Panthers knock it out of park with Reid signing
Yahoo Sports September 27, 2018, 7:50 PM GMT
Sometimes in your work life, there are moments that pleasantly take you by surprise. Like the times a hard-ass boss compliments your work, or the short-lived bliss that flows after knowing you successfully completed a task.
Well, that’s what experiencing David Tepper ’s first news conference as the owner of the Carolina Panthers back in May was like.
I’m in my sixth year covering the NFL, so I’m all too used to the stodgy, self-important, stiff patriarchs who make up most of the league’s ownership. This isn’t always their fault. Generational wealth tends to do that to people, and make no mistake about it, the NFL is right up there with Major League Baseball as the most old-money sports league in America.
So yeah, back in May at the NFL’s owners meetings in Atlanta, I wrongfully assumed that Tepper, a billionaire hedge-fund manager whose $2.3 billion purchase of the Panthers from old-school vanguard Jerry Richardson was made official then, would be like that, too.
But he wasn’t. Not even close. The Panthers bolstered their secondary after signing free agent Eric Reid on Thursday. (AP)
Instead, what we got during Tepper’s introductory media conference was a balding, bespectacled man with a quick grin and quirky sense of humor, someone who teased a well-known reporter — “Hey, I saw you on TV!” he said before awkwardly asking if his hair color was real — and generally behaved like a man who understands that maybe football isn’t that serious (gasp!), and that all of this is supposed to be fun.
Tepper has continued to step out on his own in the months since his purchase. While a healthy contingent of the league’s owners have remained fearful of President Donald Trump and his anti-NFL tweets regarding players who protested police brutality and racial injustice, Tepper ripped Trump in an interview on CNBC a few weeks ago, calling him “a red-headed guy in D.C.” and noting that NFL players are among the “most patriotic people” in the country, largely due to the substantial charity work many players quietly do in their communities. Story Continues
“That was the biggest pile of bull-dinky ever,” Tepper said, referring to Trump’s intimations that protesting players are unpatriotic . “These are some of the most patriotic people, best people, [ever]. There are great young men. And to say that, it just makes me so aggravated and angry. It’s just wrong.”
The quote is, without a shadow of a doubt, among the strongest defenses of the league’s players levied by any NFL team owner. It caught the attention of plenty of the league’s African-American players, many of whom have quietly noted how silent or lukewarm their employers have been whenever they’ve come under attack by Trump.
And now, by signing safety Eric Reid — a player who is held in high regard by many African-American players, along with Colin Kaepernick, for their commitment to their cause — it’s another plus in Tepper’s short stewardship. Over the past several months, I’ve talked to several players about Reid, and to a man, they’ve all shook their heads and wondered why he hasn’t been signed.
This was done only days after Carolina receiver Torrey Smith , a former teammate of Reid’s in San Francisco , lobbied for the Panthers to sign him. It reflects an open-mindedness that many other safety-needy franchises did not have, and it will not be forgotten. Rest assured, money and security will always be the most important factors for free-agent players, but if all things are equal, don’t be surprised to see some socially conscious players use the owner’s track record as tie-breaking criterion in the future.
The Panthers reportedly did not ask Reid if he plans to keep kneeling during the anthem, and yes, it’s possible that doing so would have resulted in a similar CBA complaint the Cincinnati Bengals currently find themselves in after they brought it up during Reid’s visit several months ago.
But if the photo the Panthers tweeted out after they signed Reid on Thursday is any indication — he held up his right fist, a nod to black empowerment — it’s clear that Reid remains socially conscious, and the Panthers deserve credit for not being scared away by whatever could come of that, unlike other teams. That much is doubly true if Reid’s signing will indeed have little impact on his ongoing collusion grievance against the NFL, as has been reported.
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) September 27, 2018
But for as much as the Panthers and Tepper stand to gain in the eyes of players and socially conscious African-Americans for signing Reid — I wouldn’t be shocked to see black Panthers fans swoop up scores of Reid jerseys — the truth is, the biggest reason the move is a home run is because of football reasons.
The Panthers are off to a solid 2-1 start, the same as divisional foes Atlanta and Tampa Bay , both of whom are averaging at least 26 points a game. The Panthers might have the least explosive offense of any of the NFC South teams — even the Falcons (1-2) have scored more points than them and could have used Reid — so they don’t have much room for error if they want to make the playoffs, and they need to take any upgrade they can get on defense. Panthers owner David Tepper defended players’ social protests at NFL games. (AP)
There’s little doubt Reid will help a safety corps that is still reeling following the season-ending concussion suffered by starter Da’Norris Searcy over a week ago, and Reid remains an excellent player, one who would have been signed months ago if he didn’t have the gall to peacefully protest what he believes in.
