger. We all respect each other and recognize that everyone comes from a different perspective and have different opinions.”

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Coach Josh Lee echoed the sentiment, saying, “That’s not some huge political stand, and we’re not getting into people’s point of view. ... They just want to shed a positive light on people who do positive things in our community.”

>> See a photo here

>> Georgia high school football team runs onto field carrying American flags

Unfortunately for Mascoutah, their decision to bring the boys in blue onto the gridiron didn’t win them any favors with the gods of football; they ended up falling to Triad by a score of 24-7.

>> Watch another clip here

'SNL' premiere: Baldwin's Trump slams San Juan mayor, NFL protesters

"Saturday Night Live" is back – and the iconic comedy show doesn't appear to be giving President Donald Trump a free pass anytime soon.

The season 43 premiere kicked off with a fresh skewering of the president, starting with his response to the devastation in Puerto Rico and ensuing feud with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz.

>> Watch the sketch here

In the cold open, Melissa Villaseñor, playing Cruz, called Alec Baldwin's Trump, pleading for federal assistance. He promised to send aid by "Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest."

"Mr. President, that's not good enough," Villaseñor-as-Cruz replied.

"Well, you should've paid your bills," Baldwin's Trump fired back. "FEMA takes a few days unless you join FEMA Prime."

Baldwin-as-Trump said he wants to help Puerto Rico, "but we have to take care of America first."

"Wait, you do know we're a U.S. territory, don't you?" Villaseñor's Cruz asked.

Baldwin's Trump, mouth agape, hesitated before stammering, "I mean, I do, but not many know that, no."

He later hung up on her, saying, "Wow, that woman was so nasty." 

>> Watch a clip here

The sketch then tackled Trump's recent response to NFL players' national anthem protests.

"I'm a little embarrassed that I said it's a black-and-white issue," said Aidy Bryant, playing Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. "I should've said it's a black-versus-white issue."

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"It's disgraceful," Baldwin's Trump responded. "You know, I actually love football. I could've played. People say I remind them of an NFL player because I'm combative, I like to win and I might have a degenerative brain disease."

>> See the clip here

The cold open also took aim at Attorney General Jeff Sessions (Kate McKinnon), who popped up in the Oval Office and hopped into the president's lap to get back on his good side.

"I might look adorable, but I'm frightening," McKinnon's Sessions said.

>> See the GIF here

Much to McKinnon-as-Sessions' dismay, Trump cut their chat short for dinner with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (Alex Moffat).

"Sir, are you really leaving with him?" McKinnon's Sessions asked.

"I told you, I'm nothing if not loyal," Baldwin's Trump replied. "Come over here, Chuck. We're both New Yorkers, we both enjoy a good slice, we never go to Times Square and we love saying ..."

McKinnon and Moffat joined Baldwin to finish the sentence: "Live from New York, it's Saturday night!"

Joe Tiller, former Purdue football coach, dies at 74

Former Purdue football coach Joe Tiller died Saturday. He was 74.

Tiller's death was announced on the Purdue football program’s Twitter account.

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Tiller set the record for most wins in the school's football program. He coached the Boilermakers from 1997 to 2008, where his overwall record was 87-62, ESPN reported. Tiller began his head coaching career at Wyoming. 

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees released a statement to offer his condolences. Brees attended Purdue from 1997-2000 and led the Boilermakers to a Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl appearance during the 2000 season, according to the quarterback’s official website.

High school football player ejected after body-slamming opponent

A high school football player was ejected Friday night after he body-slammed a player from the opposing team to the ground.

A video clip that captured the wrestling move was posted on Twitter.

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The game was between Gibbs High School and Sevier County. After a play, a player from Sevier County picked up a Gibbs player and body-slammed him to the ground.

The player who ended up on the ground was not injured, the Knoxville News-Sentinel reported.

The player who committed the infraction was ejected and by rule, will have to sit out the next game.

Sevier County's coach told the Knoxville News-Sentinel that his player lost his composure, and that the game had been physical on both sides.

