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The Rushmore Report: 60 Percent Disapprove of NFL Handling of National Anthem Protests

The National Football League has been a public relations nightmare this season. The national anthem protests have turned off fans, and the league’s management has twisted itself into a pretzel trying to toe a middle line. It’s only made them look worse. It all began when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to stand and then kneel during the Star-Spangled Banner last year.

This year, more players have taken a knee after President Trump slammed the NFL at a political rally in September; the president views this as disrespectful. He’s not alone. The vast majority of Americans viewed Kaepernick’s antics as unpatriotic. The ratings are down for the league. NFL merchandise sales have plummeted almost 20 percent.

Now, a new Harris poll shows that 60 percent of voters do not approve of how NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has handled the matter, with another 77 percent saying that players should stand for the anthem; 59 percent felt that standing for the anthem should be compulsory.

The survey comes at a sensitive time for Goodell, who is in the process of renegotiating a new contract. That process has become complicated by reports that Goodell is seeking $50 million a year and lifetime use of a private jet, although the NFL has disputed those reports. Goodell makes about $30 million a year presently.

On Veteran’s Day weekend, the slate of games had NFL members wearing camouflaged gear to honor our troops, though they have spat in their faces all year – at least that is how 60 percent of viewers have been seeing it. The Left thought that Trump had picked a culture battle he couldn’t win. It turns out that Trump won before even a shot was fired.

About the Author

Matt Vespa writes for Townhall.

The Rushmore Report: The Faith of Jose Altuve

He is the best player in baseball. But according to Houston Astros’ President Reid Ryan, “As good as Jose Altuve is as a player, he is an even better man.” The 5’6″ second baseman just led the Astros to their first World Series Championship in the 56-year history of the franchise. Three times, he has led the American League in hitting. He’s a four-time All-Star. But before he was a great ballplayer, he was a man of great faith. This is that story.

I could tell there was something different about Altuve the first time I met him. I was attending an Astros game the day he was introduced to the crowd at Minute Maid Park. I was sitting two rows behind him. After he waved to the crowd, I ran up the stairs and found the nearest gift shop, where I purchased a Major League baseball. Then I returned to my seat and waited for my opportunity. I asked Altuve to sign my ball, which he was very happy to do. He could not have been nicer.

I could tell there was something different about Altuve the second time I met him. I stood in line at a popular sports outdoor shop to have him sign my Astros jersey. Again, he could not have been nicer.

It is obvious that Jose Altuve loves baseball and the fans of Houston. But what many don’t know is why.

But now we know why, because Altuve is telling his story. In a recently released video, he said, “I grew up in a family that always told me that to achieve success, we needed to have God first. To achieve success wasn’t to get to the major leagues or have the best season in the world. The best success is to live your life the way God wants you to. If you can do that, if you can be good with God, then I think you will have success in your life.”

Altuve also talked about the importance of prayer.

“We need to not just ask God but thank Him for everything like our health and our family. And we need to ask Him to bless our homes and to always be present in our daily lives, and to keep us safe.”

As for team unity, Jose praised his clubhouse atmosphere. “We’re more than a team; we are a family,” he says. “We all get along great and that’s really very important.”

Jose Altuve is baseball’s Most Valuable Player. He is having a career like few others. He is on pace to go down as perhaps the greatest Astro ever – in the company of legends such as Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, and Nolan Ryan. But Jose Altuve is more than a ballplayer. He is a family man . . . and he is God’s man.

The Rushmore Report: Al Michaels Made This Joke During NFL Game – No One Is Laughing

A number of NFL fans were outraged Sunday night, but not because the players were kneeling during the national anthem. This week, their displeasure was directed at NBC sportscaster Al Michaels, who made an off-color joke during a game between the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos. It happened in the third quarter. And what the iconic sportscaster said has brought widespread condemnation.

Michaels threw out this bit of commentary: “Let’s face it, the Giants are coming off a worse week than Harvey Weinstein, and they’re up by 14 points.”

Later in the game, Michaels  apologized for the joke. “Sorry I made a reference earlier before. I tried to be a little flip about somebody obviously very much in the news all over the country,” he said. “It was not meant in that manner. So, my apologies. And we’ll just leave it at that.”

But that didn’t stop viewers from tearing into the sportscaster on Twitter.