At 26, he is still in his prime. The former Pro Bowler had 67 tackles, two interceptions and four passes defensed in his last season with the 49ers before he hit free agency in March. He does his best work in the box but he can help the Panthers in a variety of positions, be it as a traditional safety, slot corner or linebacker, where the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder offers both range against the pass and a “special physicality” — as one NFL coach recently told Yahoo Sports — against the run.
Signing Reid is a move that made too much sense not to happen. He’s a good player, and the Panthers — sensing a need in a tough division — needed a man with his skills.
It’s a shame that in a pass-happy league with few good defensive backs, it took a new owner in Tepper — who is still unencumbered by the NFL’s old guard — to make it happen.
But given the overall reticence the league’s owners have shown on this entire anthem issue, I’m just happy that one owner took a different stance, and that owner — in a league full of stodginess — continues to show that his opening news conference, full of personality and quirkiness, was no fluke.
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Exclusive: Tim Berners-Lee tells us his radical new plan to upend the World Wide Web
By Katrina Brooker 5 minute Read Last week, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, asked me to come and see a project he has been working on almost as long as the web itself. It’s a crisp autumn day in Boston, where Berners-Lee works out of an office above a boxing gym. After politely offering me a cup of coffee, he leads us into a sparse conference room. At one end of a long table is a battered laptop covered with stickers. Here, on this computer, he is working on a plan to radically alter how all of us live and work on the web.
advertisement advertisement “The intent is world domination,” Berners-Lee says with a wry smile. The British-born scientist is known for his dry sense of humor. But in this case, he is not joking.
This week, Berners-Lee will launch Inrupt , a startup that he has been building, in stealth mode, for the past nine months. Backed by Glasswing Ventures, its mission is to turbocharge a broader movement afoot, among developers around the world, to decentralize the web and take back power from the forces that have profited from centralizing it. In other words, it’s game on for Facebook, Google, Amazon. For years now, Berners-Lee and other internet activists have been dreaming of a digital utopia where individuals control their own data and the internet remains free and open. But for Berners-Lee, the time for dreaming is over.
“We have to do it now,” he says, displaying an intensity and urgency that is uncharacteristic for this soft-spoken academic. “It’s a historical moment.” Ever since revelations emerged that Facebook had allowed people’s data to be misused by political operatives, Berners-Lee has felt an imperative to get this digital idyll into the real world. In a post published this weekend , Berners-Lee explains that he is taking a sabbatical from MIT to work full time on Inrupt. The company will be the first major commercial venture built off of Solid, a decentralized web platform he and others at MIT have spent years building.
A Netscape for today’s internet If all goes as planned, Inrupt will be to Solid what Netscape once was for many first-time users of the web: an easy way in. And like with Netscape, Berners-Lee hopes Inrupt will be just the first of many companies to emerge from Solid.
“I have been imagining this for a very long time,” says Berners-Lee. He opens up his laptop and starts tapping at his keyboard. Watching the inventor of the web work at his computer feels like what it might have been like to watch Beethoven compose a symphony: It’s riveting but hard to fully grasp. “We are in the Solid world now,” he says, his eyes lit up with excitement. He pushes the laptop toward me so I too can see.
On his screen, there is a simple-looking web page with tabs across the top: Tim’s to-do list, his calendar, chats, address book. He built this app–one of the first on Solid–for his personal use. It is simple, spare. In fact, it’s so plain that, at first glance, it’s hard to see its significance. But to Berners-Lee, this is where the revolution begins. The app, using Solid’s decentralized technology, allows Berners-Lee to access all of his data seamlessly–his calendar, his music library, videos, chat, research. It’s like a mashup of Google Drive, Microsoft Outlook, Slack, Spotify, and WhatsApp.
advertisement The difference here is that, on Solid, all the information is under his control. Every bit of data he creates or adds on Solid exists within a Solid pod–which is an acronym for personal online data store. These pods are what give Solid users control over their applications and information on the web. Anyone using the platform will get a Solid identity and Solid pod. This is how people, Berners-Lee says, will take back the power of the web from corporations.
[Image courtesy of Tim Berners-Lee] For example, one idea Berners-Lee is currently working on is a way to create a decentralized version of Alexa, Amazon’s increasingly ubiquitous digital assistant. He calls it Charlie. Unlike with Alexa, on Charlie people would own all their data. That means they could trust Charlie with, for example, health records, children’s school events, or financial records. That is the kind of machine Berners-Lee hopes will spring up all over Solid to flip the power dynamics of the web from corporation to individuals.
A new revolution for developers? Berners-Lee believes Solid will resonate with the global community of developers, hackers, and internet activists who bristle over corporate and government control of the web. “Developers have always had a certain amount of revolutionary spirit,” he observes. Circumventing government spies or corporate overlords may be the initial lure of Solid, but the bigger draw will be something even more appealing to hackers: freedom. In the centralized web, data is kept in silos–controlled by the companies that build them, like Facebook and Google. In the decentralized web, there are no silos.