Gibbs came away with the victory, beating Sevier County 42-24

Broncos will ‘stand together’ before Sunday’s NFL game

The NFL’s Denver Broncos announced that team members and coaches would stand together before Sunday’s game in respect for the national anthem, the country and its veterans, Fox News reported Saturday. The Broncos will be hosting the Oakland Raiders in a nationally televised game on CBS.

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In a joint statement that also was posted to the team’s Twitter account, the 52-member squad said its actions last week were "in no way a protest of the military, the flag or those who keep us safe."

The statement comes a few days after Broncos executive John Elway -- who led Denver to victory in Super Bowl XXXII in January 1998 -- said he believes in standing for the anthem.

"Take the politics out of football," Elway said.

The team's statement also explained its demonstrations from the past week:

"Last week, members of our team joined their brothers around the NFL in a powerful display of unity. As controversial as it appeared, we needed to show our collective strength and resolve," the Broncos said.

The team said its locker room is very diverse, but that being members of the same squad unite them as a team.

"No matter how divisive some comments and issues can be, nothing should get in the way of that," the team said, appearing to reference President Donald Trump's comments in Alabama last week about NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem. The president suggested that players who took a knee should be fired from their teams, Fox News reported.

Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller, who helped lead the team's demonstrations last week, said after that game that Trump "assaulted" their freedom of speech and that "we had to do something."

Photo circulating of Seahawks' Michael Bennett burning flag is fake

A photo circulating online of Seattle Seahawks player Michael Bennett burning an American flag is fake.

The original photo of Bennett shows him dancing in the locker room after a victory. 

The original photo was shared by the Seattle Seahawks over Twitter on Jan. 3, 2016. The photo is credited to Rod Mar on the team's website.

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A photoshopped version of the photograph is circulating online and was posted to the “Vets for Trump” Facebook page where it has garnered over 6,000 shares. It was also shared to the KIRO 7 News Facebook page. The altered photo has since been removed from Facebook, but was captured in other social media posts.

FAKE PHOTO:

REAL PHOTO:

The fake photo was posted after a Sunday of NFL protests during football games. 

The Seattle Seahawks were among the protesters; the team stayed in the locker room during the anthem before their game. 

The Seahawks put out a statement in the afternoon before the game, saying they would not participate.

"As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem," the statement reads. "We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms."Earlier this week, Bennett shook hands with military veterans outside the team’s practice space, as photos on social media showed. 

Dayna Mink Coats wrote on Facebook that when driving near the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton on Tuesday, she saw a parked car in the middle of the road. 

“I thought it might be a car accident so I snapped a picture. As I got closer I realized it was group of military veterans who had assembled in front of the VMAC,” Coats wrote. “Mostly all Seniors who had probably seen the battlefield firsthand. They were proudly wearing their veteran’s hats, jackets and some carried American flags. The car in the middle of the road … it was Michael Bennett’s.” 

Coats said as she drove by the veterans and Bennett shaking hands, she became emotional. So she pulled over in tears.

Protesters unfurl ‘Stop Killing Us’ banner at Cardinals game

Protesters inside St. Louis’ Busch Stadium unfurled a banner at the Cardinals-Brewers game Friday night with a rendition of the team mascot and the words, "Stop Killing Us," th,Post-Dispatch reported.

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Protesters were upset with the acquittal of a white former police officer in the death of a black man two weeks ago, ESPN reported. The banner was hung over the upper deck railing in left field.

A video posted on Facebook showed a group of demonstrators high above the playing field holding a banner and chanting, “No Justice. No Baseball” and “You can’t stop the revolution,” Reuters reported.

By 9:30 p.m., the group had been ushered out of the stadium by police, the Post-Dispatch reported. They joined almost 200 gathered at Kiener Plaza, with police watching from nearby. From there, the protesters marched to Broadway and Walnut, where a confrontation took place with police in riot gear. As the game let out close to 10 p.m., some of the game attendees argued with some of the protesters. 

The protests are the latest sparked by a not-guilty verdict in the murder trial of former St. Louis patrolman Jason Stockley on Sept. 15, the Post-Dispatch reported. Stockley, who is white, shot and killed drug suspect Anthony Lamar Smith, who was black, in 2011, after a high-speed chase in which Stockley was recorded saying he intended to kill him, the Post-Dispatch reported.

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