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Social Justice Discussions For The 21st Century

Kristof--Opinion | Rapists Presented By Their Church As Men Of God


      Another horrific scandal lays bare a deeper, more dangerous, systemic problem quite likely to plague religious organizations, with women and children paying a heavy price. The Houston Chronicle investigates and Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times reports from a broader perspective--


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      Opinion: The Catholic Church Is Breaking People’s Hearts


          The Church fires gay workers, vilifies gay priests and alienates parishioners who can’t make sense of this.

          Shelly Fitzgerald was placed on administrative leave by the Catholic school where she worked because she is married to a woman.CreditCreditRobert Scheer/IndyStar, via USA Today Network
          This column by Frank Bruni caught my eye because of its boldness. Having been raised Catholic (baptized, first communion, confirmation, and 7 years of schooling) I have long been critical of the church’s stand on LGBT, contraception, child abuse, pedophilia and subsequent cover ups, the Patriarchal hierarchy, forced birth, bigotry and other forms of discrimination; but having been a part of that cultureI I also saw much to commend and have loved many of the church’s people.

          Although I long ago left the Catholic church, and have joined no other since I appreciate Humanism rather than the supernatural, I have retained my friends and family who believe in their religion(s) including Catholicism and Mormonism, and I have often wondered how they balance such things as Bruni’s article speaks to with their ability to continue to support their Church.

          Anymore, for me, Republicanism and the Catholic Church tend to go together more than they ever have. The time of the Catholic Kennedy’s has long disappeared, as Right Wing indoctrination swallows up so many Catholic believers; and the Catholic Bishops are a powerful lobby. Their presence is strong in our government.

          Bruni’s column is mostly about the church’s discrimination toward gay people, and points to a specific case, but everyone knows of others. Although it is a long column, I have printed it in full to honor those who are torn between their church, their beliefs and their love for family and friends who are gay.

          I often ponder how difficult it must be for believers who have gay family members to continue believing and supporting their church. Bruni tells us it is breaking their hearts.


          Pat Fitzgerald, 67, has long loved being a Catholic, and the part he loved maybe most of all, for the past quarter-century, was his role as a spiritual mentor at retreats for students at a church-affiliated high school in Indianapolis, where he lives.

          But he has been told that he’s not wanted anymore. His crime? He publicly supported his daughter, a guidance counselor at the school, after its administrators moved to get rid of her because she’s married to a woman.

          Catholic Schools face changing times and changing parishioners beliefs


          The school’s treatment of Shelly Fitzgerald, 45, was a big local story last summer that went national; she ended up on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in September. It was one of many examples of Catholic institutions deciding almost whimsically to exile longtime employees — not priests or nuns but coaches, teachers, counselors — who had long been known to be gay but were suddenly regarded as liabilities.

          Maybe they had quietly married their partners, formalizing those relationships and inadvertently drawing attention to themselves. Maybe some homophobic parent or congregant had belatedly learned about them and lodged a complaint. That’s what happened to Shelly Fitzgerald, and her 14 years of fine work at Roncalli High School no longer mattered. Only her 2015 marriage to her longtime partner did. She was told that she could stay on if she dissolved the union. She said no thanks and was kicked off school grounds in August.

          The aftershocks still complicate the lives — and faith — of people around her: her students, their parents, her dad. On Facebook last month she posted a letter from him to the Roncalli community in which he explained that he’d just been disinvited from future retreats but thanked everyone for being such supportive friends over the years.

          “Today my heart is broken,” he wrote, adding that the retreats he’d participated in — more than 40 in all — were “the most beautiful and holy settings I have ever witnessed.” He alluded only vaguely to his daughter’s case. “To people on both sides of this ongoing issue,” he wrote, “I hope you can find peace.”

          But there’s no peace for the Catholic Church here. It’s too mired in its own hypocrisy. The tension between its official teaching and unofficial practice — between the ignorance of the past and the illumination of the present — grows tauter all the time.

          Fired gay teachers claim discrimination from their Catholic Church’s hierarchy.