Starting this week, developers around the world will be able to start building their own decentralized apps with tools through the Inrupt site. Berners-Lee will spend this fall crisscrossing the globe, giving tutorials and presentations to developers about Solid and Inrupt. (There will be a Solid tutorial at our Fast Company Innovation Festival on October 23.)
“What’s great about having a startup versus a research group is things get done,” he says. These days, instead of heading into his lab at MIT, Berners-Lee comes to the Inrupt offices, which are currently based out of Janeiro Digital, a company he has contracted to help work on Inrupt. For now, the company consists of Berners-Lee; his partner John Bruce, who built Resilient, a security platform bought by IBM; a handful of on-staff developers contracted to work on the project; and a community of volunteer coders.
Later this fall, Berners-Lee plans to start looking for more venture funding and grow his team. The aim, for now, is not to make billions of dollars. The man who gave the web away for free has never been motivated by money. Still, his plans could impact billion-dollar business models that profit off of control over data. It’s not likely that the big powers of the web will give up control without a fight.
advertisement When asked about this, Berners-Lee says flatly: “We are not talking to Facebook and Google about whether or not to introduce a complete change where all their business models are completely upended overnight. We are not asking their permission.”
A CIA lucky break? How the death of the ‘Smiling Pope’ helped Washington win the Cold War — RT Op-ed
Home Op-ed A CIA lucky break? How the death of the ‘Smiling Pope’ helped Washington win the Cold War Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66 Published time: 28 Sep, 2018 14:49 Get short URL The sudden death of Pope John Paul I, exactly 40 years ago today, stunned the world. The ‘Smiling Pope’ had only served for 33 days. His demise and replacement by John Paul II marked an important turning point in the old Cold War.
The year 1978, as I argued in a previous op-ed, was the year today’s world was made.
There was nothing inevitable about the ascendancy of Reagan and Thatcher, the rise of groups like Al-Qaeda and IS, and the downfall of the Soviet Union. The neoliberal, neoconservative world order and its associated violence came about because of key events and decisions which took place 40 years ago. The Vatican was at the heart of these events.
The drama which unfolded there in the summer of 1978 would have been rejected as being too far-fetched if sent in as a film script. In a space of two and a half months, we had three different Popes. There was no great surprise when, on August 6, the first of them, Pope Paul VI, died after suffering a massive heart attack. The Supreme Pontiff, who had served since 1963, was 80 and had been in declining health. But the death of his much younger successor, John Paul I, a radical reformer who wanted to build a genuine People’s Church, has fuelled conspiracy theories to this day. Read more 1978: The year today’s world was made
Cardinal Albino Luciani, the working-class son of a bricklayer (and staunch socialist), from a small town in northern Italy, was a Pope like no other. He refused a coronation and detested being carried on the sedia gestatoria – the Papal chair. He hated pomp and circumstance and pretentiousness. His speeches were down to earth and full of homely observations, with regular references to popular fiction. He possessed a gentle humor and always had a twinkle in his eye. He was by all accounts an incredibly sweet man.
But there was steel there, too. Luciani was determined to root out corruption, and to investigate the complex financial affairs of the Vatican’s own bank, and its connection to the scandal-hit Banco Ambrosiano.
While he had declared communism to be incompatible with Christianity, his father’s egalitarian ethos stayed with him. “The true treasures of the Church are the poor, the little ones to be helped not merely by occasional alms but in the way they can be promoted,” he once said. At a meeting with General Videla of Argentina, he made clear his abhorrence of fascism. “He talked particularly of his concern over ‘Los Desaparecidos’, people who had vanished off the face of Argentinian earth in their thousands. By the conclusion of the 15th minute audience the General began to wish that he had heeded the eleventh-hour attempts of Vatican officials to dissuade him coming to Rome,” noted David Yallop in his book ‘In God’s Name’.
One cleric, Father Busa, wrote of John Paul I: “His mind was as strong, as hard and as sharp as a diamond. That was where his real power was. He understood and had the ability to get to the centre of a problem. He could not be overwhelmed. When everyone was applauding the smiling Pope, I was waiting for him ‘tirare fuori le unghie’, to reveal his claws. He had tremendous power.”