Commentator Mike Freeman wrote, “Did Al Michaels just really say that?” Doug Farrar added, “Al Michaels is probably the best play-by-play guy in history. But that was a big, big lapse in judgment.”

Was this really a “big lapse in judgment”? Or are people overreacting – as is so often the case these days? Time will tell. What is certain, however, is that we live in a time when people are judged more by the words they say than by the actions they take.

In the future, expect Al Michaels to stick with his script.

About the Author

Erika Haas is a new contributor for Townhall and a recent graduate of Syracuse University.

The Rushmore Report: Jerry Jones’ Ultimatum to His Players on the National Anthem

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has given his players an ultimatum regarding the national anthem. If a player chooses to disrespect the flag, he will not play in the game – and it’s as simple as that. “If there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play,” he said, following his team’s loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday. “Understand? If a player disrespects the flag, then he will not play. Period.”

Jones’ comments came after being asked about Vice President Mike Pence, who left the Indianapolis Colts game with the San Francisco 49ers when more than 20 players from the 49ers knelt during the national anthem.

“I know this, we cannot – in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,” he said. “We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag. So we’re clear.”

Two weeks ago, Jones knelt arm in arm with his players before the national anthem at a game against the Arizona Cardinals. But he said respect for the flag is more important than any issues regarding team unity.

“We as a team are very much on the page together,” Jones said. “We made our expression. I’m very supportive of the team, but under no circumstances will the Dallas Cowboys – I don’t care what happens – under no circumstances will we as an organization, coaches, players, not support and stand and recognize and honor the flag. Period.”

He continued, “There is no question here if it comes between looking non-supportive of our players and of each other or creating the impression that you’re disrespecting the flag, we will be non-supportive of each other.”

“We will not disrespect the flag. Period.”

About the Author

Leah Barkoukis writes for TownHall.

Black Sox Scandal

As we near the World Series, it’s a good time to look back on the most controversial World Series in history. It is called the Black Sox Scandal. It ended 98 years ago today, when the Chicago White Sox lost Game 8 – and the series – on October 9, 1919.

The Black Sox Scandal involved betting. Eight members of the White Sox were accused of intentionally losing the Series against the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for money paid by gamblers. The rest of the team was not in on the fix. Each of the players, including all-time great Shoeless Joe Jackson, received a permanent ban from baseball and consideration into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

While some of the details are disputable, and while Jackson’s involvement is especially questionable, this was a blight on the sport that still resonates to this day.

Actions have consequences. That which was done 98 years ago is still thought of today. A trip to baseball’s Hall of Fame will give you the story. It’s part of baseball lore.

Actions have consequences. Joe Jackson never lived down the controversy, despite having a phenomenal World Series, statistically. There was a permanent rift in the clubhouse, as many of the players, including Hall of Fame second baseman Eddie Collins, were adamantly opposed to gambling.

Actions have consequences. Relationships that were severed were never put back together. Reputations that were ruined were never restored. And the White Sox would not win another World Series until they swept the Houston Astros in 2005.

What’s true in baseball is true in life.

Actions have consequences.

The Rushmore Report: Tony Dungy Agrees – Abortion Is ‘Ultimate Form of Racism’

NFL Hall-of-Famer Tony Dungy has “applauded” Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson, an outspoken Christian, for his widely read comments opposing abortion and Planned Parenthood. “I applaud my brother for speaking the truth on a controversial issue. Thank you,” Dungy tweeted.  Dungy was responding to a tweet posted by the pro-life activist group Live Action.

Live Action published an article last week summarizing comments that Watson made last summer in an interview with the pro-life Turning Point Pregnancy Resource center. In the interview, Watson did not hold back in communicating what he thinks of Planned Parenthood, the nations largest abortion provider, which kills over 300,000 unborn babies each year.

Watson asserted, “I do know that blacks kind of represent a large portion of the abortions, and I do know that honestly the whole idea with Planned Parenthood in the past was to exterminate blacks, and it’s kind of ironic that it’s working. We [as minorities] support candidates, and overwhelmingly support the idea of having Planned Parenthood and the like, and yet, that’s why Planned Parenthood was created.”

Watson continued, “It’s just amazing to me and abortion saddens me, period. But it seems to be something that is really pushed on minorities and provided to minorities especially as something that they should do. In the public, it seems to be painted that when minorities get pregnant they need to get abortions, especially when it comes to teen pregnancy.”

