Georgia politicos wade into Colin Kaepernick’s anthem protests even as Falcons stay out

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 11:  The american flag is draped across the field for the national anthem to the NFL game between the Arizona Cardinals and the New England Patriots at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 11: The american flag is draped across the field for the national anthem to the NFL game between the Arizona Cardinals and the New England Patriots at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 11: The american flag is draped across the field for the national anthem to the NFL game between the Arizona Cardinals and the New England Patriots at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Sunday was a big day in the NFL, but it had very little to do with touchdowns or yards rushed.

More players joined San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in his protest of the treatment of minorities, either sitting out or kneeling as the national anthem was played in stadiums across the country

From Time magazine:

On Sunday, ahead of the game between the Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks, Dolphins running back Arian Foster, along with linebacker Jelani Jenkins, receiver Kenny Stills and safety Michael Thomas all kneeled during the anthem, a direct call to Kaepernick, who has refused to stand during the national anthem before games in protest of the treatment of minorities in the U.S.

On the other side of the field, the Seahawks linked arms and stood for the anthem. Last week, cornerback Jeremy Lane sat out during the national anthem in a similar act of protest to Kaepernick.

The Falcons’ matchup against the Buccaneers was a very different story, our colleague Michael Cunningham reports, but that didn’t stop the debate from moving into Georgia’s political sphere.

Lieutenant Gov. Casey Cagle recently waded into the discussion:

U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, offered words of solidarity to Kaepernick during a recent interview with the AJC and WSB-TV:

“I would say, ‘Hang in there. Keep the faith. Never give up. Be hopeful, be optimistic and this all will work out.'”

***

NBC News and Marist University were out this weekend with a new series of polls of battleground states, including Georgia. The survey mostly shows what we already know about the presidential race here: It’s tight.

But the poll also asked voters about Georgia’s U.S. Senate race, the first real polling on that campaign in weeks. We’ll get to that in a minute.

But first, in a head-to-head matchup, Republican Donald Trump bests Democrat Hillary Clinton 46 percent to 43 percent among likely voters, within the survey’s 3.9-percentage-point margin of error. When Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson is added to the mix, Trump’s margin narrows to 44 percent to 42 percent for Clinton, with Johnson pulling 10 percent.

The results show that the race hasn’t moved much. The RealClearPolitics.com average of all Georgia polls shows Trump with a 2 percentage point lead.

As for the Senate race between incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson and Democratic challenger Jim Barksdale, the poll found the incumbent with little to worry about. Isakson leads Barksdale 53 percent to 38 percent.

***

Republican nominee Donald Trump will speak with Dr. Oz later this week about health matters, our colleague Jennifer Brett reports, and we have a hunch Hillary Clinton won’t be far from his mind.

Stories about the state of Clinton’s health moved from the conservative blogosphere to the mainstream media over the weekend when the Democratic nominee left a 9/11 memorial service after becoming overheated. Clinton was later diagnosed with pneumonia and cancelled some public events this week to recover.

***

The onetime opponent of DeKalb County State Court Judge Dax Lopez landed in jail over the weekend.

Roderick Bridges on Friday was booked into DeKalb County jail on a misdemeanor battery charge before being discharged the next day:

roderick-bridges

Bridges, you might recall, raised eyebrows when he called out Lopez’s Jewish religion ahead of their May 24 primary battle. Bridges apologized, but it was not enough to prevent a shellacking at the polls.

We’ve reached out to Bridges for comment and will update this post when we hear back.

***

Gov. Nathan Deal’s recently announced pay hike for state law enforcement officials has won him plenty of praise, including a glowing review from the head of the state’s Fraternal Order of Police.

But there is some criticism, our colleagues Christian Boone and Craig Schneider write, including from civil rights activists who say Deal’s accompanying plan to enhance police training falls short:

“The reality is that it’s window dressing,” said Atlanta NAACP president Richard Rose.

… Some leaders in the black community said Deal’s plan to increase mandatory police training, which applies to officers across the state, accomplishes little to address the fractured relationship between police and the black community. Those problems have dominated the news for two years.

There’s also law enforcement officials from lower-paying rural areas, who worry that they’ll lose officers to the state because of the increase.

Read Boone and Schneider’s full take here.

***
Republicans in Washington take turns giving the party’s weekly public address, and Sen. Johnny Isakson used his time in the spotlight over the weekend to underscore the need for the U.S. to step up its offensive against the Islamic State.

“It is past time that the United States lead a coalition of our allies to defeat radical Islamic terrorists,” Isakson said of ISIS, echoing remarks he made right after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. “Our military is more than capable of ending any notion that ISIL has of establishing a caliphate in the Middle East, but the Obama administration is just not willing to do what it takes.”

On the 15th anniversary of 9/11, the two-term senator, who’s running for a third term this fall, said the U.S. needs to replicate the political unity to fight terrorism that marked the period immediately after the 2001 attacks in order to defeat ISIS.


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