Dear Mr. Kaepernick

Dear Mr. Kaepernick

I do NOT support you or your choice of expression.
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Dear Mr. Kaepernick,

America’s population is composed of approximately 325 million people and counting. We are made up of blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, etc. We are classified as tall, skinny, wide, and short. Blonde, brunette, red-headed and bald are how you could describe some of us. We all differ from our neighbor in some way. We can’t all be professional ball players with all the influence you have. The one thing we have in common is that we all live in a great country where we are free to express our individuality; we are all Americans. You would think that would mean we would also share the same love and respect for our country, but I guess you are too busy “making a difference” to see what that flag means to others.

There are over 23 million veterans in this country… MANY who would love to have the ability to stand for our country’s song but can’t due to being injured fighting for this beloved country. While you and other athletes are payed millions to play a sport and entertain America, there is someone receiving a folded flag in memory of a loved one. There is a mom sending her child off not knowing whether he or she will make it home for Christmas. There is a solider holding tight to the idea of coming home and seeing his family for the first time in months and another praying that the war on our front line and the war in our hearts will be over soon. I cannot say I have felt the agony of losing a loved one to war. I cannot say I know what it feels like to be African-American in this world. But, I can say that I have felt sadness, and I have experienced pain. The world is not a fair place for an athlete, an average civilian, or a solider. That simple piece of cloth that you so easily disregard is a reminder of what this country has gone through, and it reminds us of the brave that have protected this nation and everything it stands for.

Mr. Kaepernick, you have the right to stay down during our national anthem but remember why you are allowed to kneel instead of stand. Remember what country you live in that gives you the freedom to do it. Remember the ones who sacrificed entire limbs, time with their families, or even their own life so you could enjoy yours. Imagine how your offensive guards—people who know you like a brother—have your back and protect you in the game. The people in the military, who don’t even know your name, are putting more than just a body in shoulder pads and helmets out on the line for your freedom. I support standing up for what you believe in; I support professional ball, but I do NOT support you or your choice of expression. You can change your method without changing your message. I have kindness in my heart for all races, but you, sir have disrespected this country and those who fight for it.

I would personally like to call you and others that have joined your movement a few choice words,but I will leave you with a good ole southern-Christian "bless your heart", instead.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=american+flag&view=detailv2&&id=2F3E15735AEAAC04945799196EE478C0C0578C34&selectedIndex=7&ccid=%2ftF0NYkZ&simid=608009787919764316&thid=OIP.Mfed1743589190c8e3e778963e62ab5d5o0&ajaxhist=0

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Andy Ruiz Jr. May Not Look Like The Typical Boxer, But It Doesn't Make His Victory Any Less Deserved

Andy Ruiz Jr. just proved that dreams can come true.

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On June 1, boxing fans witnessed something special as Andy 'Destroyer' Ruiz Jr. defeated Anthony Joshua via TKO after going seven rounds in the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York City to become the first ever Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world. Ruiz Jr. (33-1) was a heavy underdog (+1100) heading into the match-up with Joshua (22-1) but ultimately flipped the script to hand the British fighter his first professional loss ever. Surely the fight will go down as one of the greatest moments in sports history.

Some members of the media and fans have been quick to label the fight as a 'fluke' and 'rigged' which in the end is no surprise to me. That always happens in the sports world. Many did not believe we would get this result yet failed to remember the one rule of sports -- expect the unexpected. Over the past week, I've been coming to the defense of Ruiz Jr. in the wake of others choosing to call him a joke.

I was shocked and surprised to hear two of my favorite sports analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe, make fun of Ruiz Jr. and frame him as just a guy that looked like 'Butterbean.' When I viewed their tweets on social media it honestly made me upset. Sure, Ruiz Jr. may not have fit the mold of what a professional boxer should look like, but they simply should not have just judged a book by its cover.

Personally, I thought it was disrespectful for Smith and Sharpe to throw shade at Ruiz Jr. in the way they did. I felt like they should have done a better job of acknowledging the winner considering the result of the match. Yet choosing to bash someone because of their physical composition appeared like a low blow. The very foundation of sports allows people of all shapes, sizes, genders, races, and backgrounds to compete -- that's why most people follow them in the first place.

Smith was open behind his reasoning for his tweets in which I'd like to shed some light on. Smith was upset about how boxing time after time contains elements of corruption with fans having to wait years until promoters schedule big fights. He along with other followers of the sport were looking forward to the highly anticipated yet potential future match-up between Joshua and fellow heavyweight Deontay Wilder. Smith believes that by Ruiz Jr. beating Joshua it essentially diminished the chances of that fight ever happening with the same amount of buildup, but that still doesn't provide any excuse for mocking the new heavyweight champ.

Ruiz Jr. was there for a reason and ultimately seized the opportunity that was right in front of him -- that's not his fault for getting the job done. Just because someone doesn't look like the part doesn't mean they don't possess the same qualities and characteristics as their counterparts. The following pair of videos display the amount of talent Ruiz Jr. does have in the ring. Even fellow boxer Canelo Alvarez and former UFC lightweight/featherweight champion Conor McGregor acknowledge that and have come out to say something on their behalf.

Unfortunately, I don't expect much to change because most will stand their ground and continue to behave the same way. All I'm saying is I did not enjoy some of the top figures within sports media stereotyping Ruiz Jr. based on his looks. I would think that we would be better than that and recognize that anyone can accomplish something great in this world. It all just starts with a simple dream.

I understand and respect other people's takes on this subject, maybe I'm looking into things deeper than what they are, but it struck a chord with me and I felt the need to say something about it.

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