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Trump weighs in on Drew Brees apology amid national anthem controversy

No Comments Sports News

Sean Gardner/Getty ImagesBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC NEWS

(WASHINGTON) — “NO KNEELING,” President Donald Trump asserted on Friday in response to the latest round of NFL controversy.

Trump called out New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ most recent apology for comments he made on players who take a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality just days after George Floyd died.

“I am a big fan of Drew Brees. I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag,” Trump said in his tweet. “OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high … We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag – NO KNEELING!”

The president’s tweet came on the heels of Brees’ Wednesday comments in which he said that he will “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”

In the interview with Yahoo Finance, Brees explained that while he understands the racial discrimination players across the league have tried to highlight, he does not support taking a knee during pre-game ceremonies.

After widespread backlash from sports fans and black players, who make up 70% of NFL rosters, Brees issued a written apology followed by a lengthier post and video on Instagram.

“I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday,” Brees wrote Thursday in his first apology, posted alongside a photo of a black and white arm joining hands. “In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused … I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country.”

The 13-time Pro Bowler continued, “Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character.”

In the subsequent apology video, Brees said, “I just want you to see in my eyes how sorry I am for the comments I made yesterday.”

“Step-by-step you will see my heart for exactly what it is and the way everyone around me sees it,” the caption read. “I’m sorry it has taken this long to act and to participate in a meaningful way but I am your ally in this fight.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

“I’ve been surprised on both sides”: Mickey Guyton reflects on her white country peers’ response to racism

No Comments Country Music News

ABC/Image Group LA

Following the killing of 46-year-old black man George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, in Minneapolis, the past two weeks have brought a wave of protests and calls for justice on social media.

As one of the few black artists in country music, Mickey Guyton has been closely following the movement. Earlier this week, she shared her powerful new song, “Black Like Me,” which tells her story of growing up as a black woman in America. 

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Mickey reflects the responses she’s seen from other artists in her genre, and admits that some have surprised her by taking a strong stance against racism.

“There have been some artists I was not expecting to be downright saying ‘No.’ Morgan Wallen publicly said it on his page. I respect that,” she says, but adds that other acts have surprised her by how silent they’ve been on the issue.

“It’s sad that it’s scary for people to publicly denounce racism. I hurt for them, the fear that they’re feeling,” she adds. “So yes, I’ve been surprised. I’ve been surprised on both sides.”

Mickey points out that country artists often feel immense pressure to stay mute on controversial topics, citing the Dixie Chicks as an example of a group whose political opinions took a massive toll on their career.  Still, says Mickey, that fear is no excuse not to speak up on such an important issue. 

“There’s so much fear about being canceled by their fans, so I understand that fear. But we don’t want those fans anyway,” Mickey goes on to say. “Who wants racist fans? I certainly don’t.”

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

School infrastructure report raises questions about returning to classrooms

No Comments National News

recep-bg/iStockBY SOPHIE TATUM, ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) — A new report released Thursday reveals thousands of school buildings across the country could need critical repairs, raising more questions about what it will take for schools to ensure students can safely return to the classroom this fall.

According to the report by the Government Accountability Office, a national survey found that “about half (an estimated 54 percent) of public school districts need to update or replace multiple building systems or features in their schools.”

This includes an estimate of about 36,000 schools across the country that need to update or replace heating, ventilation and air condition systems, the report said. The House Education and Labor Committee said if the systems are not operating correctly, they would could fail to meet the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for safely reopening schools that closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“School building infrastructure is and must continue to be handled at the state and local levels. Secretary DeVos believes that every student deserves a safe and healthy learning environment,” Education Department spokesperson Angela Morabito said.

Ensuring ventilation works properly is part of the CDC’s K-12 guidance for reopening schools, in addition to increasing circulation of outdoor air “as much as possible,” through things like opening windows and doors.

Additionally, in “about half of the 55 schools GAO visited in six states, officials described HVAC-related problems, such as older systems that leaked and damaged flooring or ceiling tiles. If not addressed, such problems can lead to indoor air quality problems and mold, and in some cases caused schools to adjust schedules temporarily,” the report said.

Democratic Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, the chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, said this report “offers clear, irrefutable evidence that we must launch an urgent, nationwide effort to rebuild America’s schools.”

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, outdated and hazardous school buildings were undermining the quality of public education and putting students and educators at risk. Now, the pandemic is exacerbating the consequences of our failure to make necessary investments in school infrastructure,” Scott said.

“This report offers clear, irrefutable evidence that we must launch an urgent, nationwide effort to rebuild America’s schools,” he added. “As workers face record unemployment, there is no better time for a historic investment in school infrastructure that will make classrooms safer and get millions of people back to work.”

The report comes as school systems across the country grapple with what back-to-school next fall will look like.

ABC News previously reported that school districts are considering a variety of options, like staggered schedules to allow for more space between individuals in the classroom, or a hybrid method of some students continuing remote learning while others return for in-person instruction.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand to donate $100 million to organizations dedicated to racial equality

No Comments Sports News

Aurelien Meunier/Getty ImagesBy GOOD MORNING AMERICA

(NEW YORK) — Michael Jordan and his signature Jordan Brand will donate $100 million over the next decade to 10 organizations “dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice, and grater access to education,” according to a statement released by his spokeswoman, Estee Portnoy.

“Black lives matter,” Jordan and his colleagues at Jordan Brand stated, adding, “Until the ingrained racism that allows our country’s institutions to fail is completely eradicated, we will remain committed to protecting and improving the lives of Black people.”

“We represent a proud family that has overcome obstacles, fought against discrimination in communities worldwide and that works every day to erase the stain of racism and the damage of injustice,” the statement read. “It’s 2020, and our family now includes anyone who aspires to our way of life. Yet as much as things have changed, the worst remains the same.”

Jordan, 57, is notoriously private, but recently opened up about his life and career in the 10-episode docuseries, “The Last Dance,” which showcased the Chicago Bulls’ road to the 1998 championship.

His daughter, Jasmine Jordan, told “Good Morning America” last month that Jordan Brand is an important part of preserving her father’s legacy.

“It educates the younger generation as we continue to produce products, footwear, apparel, whatever it is for the younger generation,” Jasmine Jordan said. “It’s definitely an exciting aspect that we get to do and carry on, but as individuals we’re able to put our own spin on and keep it authentic so the next generation can ride the wave that we’ve been able to be a part of.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Tom Hanks, Michael B. Jordan, Chris Pine and more hail the grads Sunday with YouTube's 'Dear Class of 2020'

No Comments Entertainment News

iStock/sdominic(LOS ANGELES) — The class of 2020 has seen their real-life graduation ceremonies canceled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but really, would dozens of stars have shown up to their event without it? 

That’s the idea behind the YouTube Originals event Dear Class of 2020, an online, all-star commencement extravaganza now taking place Sunday, June 7 at 3 p.m. ET. The event, which will unite dozens of stars from the world of movies, music, and TV, was bumped a day out of respect of the memorial for George Floyd, which will happen Saturday.

Dear Class of 2020 will see this year’s graduating class honored by the casts of The Simpsons and HBO’s Euphoria, as well as by Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson, Michael B. Jordan, Chris Pine, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Michael B Jordan, Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Kerry Washington, and Jake Gyllenhaal, among many others. 

Katy Perry will also send her best wishes, as will Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. There also will be musical performances from Coldplay’s Chris Martin, and Lizzo.

Musicians who will make appearances include Billie Eilish, Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift, Snoop Dogg, and Justin Timberlake.

By Stephen Iervolino and Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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