Tony Dungy agrees that “Abortion is the leading cause of death among black Americans and the ultimate form of racism.”

Earlier this year, Dungy participated in the “Under Our Skin” forum hosted by Watson in Florida that brought former NFL players, coaches, and pastors together to discuss the racial issues facing the nation and the role that faith can play in healing the divide.”

About the Author

Samuel Smith writes for The Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report: Two Baseball Greats You Didn’t Know Were Christians

The race to the playoffs for Major League baseball is in its stretch run. Teams are gearing up for one final push toward their goal of a 2017 World Series Championship. In the history of team sports, there is no title more coveted than this. Personally, I’m pulling for my hometown Astros to win their first title since – ever. But two perennial All-Stars are chasing a higher crown. This is their story.

There are a lot of believers who fill Major League rosters. But two players really stand out.

1. Clayton Kershaw

The Los Angeles Dodgers ace has accomplished many things on the baseball field and has three National League Cy Young Awards to show for it. But to Kershaw, what matters more than his accolades on the field is the impact he makes off the field.

“For me, it’s about the legacy you leave off the field. It’s about how many people I can affect with the platform God gave me,” Kershaw wrote.

“Being a Christian means you have to keep reminding yourself that you’re supposed to stand out, you’re supposed to be different, you’re supposed to act boldly in your faith,” he added. “It’s not easy, but it’s worth the fight.”

Kershaw highlights Colossians 3:23 in his Bible. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

2. Andrew McCutchen

The five-time All-Star outfielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates grew up with a pastor for a dad. He says his dad instilled Romans 8:28 into his heart.

“I know God gave me talents to use to the best of my ability for His glory and to be able to help others. The game is not mine. It doesn’t control me. I give it all to God,” he says. “People say that when something happens to you with the Lord, you start seeing things differently. That’s kind of the way I started seeing things; and the more I started to see things differently, the more my game took off.”

Being in a sport in which failing seven out of ten times is considered a success, McCutchen said that his relationship with the Lord has made failure easier for him to encounter.

“You understand it’s just an obstacle He put you through to get where He wants you to go,” McCutchen added.

On a side note, you will have plenty of chances to catch Clayton Kershaw pitching in this year’s playoffs. His Dodgers have the best record in baseball. As for McCutchen, you better watch him now. The only way the Pirates will get into the playoffs is if they buy tickets.

The Rushmore Report: How Michael Jordan Helped Jordan Spieth Win the Open

To say Jordan Spieth was leaking oil on Sunday at The Open Championship would be an affront to the Exxon Valdez. Spieth had bogeyed three of his first four holes and was fading hard. That’s when his caddie Michael Greller stepped in with a reminder. Much like Rory McIlroy’s caddie, J.P. Fitzgerald, reminded him earlier in the week, Greller shared a similar sentiment with Spieth.

A few weeks ago, Spieth took a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with his girlfriend and some friends to charge his batteries before The Open. He met up with Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan, Russell Wilson, and others. Spieth tweeted out a photo of them together at dinner.

On Sunday, when it was all going sideways at Royal Birkdale, Greller reminded Spieth of that photo.

Spieth said, “Michael did a great thing today. He said, ‘Do you remember that group you were with in Cabo last week? You belong in that group.’ This was on seven tee box. We walked off the tee box, and he made me come back. He said, ‘I’ve got something to say to you.’ He said, ‘Do you remember that group you were with? You’re that caliber of an athlete. But I need you to believe that right now because you’re in a great position in this tournament. This is a new tournament. We’re starting over here.'”

Heady stuff, and Spieth said it carried him throughout the rest of the round.

“I definitely thought about what he was saying while I was over some of those key putts I made. I mean, for the way it was looking, those weren’t easy; those 3-footers were like 10-footers to me. And all of a sudden the lid came off. And the 30-footers were 2-footers to me. I don’t know why I can’t make it a little more boring sometimes.”

Spieth went on to explain why self belief is so important in golf and how he’s able to channel it in the most absurd moments (which is what I think makes him so great).

“I think just a little bit of belief that you are the best, you know?” said Spieth. “Michael Jordan and Michael Phelps are the greatest to ever do what they did, and I’m not. But if you believe that you are, then you’re almost as good as being that. And it’s so hard in that situation to believe that, but just having the slightest bit of belief in it makes you so confident. And I thought that that was so well said. It was just such the right time.

