NFL notes, college admissions

Staff & Wire Reports

FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers' Colin Kaepernick kneels during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle. Kaepernick has a new deal with Nike, even though the NFL does not want him. Kaepernick’s attorney, Mark Geragos, made the announcement on Twitter, calling the former 49ers quarterback an “All American Icon” and crediting attorney Ben Meiselas for getting the deal done. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers' Colin Kaepernick kneels during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle. Kaepernick has a new deal with Nike, even though the NFL does not want him. Kaepernick’s attorney, Mark Geragos, made the announcement on Twitter, calling the former 49ers quarterback an “All American Icon” and crediting attorney Ben Meiselas for getting the deal done. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Sam’s Club: Rookie Darnold to start at QB for Jets


Monday, September 3

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Todd Bowles finally revealed the big decision that everyone expected.

Sam Darnold will start at quarterback in the New York Jets’ season-opening game at Detroit next Monday night.

The 21-year-old Darnold will also make some NFL history by becoming the youngest quarterback to start in Week 1 since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. At 21 years and 97 days, the rookie surpasses Drew Bledsoe (21-203), who held the distinction since starting for New England in 1993.

“Sam had a good preseason,” Bowles said Monday while making the announcement. “We weren’t holding him back, and we weren’t rushing him at the same time. He still has some things to learn, but it was (his) poise in the pocket and the way he grasped the offense coming in right away. … He gives us a very good chance to win.”

The announcement came as no surprise as the rookie was solid while starting the Jets’ second and third preseason games. New York traded Teddy Bridgewater to New Orleans last week , and Darnold then sat out the preseason finale at Philadelphia — clear signals the No. 3 overall draft pick would be under center against the Lions.

“For me, I’ve always been kind of a calm person and a guy who just goes out there and tries to do my job to the highest ability I can,” Darnold said before Bowles made the decision official. “If I get that opportunity to play, I’m going to play to the best of my ability.”

Darnold was given every opportunity to win the job in a competition with Bridgewater and incumbent Josh McCown, and he didn’t disappoint. He went 29 of 45 for 244 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in the preseason. Even more impressive to Bowles and the coaching staff was Darnold’s ability to quickly digest the playbook and not repeat mistakes.

Still, Bowles declined to make his decision official until seven days before the opener.

“Sam’s got feet to get himself out of trouble, probably, and he’s got a good pocket feel,” Bowles said. “He’s probably a little quicker and a step quicker than Josh at this point. Josh obviously is smarter, playing in the league longer, but Sam picks things up very well also. But it’s good to have a quarterback that can throw and move his feet.”

Darnold will not be the youngest quarterback to start in NFL history, though. That’s still Tommy Maddox, who was under center for Denver at 21 years, 81 days old in Week 12 of the 1992 season.

But Darnold will get a chance to make an early impact on a team that has been searching for a consistently productive franchise quarterback since the days of Broadway Joe.

Darnold will be the 31st quarterback to start a game since Joe Namath’s last game with the franchise in 1976. Richard Todd, Ken O’Brien, Chad Pennington and Mark Sanchez certainly had their moments, but none was able to sustain success or keep a frustrated fan base energized and hopeful over a long period.

The Jets hope Darnold ends that drought.

Oh, and then there’s the Super Bowl, where the franchise hasn’t been since Joe Namath famously delivered on his guarantee in 1969.

“Whether I play this year, next year or the year after that,” Darnold said, “I know that we’re going to win football games. It’s going to fun for a long time here in New York.”

First things first, though: Darnold needs to get ready for the Lions. The former USC star will have a baptism by fire with three games in 11 days. The Jets play their home opener on Sept. 16 against Miami, followed by a Thursday night game at Cleveland four days later.

Bowles and his coaching staff clearly believe Darnold will be able to handle the quick turnaround.

Shortly before meeting with the media, Bowles passed reporters in the hallway as they left the locker room. The coach was going in to tell both Darnold and McCown of his decision after meeting with his staff.

“They both were good,” Bowles said. “They’re both professionals.”

The youngster’s mental approach to the game has impressed NFL teams since he started playing in college. Despite starting just 24 games at USC, Darnold displayed the all-around potential of an elite starting QB. That was a major reason the Jets traded up three spots to No. 3 overall, hoping Darnold would fall to them.

After Cleveland took Baker Mayfield first and the Giants went with Saquon Barkley at No. 2, the Jets had their guy.