          Most Catholics support same-sex marriage, in defiance of the church’s formal position, and many parishes fully welcome L.G.B.T. people. Yet there are places, and times, when the hammer comes down.

          Church leaders know full well that the priesthood would be decimatedif closeted gay men were exposed and expelled. Yet the church as a matter of policy bars men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” and considers gay people “objectively disordered.”

          Catholics are supposed to show compassion. Yet Shelly and her dad were shown anything but.

          She has been on administrative leave since August, and last month her lawyer, David Page, filed a charge of discrimination against the school and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It has up to 180 days to respond.

          On Tuesday morning he showed me paperwork for a second charge of discrimination that he said he would be filing imminently; it cites what happened to her father as an unlawful act of retaliation meant to dissuade Shelly from pressing her case.

          Pat Fitzgerald, uncomfortable with media attention, declined to speak with me, preferring to let his daughter do the talking. “His struggle comes from caring about Roncalli and being in conflict with what they’ve done to me,” Shelly told me. In October he attended a protest against the church’s treatment of L.G.B.T. people. His sign said, “Please treat my daughter Shelly kindly.”

          There is, by many accounts, profound anger and hurt at Roncalli. As it happens, Shelly was one of two directors of counseling there; the other, Lynn Starkey, 62, is in a same-sex civil union and in November filed her own charge of discrimination with the E.E.O.C., claiming a “hostile work environment” in the aftermath of Shelly’s departure. For now she remains on the job.

          Many students started an L.G.B.T. advocacy group, Shelly’s Voice, that also attracted parents and other adults in the community. A related Facebook page, Time to Be a Rebel, has more than 4,500 members.

          But one parent told me that students who question Shelly’s dismissal fear repercussions. “Seniors are being told that if they speak out, they take the chance of not being able to graduate,” the parent, who spoke with me on condition of anonymity, said.

          Related image

          Catholic resistance T shirt


          According to posts on the Facebook page, a small cluster of Roncalli students were invited last month to a lunch with Archbishop Charles C. Thompson of Indianapolis, only to have him stress that homosexuality is a disorder and its expression sinful. One student called it an ambush.

          For comment on all of this, I contacted the Roncalli principal, who referred me to a spokesman for the archdiocese. The spokesman sent me a statement that said that Pat Fitzgerald’s exclusion from student retreats reflected the “continuing attention surrounding his daughter’s suspension” and “his own participation in public protests over Catholic Church teaching.” He was still welcome at Masses, the statement said.

          In regard to Shelly’s suspension, a past statement from the archdiocese reiterated what the Catholic Church has said in similar cases: Employees of Catholic schools are expected to live in compliance with church teaching. But is that legally enforceable?

          Shelly’s E.E.O.C. complaint tests where federal civil rights law covers sexual orientation, a matter on which courts in different areas of the country have disagreed. Also, the Catholic Church has attempted to claim a “ministerial exception” from nondiscrimination laws that conflict with religious tenets, but there’s continued dispute about whether this applies to workers, like Shelly, who aren't in the clergy.

          Shelly pointed out that the Catholic Church isn’t generally going after teachers who flout its rules by using birth control or divorcing or having sexual relations outside marriage. “They’re going after L.G.B.T. people,” she said. “They’re going to die on this hill.”

          And they’re going to hurt people — like Shawn Aldrich, who attended Roncalli, just as his parents and his wife and her parents did. He has two children there now. What has happened to Shelly astounds him.

          “She was phenomenal at her job,” Aldrich told me. “So why are we dismissing her?” He knows what church leaders say about homosexuality but noted, “It’s our church, too.” Besides, he said, “All of us are made in God’s image.”

          He and his wife plan to end their family tradition. They won’t send their third child, now in seventh grade, to Roncalli. “And that breaks our hearts,” he said. “That absolutely breaks our hearts.”


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          Pundit Post

          The Supreme Court Rules Excessive Fines Unconstitutional!