“I’ll never forget what Michael – how he told me that, when he told me that and the significance that it had. And just that bit of confidence that when he had said that early in the round and then he had another thing to say – that momentum is on our side. ‘Just do exactly what you’ve been doing, it’s going to go your way.’ Just his belief, when I know him so well, just fed over a bit.”

Greller certainly was worth every bit of his 10 percent of Spieth’s $1.85 million payday on Sunday. And now his boss has three major championships with a fourth on deck.

About the Author

Kyle Porter is a writer for CBS Sports.

The Rushmore Report: Kirk Cousins Turns Down $53M – Because of His Faith

Kirk Cousins is citing his faith as the ultimate reason he is turning down a long-term deal with the Washington Redskins, insisting that he wants to follow God’s plan for him. Instead of committing to sign with the Redskins for the next few years, the 28-year-old Christian quarterback opted to sign a franchise one-year deal with the team. The All-Pro explained the importance of hearing from God.

In a report last week, Cousins opened up about how his faith influences his career decisions.

“First of all, what rarely ever gets reported is that ultimately this decision is not about anything more important than my faith,” Cousins said. “My faith is ultimately driving this decision. Do I feel like the Lord is leading me to make this decision or that decision and where does he give me peace?’

Throughout the years, the QB has been vocal about his belief that God brought him to Washington, D.C. to play for the Redskins. He echoed those sentiments on a CBS radio show.

Cousins said, “He brought me to D.C. then. He had a plan for me. I didn’t know if it was going to be for football or for something else, but he placed me in Washington, D.C. for a reason. I believe that with my whole heart, and as a result, I was content to be patient and allow time to reveal that and to continue to just wait on the Lord.”

While some may not understand his decision to not commit to a long-term football career with the Redskins, Cousins said he is trusting in the Lord.

“He’s done far more for me in my five seasons here in Washington than I ever thought he would. And so here I sit and people are saying, ‘It appears to be a dead end. After this year, what’s going to happen to Kirk?'”

Cousins continued, “I tell them I’m trusting in the Lord.”

The QB has made it his goal to lead on and off the field. His greater goal is to lead men to Christ. “I think naturally I am a leader. I believe that leadership at the end of the day is influence. I think that more than anything as a Christian I want to be able to influence my teammates for Christ and that’s not going to change.”

The Rushmore Report: The Faith and Humility of Roger Federer

As I watched the Wimbledon Finals the other day, I quickly realized that I was witnessing one of the best athletes the world has ever seen in action. Roger Federer has to be in the top five greatest athletes ever, and I have been privileged to watch him throughout his career. But he’s completely humble in his manner. He is quiet about his profound Catholic faith, and the consummate gentleman.

Federer destroys his opponents without needing to psyche them out in any way other than being so good. And when it’s all over he shakes hands, gives them a pat on the back, and moves on. I always note that he looks like s sports star when he has his Nike bandana on, but as soon as he takes it off, he just looks like a regular guy. There is nothing about his physique that makes him look like a sporting star.

Roger is a major supporter of The Humpty Dumpty Foundation, an Australian charity. He donates his time to participate in private tennis matches and raises funds to purchase equipment that has saved untold lives.

Roger Federer is the perfect role model of how I believe we should do life. No matter how good we are or successful we might be, we can do it by being humble and genuine. That does not mean we should not be proud of what we do, and not carry a sense of pride about ourselves, but it is remaining aware of the fact that we don’t need to rub others’ noses in our success.

People genuinely know a little more about you than you think, and so you may not need to be so forthcoming in telling others of all the success you have achieved. Being proud of what you have achieved is awesome. Making sure everyone is more than aware of it is unnecessary.

Roger Federer was – and probably still is – an anonymous donor to The Humpty Dumpty Foundation. Who knows how many other charities and individuals he helps with his fortune? We can all learn a lot from him.

About the Author

Matt Danswan is the CEO of Initiate Media, publishers of My Christian Daily. He also blogs at www.mattdanswan.com.

Note

By winning his eighth Wimbledon championship and 19th Grand Slam Title, Federer further cemented himself as the greatest tennis player of all time. Though quiet about his faith, he is a devout Catholic who considers one of his great highlights meeting the Pope.