Darnold was impressive in the offseason and raised the Jets’ hope that he could progress quickly enough to start right away. After a three-day holdout at the start of training camp to settle his rookie contract, Darnold returned to the team and practiced immediately while showing only minor signs of being rusty.

Just a few weeks later, it was clear that Darnold would be leading the franchise when the regular season kicked off.

Of the five first-round QBs from this year’s draft, Darnold is the only starter for the opener. Mayfield, Josh Allen (Buffalo), Josh Rosen (Arizona) and Lamar Jackson (Baltimore) will be backups.

“I’ve had a ton of fun,” Darnold said of the past several weeks. “I keep saying it, but getting paid to play a sport that I love — and not having to go to class is pretty cool, too. Nah, it’s fun to be able to play this sport for a living and play with some really cool dudes.”

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Zach Ertz Making Every Reception Count for Charity this Season

Proceeds to Benefit ‘City of Love Fund’

September 5, 2018 (Philadelphia, PA) – Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz has launched the ‘Catches for the Community’ fundraising campaign on Pledge It ( With every catch in the 2018 regular season, Zach and his fans will raise funds for the Ertz Family Foundation “City of Love Fund,” a grant-making program that will support local Philadelphia and surrounding area charities that align with the foundation’s three pillars of service areas: youth sports, education and family.

Zach and Julie Ertz are kicking off the campaign by donating $100 per catch. The ‘Catches for the Community’ campaign is currently open and begins with the first game of the regular season on Thursday, September 6th when the Eagles welcome the Atlanta Falcons. “There is no better fan in all of sports than our fans. We are excited to see all the work we can do together to make sure that my catches this season make a difference in our communities,” states Zach Ertz.

Zach and Julie launched the Ertz Family Foundation on July 21, 2018 at a gala in Northern California. The event raised more than $200,000 for the foundation, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Mission of Hope – Haiti, College Is Real, and Friends of Kensington High School charities.

Fans can match Zach and Julie’s pledge, make a pledge of any amount for every catch that Zach has throughout the regular season, or make a one-time donation on the Pledge It website. Anyone whose total pledge or donation equals $50 or more will be entered to win two tickets to a 2019 Eagles game and a signed Zach Ertz jersey. Fans also have the opportunity to create a fundraising team for the campaign.

To sign up, make a one-time donation or to create a fundraising team, please visit

About the Ertz Family Foundation

The Ertz Family Foundation is a fiscally-sponsored project at Impact Philanthropy Group, a nonprofit corporation with federal tax-exempt status as a public charity under IRS Section 501(c)(3). The Ertz Family Foundation works to empower others by sharing faith, learning through sports and advancing education to build supportive communities. Visit the website at and follow on Twitter @ErtzFoundation and Instagram @ErtzFamilyFoundation.

About Pledge It: PLEDGE IT is a free online fundraising platform that empowers teams and athletes at any level for all sports to raise money based on their athletic performance. Fans can pledge any dollar amount for every touchdown, run, or point scored to benefit their team or favorite cause. Pledge It has been featured on ESPN, Ellen DeGeneres Show, USA TODAY, Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports, and MSNBC. For more information about Pledge It, visit

Kaepernick has new deal with Nike though he’s not in NFL


AP Pro Football Writer

Tuesday, September 4

Colin Kaepernick has a new deal with Nike, even without having a job in the NFL.

Kaepernick’s attorney, Mark Geragos, made the announcement on Twitter, calling the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback an “All American Icon” and crediting attorney Ben Meiselas for getting the deal done. Kaepernick also posted a Nike ad featuring his face and wrote: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. (Hashtag) JustDoIt”

Kaepernick already had a deal with Nike that was set to expire, but it was renegotiated into a multi-year deal to make him one of the faces of Nike’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign, according to a person familiar with the contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Nike hasn’t officially announced the contract.

The source says Nike will feature Kaepernick on several platforms, including billboards, television commercials and online ads. Nike also will create an apparel line for Kaepernick and contribute to his Know Your Rights charity. The deal puts Kaepernick in the top bracket of NFL players with Nike.

The NFL and Nike extended their partnership in March to run through 2028. Nike provides all NFL teams with game-day uniforms and sideline apparel that bears the swoosh logo.

Last week, Kaepernick scored a legal victory in his grievance against the NFL and its 32 teams when an arbitrator denied the league’s request to throw out the quarterback’s claims that owners conspired to keep him out of the league because of his protests of social injustice.

Kaepernick contends the owners violated their collective bargaining agreement with players by conspiring to keep him off teams. His case hinges on whether owners worked together rather than decided individually to not sign Kaepernick.