              [The High Court]

              The vote is in and it is unanimous. The Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional for States to issue excessive fines. Seems obvious doesn't it? But states have been using drug bust as a means to seize properties associated with the act of the crime. Cars, Boats, Homes, and of course cash, criminals always have to forfeit money earned from the trade, but the problem was the states got greedy. They would use tricks like was common in the 80's, they would get a drug addict to purchase drugs for them but charge the addict for the sale because he/she is the one they gave the money to, and that is an instant drug traffic offense which means they can take your ish. The Court now says, wait a minute, he/she sold you --undercover-- a small amount of drugs and if convicted he will pay a cash penalty on top of time to be served plus you want to take his SUV and auction it off to fill your coffers? That is excessive. We rule in favor of the plaintiff.

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              Jews Responsible For Pedophilia, Slave Trade, Anal Sex And Rape Culture


                  So here's the latest from the "greatest" so beloved by leaders of the Womens' March and significant numbers of others from the far Left, including some regular posters to this site.

                  Here he is as the "keynote" speaker at "Savior's Day" in Chicago on Feb 17, 2019.

                  The Nation of Islam is being normalized -- look at the large crowd and he has an international following; we see his popularity is growing, rather than him being marginalized into the dark corners in which he belongs with his buddies from the KKK.


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                  Born This Way.


                      [Hair Justice]

                      It's an age old issue. One that doesn't affect most Americans, but one which those with African DNA have been dogged by and for, for generations. Our hair is different. You can't force me to do with it what you prefer, especially when you don't know nothing about black hair care. It is enough to make a person sporting an Afro blow a fuse. How dare you! It grows this way!

                      New York is making it illegal to discriminate against people because of the nature of their hair and how they maintain it. For those that don't now, "braided corn rows is good hair care practice, it don't mean gangsters or bad youth, it is good for hair growth and is more easily kept than most hair styles other than the closed cropped haircut. Plus you don't have to worry about rain and the resulting resetting of the hair coils.

                      To be black an natural to many who aren't black, isn't considered a professional look. Do something with that birds nest on your head.

                      Imagine if a work place banned naturally occurring curly red hair and freckles? Now you're getting it.

                      Since it is also black history month I find this NYT article very fitting.

                      New York City to Ban Discrimination Based on Hair

                      New guidelines out this week give legal recourse to individuals who have been harassed, punished or fired because of the style of their hair.

                      The New York City's human rights commission specifically asserts the right of people to have “natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.”CreditAndre D. Wagner for The New York Times
                      The New York City's human rights commission specifically asserts the right of people to have “natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.”CreditCreditAndre D. Wagner for The New York Times

                      • Feb. 18, 2019Under new guidelines to be released this week by the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the targeting of people based on their hair or hairstyle, at work, school or in public spaces, will now be considered racial discrimination.

                      The change in law applies to anyone in New York City but is aimed at remedying the disparate treatment of black people; the guidelines specifically mention the right of New Yorkers to maintain their “natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.”

                      In practice, the guidelines give legal recourse to individuals who have been harassed, threatened, punished, demoted or fired because of the texture or style of their hair. The city commission can levy penalties up to $250,000 on defendants that are found in violation of the guidelines and there is no cap on damages. The commission can also force internal policy changes and rehirings at offending institutions.

                      The move was prompted in part by investigations after complaints from workers at two Bronx businesses — a medical facility in Morris Park and a nonprofit in Morrisania — as well as workers at an Upper East Side hair salon and a restaurant in the Howard Beach section of Queens. (The new guidelines do not interfere with health and safety reasons for wearing hair up or in a net, as long as the rules apply to everyone.)

                      The guidelines, obtained by The New York Times before their public release, are believed to be the first of their kind in the country. They are based on the argument that hair is inherent to one’s race (and can be closely associated with “racial, ethnic, or cultural identities”) and is therefore protected under the city’s human rights laws, which outlaw discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin, religion and other protected classes.

                      To date, there is no legal precedent in federal court for the protection of hair. Indeed, last spring the United States Supreme Court refused an NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund request to review a case in which a black woman, Chastity Jones, had her job offer rescinded in 2010 at an Alabama insurance company after she refused to cut off her dreadlocks.

