Eagles’ Victory Proves That Activism Is Not A Distraction

It’s time to put that falsehood to rest.

Malcolm Jenkins. Photo by Chris Szagola/Associated Press.

If nothing else, the Philadelphia Eagles’ thrilling and unexpected 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII should put to rest one hoary NFL trope: that political activism is a hindrance to winning.


The idea that any behavior or speech from a player that isn’t narrowly limited to football itself is a “distraction” to be eliminated altogether has been a longstanding NFL shibboleth. Coaches and NFL media alike have employed the term in reference to a wide range of off-limit topics — like, say, protests during the national anthem — with the potential to throw a wrench into the military-like discipline needed for success on the field.

But during the 2017 season, a slew of prominent Eagles players advocated for social justice issues … and it didn’t cause the locker room to fracture. Far from it.

While a couple of players compartmentalized the activist efforts of their teammates, the vast majority praised the courage of players like safety Malcolm Jenkins and defensive end Chris Long. “What Malcolm and Chris preached on a national level they brought right here into this locker room in their example,” assistant coach and former Eagles running back Duce Staley told SB Nation, praising their leadership skills. “We are all better for it.”

Jenkins, whom The Ringer described as the team’s “undisputed leader, its soul, and its conscience,” has been raising a fist in protest during the national anthem since the 2016 season.

He and other Eagles were joined in the preseason by Long, becoming the first white player to join the protests against state-sanctioned violence and systemic racism. “I think it’s a good time for people that look like me to be here for people that are fighting for equality,” Long told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

When white supremacists rallied in Long’s hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, the 10-year NFL veteran was enraged. “I think it’s unfortunate that it happened in my hometown, but it’s unfortunate more so that it exists in America,” Long said. “White supremacy, there’s no place for it.”

But he chose to channel that anger, donating the salary he earned during the final 10 weeks of the season to educational charities in Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Boston, after initially using the first six game checks to create scholarships in Charlottesville.

Similarly, Long partnered with offensive lineman Lane Johnson during the playoffs, selling underdog-themed t-shirts and giving the profits to needy school districts in Philadelphia. “They need all the resources they can get, because they don’t have a whole lot,” Johnson told the New York Daily News. “Especially coming where I come from (Texas) and seeing what these kids have, they need all the help they can get.”

Jenkins also was a leading figure in the Players Coalition, which lobbied the NFL to contribute funds to social justice issues and organizations supported by the players — though serious questions remain as to how the NFL will dole out the $89 million it has promised and who, exactly, will retain control of those dollars.

Jenkins, Long, and wide receiver Torrey Smith also lobbied Congress to demand changes to the criminal justice system and convinced the NFL to take the rare step of supporting their preferred legislation. Jenkins has also backed the Clean Slate Act, which would seal the records for the majority of those convicted of misdemeanors after 10 years.

For his efforts, Jenkins was named a finalist for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which honors volunteer and charitable efforts. (J.J. Watt received the award on Feb. 3.)

Naturally, Jenkins, Long, and Smith have already announced that they won’t be visiting the White House should the team receive an invitation from Donald Trump. As Super Bowl champions and vanquishers of Trump’s favorite team, they’ve earned that right.

Hopefully, the falsehood that activism deters winning has been vanquished from the League as well. The players have earned it.

Sports
via Smithfly.com

"Seventy percent of the Earth is covered with water, now you camp on it!" proudly declares Smithfly on the website for its new camping boat — the Shoal Tent.

Why have we waited so long for camping equipment that actually lets us sleep on the water? Because it's an awful idea, that's why.

"The world is your waterbed," Smithfly says on its site. But the big difference is that no one has ever had to worry about falling asleep and then drowning on their waterbed.

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While it is possible that one could wade into the water, unzip the tent, have a pleasant slumber, and wake up in the morning feeling safe and refreshed, there are countless things that could go terribly wrong.

The tent could float down the river and you wake up in the middle of nowhere.

You could have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

This guy.

It could spring a leak and you could drown while wrapped up in eight feet of heavy nylon.

A strong current could tip the tent-boat over.

There isn't any way to steer the darn thing.

This guy.

Mashable shared a charming video of the tent on Twitter and it was greeted with a chorus of people sharing the many ways one could die while staying the night in the Shoal Tent.