A similar grievance is still pending by former 49ers teammate Eric Reid, a Pro Bowl safety who joined in the protests.

On Friday night, Kaepernick and Reid, also now out of the league, were each given huge ovations when they were introduced and shown on the big screen during a match between Serena and Venus Williams at the U.S. Open.

Kaepernick began a wave of protests by NFL players two seasons ago, kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality. The protests have grown into one of the most polarizing issues in sports, with President Donald Trump loudly urging the league to suspend or fire players who demonstrate during the anthem.

Meanwhile, the league and players union still haven’t resolved whether players will be punished this season if they choose to kneel or demonstrate during the national anthem. Owners approved a policy requiring players to stand if they are on the sideline during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” allowing them to stay off the field if they wish.

But the league and union put that on hold after the Miami Dolphins faced backlash for classifying the protests as conduct potentially detrimental to the team — putting players at risk of fines or suspensions.

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The Conversation

Black student activists face penalty in college admissions

September 5, 2018


Ted Thornhill

Assistant Professor of Sociology, Florida Gulf Coast University

Disclosure statement

Ted Thornhill is affiliated with the American Sociological Association and the Midwest Sociological Society.

Back when I taught at a predominantly white, selective liberal arts college, I came across a book called “Acting White? Rethinking Race in ‘Post-Racial’ America.”

In the book, legal scholars Devon Carbado and Mitu Gulati argue that in the “post-racial” era, white-controlled organizations prefer to hire “‘good blacks’ who will think of themselves as people first and black people second.”

“They will neither ‘play the race card’ nor generate racial antagonism or tensions in the workplace,” the book contends. “They will not let white people feel guilty about being white; and they will work hard to assimilate themselves into the firm’s culture.”

This lets an employer realize the benefits of diversity without having to deal with issues of race, Carbado and Gulati argue.

Their critique made me wonder: Do America’s colleges and universities act the same way toward black students in the admissions process?

Based on a recent nationwide study that I conducted, the answer is: yes.

What I found is that historically and predominantly white institutions are more likely to embrace black students who don’t profess interest in racial justice.

Preferences at play

In other words, similar to how the authors of “Acting White” argue that white employers like black employees who see themselves as people first, and black people second, my study found that white colleges like black students who see themselves as students first, and black students maybe second or third or fourth, if at all.

Why does this matter?

It matters because this is a time when issues of race and racism on campus – and student-led efforts to fight racism – continue to command considerable attention. Black students are demanding that white colleges hire more faculty of color, remove racist iconography, such as Confederate soldier statues and rename buildings that pay homage to slave owners.

My research suggests that black students who state that they plan to fight for these kinds of things might never get the chance to set foot on campus of the college of their choice.

Racial hostility on campus

It also matters because this is a time when black students are facing hostile environments on campus. At Yale, for instance, earlier this year a white student called police on a black student who was napping in a common area. I would argue this is a time when America’s college campuses need more students eager to fight racism, not just acquiesce.

It’s not that white colleges don’t want black students – many do. A 2014 report showed that nearly all enrollment leaders at hundreds of public and private historically and predominantly white institutions indicated a goal to enroll “diverse students.” Research shows this often means black students.

However, what my study shows is that these institutions are more likely to screen out black students who vocalize opposition to racism.

I refer to this expectation of a public, post-racial posture and politics as the color-blind imperative. Deviating from it can result in negative consequences, especially for blacks, as such individuals are often seen among many whites as divisive, racial rabble-rousers, as I myself have been.

A closer look

To investigate whether white admissions counselors were screening black high school students who don’t adhere to the color-blind imperative, I conducted a nationwide audit study. I began by generating and testing a list of distinctly black names, such as Lakisha Lewis and Keshawn Grant, that would signal to white admissions counselors that the students who were emailing them were black. I then created an email account for each name.

Next, I created four email templates that represented black students interested in 1) math and English, 2) environmental sustainability, 3) African-American history and culture, and 4) anti-racism. In each one the fictitious student asked if he or she would be a good “fit” for the school based on their interests and activities.

I sent a random sample of 500-plus white admissions counselors at the same number of private, historically and predominantly white colleges across the United States, two of the four emails from two fictitious black high school students approximately one month apart. I selected small or medium-sized colleges and universities from U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 list of best colleges.

To identify white admissions counselors, a research assistant and I used profile pictures from college websites or websites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Only those counselors who both of us independently agreed appeared white were classified as white.