                      But New York City’s human rights commission is one of the most progressive in the nation; it recognizes many more areas of discrimination than federal law, including in employment, housing, pregnancy and marital status. Its legal enforcement bureau can conduct investigations, and has the ability to subpoena witnesses and prosecute violations.

                      “There’s nothing keeping us from calling out these policies prohibiting natural hair or hairstyles most closely associated with black people,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, the commissioner and chairwoman of the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

                      “They are based on racist standards of appearance,” Ms. Malalis continued, saying that they perpetuate “racist stereotypes that say black hairstyles are unprofessional or improper.”

                      In New York, it isn’t difficult to find black women and men who can speak about how their hair has affected their lives in both subtle and substantial ways, ranging from veiled comments from co-workers to ultimatums from bosses to look “more professional” or find another job.

                      For Avery, 39, who works in Manhattan in court administration and declined to provide her last name for fear of reprisal at work, the answer to how often she fields remarks on her hair in a professional setting is “every day.”

                      Avery said her supervisor, who is white, encourages her to relax her hair, which she was wearing in shoulder-length chestnut-colored braids. “She’s like, ‘You should do your hair,’ when it is already styled, or she says, ‘straight is better,’” Avery said. She added that the only hair color her supervisor approves of is black.

                      Georbina DaRosa, who is interning to be a social worker, had her hair in box braids as she ate lunch with a colleague at Shake Shack on East 86th Street on a recent weekend afternoon. Ms. DaRosa said her hair sometimes elicited “microaggressions” from her superiors at work.

                      “Like, people say, ‘I wouldn’t be able to recognize you because you keep changing your hairstyle,’ that’s typical,” said Ms. DaRosa, 24.

                      Her lunch partner, Pahola Capellan, who is also black and whose ringlets were bobbed just above her shoulders, said, of her own experience: “It’s very different. There’s no discrimination because my hair is more acceptable.”

                      A 21-year-old black woman who gave her name only as Enie said she quit her job as a cashier at a Manhattan Wendy’s six months ago when a manager asked her to cut off her 14-inch hair extensions. “I quit because you can’t tell me my hair is too long, but the other females who are other races don’t have to cut their hair,” said Enie, who now works at a hospital.

                      There has long been a professional toll for those with certain hairstyles. Almost 18 percent of United States soldiers in active duty are black, but it is only in recent years that the military has dropped its prohibitions on hairstyles associated with black culture. The Marines approved braid, twist and “lock” (usually spelled loc) hairstyles in 2015, with some caveats, and the Army lifted its ban on dreadlocks in 2017.

                      And certain black hairstyles are freighted with history. Wearing an Afro in the 1960s, for instance, was often seen as a political statement instead of a purely aesthetic choice, said Noliwe Rooks, an author and professor at Cornell University whose work explores race and gender. Dr. Rooks said that today, black men who shave designs into their hair as a stylistic choice may be perceived as telegraphing gang membership.

                      “People read our bodies in ways we don’t always intend,” Dr. Rooks said. “As Zora Neale Hurston said, there is the ‘will to adorn,’ but there is often a backlash against it.”

                      Chaumtoli Huq, an associate professor of labor and employment law at City University of New York School of Law, said that attitudes will change as black politicians, like Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor of Georgia, and Ayanna Pressley, who represents Massachusetts in Congress, rise in prominence.

                      “As more high-profile black women like Abrams and Pressley opt for natural hairstyles, twists, braids, we may see a positive cultural shift that would impact how courts view these guidelines that seek to prevent discrimination based on hair,” Ms. Huq said.

                      Hair discrimination affects people of all ages. In the past several years, there have been a number of cases of black students sent home or punished for their hairstyles. In New Jersey, the state civil rights division and its interscholastic athletic association started separate investigations in December when Andrew Johnson, a black high school student, was told to cut off his dreadlocks or forfeit a wrestling match.