Oh yeah, it's expensive, too.

Even though the general public seems to think the Shoal Tent is a terrible idea, according to the Smithfly's website, it's currently sold out due to "popular demand" and it will be "available in 6-8 weeks." Oh, and did we mention it costs $1,999?

Lifestyle
via zoezimmm / Imgur

There are few more perniciously dangerous conspiracy theories being shared online than the idea that vaccines cause autism.

This has led to a decline in Americans vaccinating their children, resulting in a massive increase in measles. This year has already seen over 1,200 cases of measles, a disease that was eradicated in the U.S. nearly 20 years ago.

A 2015 Pew Research study found that 83% of Americans think the measles vaccine is safe, while 9% think it's not. Another 7% are not sure. But when you look at the polls that include parents of minors, the numbers get worse, 13% believe that the measles vaccine is unsafe.

There is zero truth to the idea that vaccines cause autism. In fact, a recent study of over 650,000 children found there was no link whatsoever.

RELATED: A new study of over 650,000 children finds — once again — that vaccines don't cause autism

A great example of the lack of critical thinking shown by anti-vaxxers was a recent exchange on Facebook shared to Imgur by zoezimmm.

A parent named Kenleigh at a school in New Mexico shared a photo of a sign at reads: "Children will not be enrolled unless an immunization record is presented and immunizations are up-to-date."

This angered a Facebook user who went on a senseless tirade against vaccinations.

"That's fine, I'll just homeschool my kids," she wrote. At least they won't have to worry about getting shot up in school or being bullied, or being beat up / raped by the teachers!"

To defend her anti-vaccination argument, she used a factually incorrect claim that Amish people don't vaccinate their children. She also incorrectly claimed that the MMR vaccine is ineffective and used anecdotal evidence from her and her father to claim that vaccinations are unnecessary.

She also argued that "every human in the world is entitled to their own opinion." Which is true, but doesn't mean that wildly incorrect assumptions about health should be tolerated.

She concluded her argument with a point that proves she doesn't care about facts: "It doesn't matter what you say is not going to change my mind."

RELATED: 12 medical professionals shared their most memorable anti-vaxxer stories and you won't stop face-palming

While the anti-vaxxer was incorrect in her points, it must also be pointed out that some of the people who argued with her on Facebook were rude. That should never be tolerated in this type of discourse, but unfortunately, that's the world of social media.

Here's the entire exchange:

via zoezimmm / imgur


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The post received a ton of responses on imgur. Here are just a few:

"'In my opinion...' 'I believe...' That's not how facts work."

"You're entitled to your opinion. And everyone else is entitled to call you a dumbass."

"'What I do with my children is no concern to you at all.' Most of the time, true. When your kid might give mine polio, not true."

"If my child can't bring peanut butter, your child shouldn't bring preventable diseases."

It's important to call out people who spread dangerous views, especially how they pertain to health, on social media. But people should do so with respect and civility.

Health

He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

He risked his life to leave a "historical record of our martyrdom."

via Yad Vashem and Archive of Modern Conflict, 2007

In September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. By April 1940, the gates closed on the Lodz Ghetto, the second largest in the country after Warsaw.

Throughout the war, over 210,000 people would be imprisoned in Lodz.

Among those held captive was Henryk Ross. He was a Jewish sports photographer before the Nazi invasion and worked for the the ghetto's Department of Statistics during the war. As part of his official job, he took identification photos of the prisoners and propaganda shots of Lodz' textile and leather factories.

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via Imgur

Every few years there's something that goes mega viral because people can't decide what it is.

There was the famous "is it blue and black, or white and gold" dress?

There was the audio recording that said either "yanny" or "Laurel."

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Rochester NY Airport Security passing insulting notes to travelers caught on tape www.youtube.com

Neil Strassner was just passing through airport security, something he does on a weekly basis as part of his job. That's when a contract airport security employee handed him a small piece of folded cardboard. Strassner, 40, took the paper and continued on his way. He only paused when he heard the security employee shouting back at him, "You going to open the note?"

When he unfolded the small piece of paper, Strassner was greeted with an unprompted insult. "You ugly!!!"

According to Strassner, and in newly released CCTV of the incident, the woman who handed him the note began laughing loudly.

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