My findings revealed that white admissions counselors were, on average, 26 percent less likely to respond to the emails of black students whose interests and involvements focused on anti-racism and racial justice. The gender of the counselor and the student also mattered. White male counselors were 37 percent less likely to respond to anti-racist black students. And when black women students committed to anti-racism were emailing white male counselors, they were 50 percent less likely to receive a response.

The most extreme finding was the difference in the response rate for white male counselors responding to black women. Black women interested in environmental sustainability got a response rate of 74 percent, while those who presented the anti-racist narrative got a response rate of 37 percent. Stated differently, white male admissions counselors were twice as likely to respond to black women if they were committed to fighting environmental degradation instead of white racism. This indicates that it was not activism that depressed the response rate of anti-racist black students, but rather the focus of their activism.

Degrees of race consciousness

Noteworthy, too, is the finding that white admissions counselors were just as responsive to moderately race conscious black students who participated in culturally resonant activities, such as a jazz band and gospel choir and who mentioned the phrase “cross-cultural understanding,” as they were to black students who revealed no interest in racialized involvements. This suggests, in other words, that it was not simply race consciousness, but a critical race consciousness – one that unequivocally challenges the validity of color-blind ideology – that seemed to be unappealing to some white admissions counselors.

Importantly, the screening pattern I uncovered doesn’t necessarily show that admissions counselors are purposefully discriminating against anti-racist black students, but it doesn’t preclude it, either. Whatever the case may be, there are clear, concrete and immediate steps that administrators can take to curtail this racially discriminatory practice.

Policy solutions

Some may think the solution is for black students who actively fight racism to masquerade as something that they are not. One problem with that approach is it’s difficult, if not impossible, to be vocal against racism and not leave evidence of one’s anti-racist activism in their digital footprint. For that reason, I focus my solutions on what institutions can do, not how black students should comport themselves to fit into a white environment.

First, chief admissions administrators should familiarize themselves and their staff with the research on intra-racial discrimination.

Second, schools should institute policies requiring admissions counselors to respond to all inquiry emails. Currently, the National Association for College Admission Counseling doesn’t have any best practices for email or inquiry response, according to an association official I spoke with for this article.

Third, the chief admissions administrator should develop a system whereby all admissions staff emails are randomly audited for responsiveness, content and tone.

Fourth, and most importantly, as with employment discrimination, there must be appropriate sanctions and consistent enforcement to maximize compliance. Such a system would incentivize admissions counselors to act in a non-discriminatory manner toward not only black students but all students committed to fighting against white racism and white supremacy.

Might this intervention come at a financial cost to colleges and universities? Perhaps. But it should not be a prohibitive one. Either way it is necessary. If some white admissions counselors don’t even respond to an inquiry email due to a black student’s commitment to racial justice, how can they be trusted to treat these students fairly at the application stage?

UN report documents genocide against Rohingya: What now?

September 5, 2018


Max Pensky

Co-Director, Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention, Professor, Department of Philosophy, Binghamton University, State University of New York

Nadia Rubaii

Co-Director, Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention, and Professor of Public Administration, Binghamton University, State University of New York

Disclosure statement

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


Binghamton University, State University of New York provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.

The United Nations has released a searing report that details Myanmar’s state violence against an ethnic and religious minority in that country known as the Rohingya.

The report demands that top leadership in Myanmar’s powerful military be held accountable for genocide and other international crimes.

As co-directors of the Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention at Binghamton University, we see this recognition of genocide in Myanmar as an opportunity to help mobilize the international community to take more decisive action than it has so far against the Myanmar government and in support of the Rohingya.

A rarely used word

The independent fact-finding mission sponsored by the U.N. interviewed hundreds of Rohingya refugees who fled the country since August 2017. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, including infants, children, adults and the elderly, were forced to leave by a wave of mass killings, rape, torture and the burning of hundreds of their villages by the Myanmar military.

Those attacks, which the military labeled as a “clearance operation” against a small group of Rohingya militants, have driven more than 700,000 Rohingya into sprawling refugee camps in southeast Bangladesh. The death toll from these attacks is impossible to determine with any accuracy given the government’s expulsion of nearly all independent observers. However, a growing consensus puts the figure in the tens of thousands.

The latest wave of attacks on the Rohingya – who have been described as “the world’s most persecuted minority” – is only the latest chapter in decades of discrimination, persecution and violence directed at them. Even though the Rohingya have lived in Myanmar’s Rakhine state for centuries, the Myanmar government has long refused to recognize the them as one of the country’s ethnic minorities. The government has revoked their citizenship and denied them legal status in the country.