                      Last August, an 11-year-old student in Terrytown, La., was sent home from school for wearing braids, as was a 6-year-old boy in Florida who wore dreadlocks. In 2017, Mya and Deana Cook, twin sisters in Massachusetts, were forced to serve detentions because officials said their braids violated their school’s grooming policy.

                      Similar instances in New York City could fall under the human rights commission’s expansive mandate, as do instances of retailers that sell and display racist iconography.

                      In December, the commission issued a cease-and-desist order to Prada, the Italian luxury fashion house, after the window of its SoHo store was adorned with charms and key chains featuring blackface imagery.

                      The fashion company instituted training in the city’s human rights law for employees, executives, and independent contractors. It also immediately pulled the line of goods from its United States stores.

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                      5 For 16 Of 535 Moral Outrage Salad Bar For 154


                          Congress has been no angel when it has come to racist tensions on the floors on the Hill.Over the years not much has been done to curb the race rants either. King is the racist of them all. He is on his ninth term in Congress and his racist rants are well documented. The one rant I remember from this guy is: King: “Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one.”

                          But let’s hold off for a minute and look at how this was handled 154 years ago. In 1865 the president of the United States was both a racist and a very difficult man to get along with. He was very much like our President today. It was Andrew Johnson and in 1865 Congress was baffled but willing to fight.They were wanting a just nation for all and Johnson wanted no part of it.His idea from the start was to keep our Nation divided.

                          Johnson routinely called blacks inferior. He bluntly stated that no matter how much progress they made, they must remain so. He openly called critics disloyal, even treasonous. He liberally threw insults like candy during public speeches. He rudely ignored answers he didn’t like. He regularly put other people into positions they didn’t want to be in, then blamed them when things went sour. His own bodyguard later called him “destined to conflict,” a man who “found it impossible to conciliate or temporize.”

                          But the nation’s politicians simply had to interact with Andrew Johnson, for he had become the legitimate, constitutionally ordained chief executive upon Abraham Lincoln’s death by assassination.

                          Their path for managing this choleric man reveals that a president need not be kicked out of office to be removed from holding a firm grip on the reins of power. It also shows that people around the president, from Congress to the Cabinet, have many more tools at their disposal.

                          Johnson vetoed both a civil rights bill designed to fight back the dreaded black codes and another measure to expand the functions of the Freedmen’s Bureau. His message to Congress about the latter veto included condescending language, like urging legislators to take “more mature considerations.” The vetoes enraged Capitol Hill, especially the author of the bills, to whom Johnson had raised no objections when he’d sought the president’s opinions during the drafting process.

                          The legislative branch, as a consequence, did something that was then unprecedented in American history on a major piece of legislation: They overturned a presidential veto. Then they did it again. Ultimately, they turned back the president’s rejections of bills a stunning 15 times—a record to this day, even though Johnson served a shorter term than most presidents. The Civil Rights Act’s veto override in the House prompted a spontaneous outburst of applause among both representatives and spectators; the speaker found it impossible to restore order for several minutes.

                          Also, in early 1866, a congressional Joint Committee on Reconstruction developed a constitutional amendment, which presidents have no power to either approve or deny. It sought to prohibit states from depriving citizens of fundamental rights or equal protection under the law and to rescind the constitutional formula by which states had gained the benefit of additional representation in Congress for slaves within their borders, without letting those slaves vote. Both houses of Congress passed it in June, but behind the scenes Johnson obstructed its ratification. The measure would ultimately become the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868.

                          The president also saw his judicial appointment powers curtailed. When a Supreme Court vacancy came up, Congress eliminated the seat rather than confirm Johnson’s nominee. As a hedge against a potential future Johnson appointment, they went ahead and legislated in advance that the next high court vacancy, too, would not require filling.

                          “For the first time in the history of our country,” wrote the New York Independent, “the people have been witness to the mortifying spectacle of the president going from town to town, accompanied by the prominent members of the Cabinet, on an electioneering raid, denouncing his opponents, bandying epithets with men in the crowd, and praising himself and his policies. Such a humiliating exhibition has never before been seen, nor anything even approaching to it.”