But John Paul I never lived to exercise his “tremendous power.” He was found dead in his bed on the morning of September 28, 1978. The official story was that the ‘Smiling Pope’ had died from a heart attack. But it wasn’t long before questions were being asked. John Paul I was only 65 and had appeared to be in fine health. The fact that there was no post-mortem only added to the suspicions. “The public speculation that this death was not natural grew by the minute. Men and women were heard shouting at the inert form: Who has done this to you? Who has murdered you?” wrote David Yallop. Read more ‘Sex is a gift of God’: Pope Francis shares benefits of ‘passionate’ love, slams pornography
David Yallop revealed that on the day of his death, the Pope had discussed a reshuffle of Vatican staff with Secretary of State Cardinal Jean Villot, who was also to be replaced. Yallop claimed that the Pope had a list of a number of clerics who belonged to the Freemasons, membership of which was strictly prohibited by the Church. The most sinister of these Masonic lodges was the fiercely anti-communist Propaganda Due (P2), which held great influence in Italy at this time, being referred to as a “state within a state.” The murky world of P2, and its leaders’ links with organized crime, the Mafia and the CIA is discussed in ‘In God’s Name’.
Another writer, Lucien Gregoire, author of ‘Murder by the Grace of God’, points the finger of blame squarely at the CIA. He notes a seemingly strange coincidence, namely that on September 3, 1978, just 25 days before the Pope himself died, Metropolitan Nikodim, the visiting leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, who was later revealed to have been a KGB agent, fell dead at John Paul’s feet in the Vatican after sipping coffee. He was only 48. Gregoire says that the CIA dubbed John Paul I ‘the Bolshevik Pope’ and was keen to eliminate him before he presided over a conference the Puebla Conference in Mexico. “Had he lived another week, the United States would have been looking at a half a dozen mini-Cubas in its back yard,” he writes.
While there’s no shortage of suspects if you believe that John Paul I was murdered, it needs to be stressed that despite the contradictory statements made about the circumstances of his death, and the strange coincidences, no evidence has yet been produced to show that his death was not a natural one. What we can say though is that there will have been quite a few powerful and influential people in Italy and beyond who were relieved that the ‘Smiling Pope’ had such a short time in office.
His successor, the Polish Archbishop Karol Wojtyla, who took the name ‘John Paul II’ as a homage to his predecessor, made it clear that investigating the Vatican’s financial activities and uncovering Freemasons was not a priority. As a patriotic Pole, his appointment was manna from Heaven for anti-communist hawks in the US State Department. “The single fact of John Paul II’s election in 1978 changed everything. In Poland, everything began… Then the whole thing spread. He was in Chile and Pinochet was out. He was in Haiti and Duvalier was out. He was in the Philippines and Marcos was out,” said Joaquin Navarro-Valls, John Paul II’s press secretary.
The way that Pope John Paul II spoke out against what he regarded as communist repression, not only in his native Poland but across Eastern Europe and beyond, saw him being toasted by the neocon faction. It might not have been just words either, which helped undermine communist rule. There was a rumor that ‘God’s Banker’ Roberto Calvi, who in 1982 was found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London, had sent $50mn to ‘Solidarity’ in Poland on behalf of the Pope. Read more Biggest rift in modern Orthodox history? Russian Church won’t work w/ Constantinople-chaired bodies
In May 1981, John Paul II was shot and wounded by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca. Neocons in the US promoted the narrative that it was a communist plot (organized by Bulgaria), but Sofia denied involvement. In 1985, Agca’s confederate, Abdullah Catli, who was later killed in a car crash, testified that he had been approached by the West German BND spy organization, which promised him a large sum of money “if he implicated the Bulgarian secret service and the KGB in the attempt on the Pope’s life.”
Martin Lee, writing in Consortium News, also notes that in 1990, “ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman disclosed that his colleagues, under pressure from CIA higher-ups, skewed their reports to try to lend credence to the contention that the Soviets were involved. ‘The CIA had no evidence linking the KGB to the plot,’ Goodman told the Senate Intelligence Committee.”
In 2011, a new book entitled ‘To Kill the Pope, the Truth about the Assassination Attempt on John Paul II’, which was based on 20 years of research, concluded that the CIA had indeed tried to frame Bulgaria, in order to discredit communism.
The great irony of course is that after the Berlin Wall came down, Pope John Paul II became a strong critic of the inhumane ‘greed is good’ model of capitalism which had replaced communism. In Latvia, he said capitalism was responsible for “grave social injustices” and acknowledged that Marxism contained “a kernel of truth.” He said that “the ideology of the market” made solidarity between people “difficult at best.” In Czechoslovakia, he warned against replacing communism with materialism and consumerism.
Having enlisted the assistance of the Vatican in helping to bring down ‘The Reds’, the neo-liberals and neo-cons then turned on the Church. The Church survived communism, but it hasn’t fared too well under consumerism. The Vatican is nowhere near as influential as it was in 1978. The US, meanwhile, unconstrained by a geopolitical counter-weight, threw its weight around the world after 1989, illegally invading and attacking a series of sovereign states.
One can only wonder how different things might have been if the ‘Smiling Pope’ had lived.
Follow Neil Clark @NeilClark66
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