The report is clear that the military’s attacks, which began in August 2017, must be named as genocide.

In the complex world of global diplomacy, using the term “genocide” to describe a state’s attacks on its own population is extremely rare. The report argues that the military’s acts meet the legal definition of the international crime of genocide in nearly all respects. Genocide occurs when any number of violent acts are taken with the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”

The requirement of “specific intent” is notoriously difficult to prove as a matter of law. Yet the report shows that the military’s acts, together with public statements by military and civilian officials in Myanmar, demonstrate intent. The report documents that army units killed and raped members of the Rohingya ethic group with the specific intent to destroy, in part or in whole, the group as such.

The U.N. report reinforces the findings of a comprehensive report published by the international human rights group Fortify Rights in July. The U.N. report documents the many preparations that the military made in advance of the supposed reaction to Rohingya militant attacks on Aug. 25, 2017.

There were increases in hate speech, especially via Facebook. The Myanmar government removed human rights and relief organizations from the areas of Rakhine province where the Rohingya lived. And they positioned troops in those areas.

This type and scope of evidence is comparable to cases where courts have found sufficient proof of “specific intent” for the crime of genocide, such as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

The second striking feature of the report is its willingness to name names. It charges the top leadership of Myanmar’s military with direct criminal responsibility for the genocide. It urges that they be investigated and prosecuted, either by the International Criminal Court or by a special criminal tribunal. More commonly the naming of individuals is left to the trial stage.

Myanmar’s head of state, former political prisoner and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi comes off little better than the military.

She is not charged with direct responsibility for international crimes. The report does, however, deplore her willingness to share the military’s fantasy of the Rohingya as illegal Bengali immigrants and Islamic terrorists. It also says that she has abetted the military in multiple ways.

The report concludes with a direct reference to Aung San Suu Kyi and her government: “Through their acts and omissions, the civilian authorities have contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes.”

Is this unusually blunt language likely to have an effect on the international community?

Anticipating the global response

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is the global agreement that establishes the court that would prosecute the international crime of genocide. Myanmar is not a party to the agreement.

As such, its citizens can only be prosecuted if the U.N. Security Council votes to “refer” the situation in Myanmar to the court, a move the Security Council has already previously made in both Sudan and Libya.

However, barriers exist. Russia repeatedly vetoed the Security Council’s efforts to use this approach in Syria. Similarly, China has a strong interest in maintaining its political and economic leverage in neighboring Myanmar. It almost certainly would block any Security Council attempts to refer the Myanmar situation for prosecution.

Well aware of this, the report’s recommendations include alternatives, among them forming a U.N.-backed international criminal tribunal, along the lines of those conducted in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

Such an “ad hoc” tribunal would not need Security Council approval.

But given Myanmar’s refusal to cooperate in any international efforts, and given the great costs and logistical and diplomatic challenges of such special tribunals, this seems unlikely.

A hollow victory?

Myanmar is one of 149 countries that have ratified the Genocide Convention, the international agreement which defines genocide and the responsibility of countries when it occurs. All signatories have pledged to take action to prevent and punish the crime of genocide. The case in Myanmar demonstrates that those who have signed the Convention do not always meet their obligations. They may, in fact, be the perpetrators of genocide, and the U.N. is limited in its ability to enforce compliance.

As such, there is little in the way of concrete steps that the report can recommend, apart from targeted sanctions for top government and military officials, and an arms embargo against the Myanmar military.

Even these would do little to relieve the plight of the more than 700,000 Rohingyas now stranded in Bangladesh, who remain in limbo. They are stateless. They are dependent entirely on international relief organizations. And they are without any clear path out of their misery.

Still, the report is a step forward in the international community’s response to the Rohingya crisis, even if a small one. Calling genocide by its name, the report demands that the world pay attention. Naming and shaming perpetrators, it demands that they face justice – no matter how long this may take.

FILE – In this Sept. 25, 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick kneels during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle. Kaepernick has a new deal with Nike, even though the NFL does not want him. Kaepernick’s attorney, Mark Geragos, made the announcement on Twitter, calling the former 49ers quarterback an “All American Icon” and crediting attorney Ben Meiselas for getting the deal done. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File) – In this Sept. 25, 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick kneels during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle. Kaepernick has a new deal with Nike, even though the NFL does not want him. Kaepernick’s attorney, Mark Geragos, made the announcement on Twitter, calling the former 49ers quarterback an “All American Icon” and crediting attorney Ben Meiselas for getting the deal done. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Staff & Wire Reports