                          Some of his own cabinet members stayed in place simply so they could stop the President from doing harm to the United States.

                          Particularly distressing to Grant, Stanton and many others around them was the increasing violence in the South between emboldened former Confederates and former slaves asserting their rights. Already by the end of 1866, the president “became, if not treasonable in intent, yet unpatriotic in action,” Badeau noted, probably representing Grant’s views. “He fostered a spirit that engendered massacre, and afterward protected the evil-doers. He spoke, both with Grant in private and openly to the public, as if the Congress elected by the faithful States was an illegal body. He suggested to men’s minds that he might be plotting to allow the Southerners to return to their places in spite of the North.”

                          After suspending Stanton until Congress reconvened, the president ended up firing his war secretary outright in February 1868. Stanton refused to leave his office—literally moving in and hunkering down, day and night, for the duration of the crisis—giving representatives the excuse they’d been hoping for to try to kick the president out of office. Johnson that same month became the first president to be impeached by the House.

                          The failure of the Radical Republicans to convict him in the Senate (by one vote) and thus remove him from office didn’t stop Congress from keeping Johnson boxed in. He remained something short of a full chief executive during his final 10 months in office, with effective restrictions on his power, like the Tenure of Office Act, locked in. General Grant, by this time a candidate for the presidential election that November, believed that “Johnson had been taught a lesson which he would not forget.” Johnson’s leading biographer Hans Trefousse calls him, for the remainder of his time as chief executive, a “president in limbo.”

                          So, let’s look at today. For at least the past 17 years a man served in Congress that has been the Choir Boy for racism. He didn’t hide his views. He has tried on several occasions to instill his hate into Bills. He uses social media as a tool to spread his hate. Our Congress didn’t go after this guy until this man named King was in office for 16 years.

                          Now we have a President with the same qualities as King.

                          The rumors are that there are 5 racist individuals on the Hill including King not just one. We have 535 members of Congress that have barely touched the surface of racism on the Hill. To know that King was not reprimanded for 16 years is appalling. It has been 154 years and Congress has not even tried to put a end to bigotry on the Hill. They have done nothing except when they were threatened by the public to do something.

                          To know we have a bigot Congressman and a President allowed in office is a disgrace to America. The time folks is now to fix this. It's the right thing to do folks and YOU KNOW IT.

                          If we don't fix this now then we will have 5 more to take the place of the racist and rein 16 more years while the 535 members of Congress do nothing, and people will still be screaming about the moral outrage salad bar for another 154 years.

                          How a Difficult, Racist, Stubborn President Was Removed From Power—If Not From Office

                          Members of Congress and some in Andrew Johnson’s own Cabinet wanted him gone. They did the next best thing.

                          By DAVID PRIESS

                          November 13, 2018


                          A Timeline of Steve King’s Racist Remarks and Divisive Actions

                          While some Republicans suggested the Iowa congressman’s views were new to them, Mr. King has a long and documented history of denigrating racial minorities.

                          King was removed by Republicans from two powerful House committees after serving years in office.

                          Jan. 15, 2019


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                          King Cotton - Wikipedia

                          Ah, the outrage--give people money who won't work? Despicable, right? Unless of course the people who won't work are in the top 1/100th of a percent--then it's fine.

                          And none of this is at all new. Sen. James Henry Hammond, vicious racist of SC, spoke on the floor of the Senate in 1858 about the vital importance of keeping the "mudsills" subservient, and of course this author refers to the racist aspects of The New Deal.

                          Interesting reading--and we must do better.

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                              By The New York Times

                              • Feb. 15, 2019
                              • The N.F.L. and Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback who ignited a protest movement against racism and police brutality by kneeling on the sideline during the playing of the national anthem at games, have settled a case accusing the league of colluding to keep him off a team.

                              The league also settled a similar claim lodged by another player, Eric Reid. The statement by the N.F.L. said that “the parties have decided to resolve the pending grievances” and that “there will be no further comment” because the players and the league reached a confidentiality agreement.

                              Kaepernick has not played since the 2016 season.


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