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National
One Man's Opinion: 'Get Your Kicks!!' 
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One Man's Opinion: 'Get Your Kicks!!' 

One Man's Opinion: 'Get Your Kicks!!' 

One Man's Opinion: 'Get Your Kicks!!' 

"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do," said global football legend Pele prior to his retirement from the game.

I have loved the game of soccer (north American football) nearly as long as I remember. My parents entered my brother and I in YMCA league play in early elementary school We played together for years, and I continued with the sport through high school. We were early devotees of the Atlanta Chiefs, actually the first national league sports franchise to win and bring a national championship title to Loserville, and perhaps ironically, the second team to do so was the Atlanta United, our capital city's newest sports franchise, during the team's sophomore year of existence. And I was there in the stands. 

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One Man's Opinion: 'Get Your Kicks!!' 

Our U.S. Women's Soccer team has just won its fourth FIFA Word Cup global championship. The U.S. Men's team has yet to receive that honor. I could not be prouder of the women's team, and like millions of other Americans, I was glued to the TV for days as their path to victory became more and more apparent.

The team is deserving of the global spotlight, New York Ticker tape parade and expected White House victory lap celebration invitation. We can only hope that the President is perhaps a bit more thoughtful this time with the offered menu choices.

It was U.S. Title 9, and related substantial restructuring of college sport which laid out the infrastructure and scholarship dollars to sharply enhance recruiting, training and the overall talent of women playing soccer in college. Many universities pulled soccer down to club status, and stopped awarding scholarships and recruiting, and overall blow to the sport, but also a redirection on not unlimited funding which helped women coaching and playing this sport to flourish. 

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One Man's Opinion: 'Get Your Kicks!!' 

Just a few years ago, the U.S. women's team beat Japan to capture the Word Cup in Vancouver, Canada. That Women’s World Cup competition received $73-million from ticket sales and broadcast fees. Winning players and finalists received 13% of that total. That same year the Men's World Cup held in South Africa earned nearly $4-billion, yet the players only received 9 percent of that. Should we consider reparations and back pay to the men for those years, to equalize those percentages?

Last year's Men's World Cup revenue exceeded $6-billion, and the Women's championship was a quite respectable $300-million, yet still worlds apart, as was player compensation. But let's turn the tables for a moment on the argument being made by U.S. Women's team captain, Megan Rapino. Every four years, the Olympics Women's Gymnastics competition is among the most viewed competitions in sport. Who is the last men's gymnast to compete in ANY Olympics whom you can name? 

What about Opera divas or prima ballerinas? These are the stars of their respective shows, and even when their male partners and counter-parts are literally doing the 'heavy lifting' they face only a fraction of the earnings potential, sponsors contracts or career longevity. 

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One Man's Opinion: 'Get Your Kicks!!' 

Our U.S. Women's team includes three Georgians, including more recent celebrity and U.S. flag bearer Kelly O'Hara of Fayetteville. I no more question her talent or consideration for a team or player bonus/raise system than I do the importance of earlier U.S. women’s championship player Brandi Chastains iconic moment kicking the winning goal for the U.S. World Cup competition in 1998 and then stripping down to her sports bra in celebration. The sport, league and caliber of play have all come of age...but the realities of capitalism and economics also matter, and it’s the fan base, ticket buying public and networks who choose which sports to carry, publicize and sell through to their advertisers and sponsors.

I understand that celebrities and athletes alike can and do often extend their brand and celebrity into charity and other good works, as well as occasionally into politics and platforms about which they are passionate. But as athletes I might also suggest that getting your kicks on the field, and off, while helping others will always be better viewed and preferred to supporting causes, positions or interests which appear more self-serving. You are our champions, and we want all of America to celebrate that. Re-shaping a victory into a social media platform might well cause more long term ill will than good for the sport, and leaders on the field of play might want to remember that as well.

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News

  • A new environmental foundation backed by Leonardo DiCaprio is pledging $5 million in aid to the Amazon, which has been swept by wildfires. >> Read more trending news  According to The Associated Press, Earth Alliance, an environmental foundation that was created last month by DiCaprio and philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth, launched the Amazon Forest Fund.  The alliance is also seeking donations to help repair the Brazilian rainforest, called the “lungs of the planet.” Brazilian federal experts reported a record number of wildfires across the country this year, up 84% over the same period in 2018. The funds will be distributed to five local groups working to combat the problem: Instituto Associacao Floresta Protegida, Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon, Instituto Kabu, Instituto Raoni and Instituto Socioambiental. Backed by military aircraft, Brazilian troops are deploying in the Amazon to fight fires that have swept the region and prompted anti-government protests as well as an international outcry. Brazil contains about 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest, whose degradation could have severe consequences for global climate and rainfall. Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, who has said he wants to convert land for cattle pastures and soybean farms, won office after channeling outrage over the corruption scandals of the former government. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A large crowd gathered Sunday morning at RiverScape MetroPark for a service hosted by Kanye West. >> Read more trending news  Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and their children held the Sunday Service in support of the victims and survivors of the mass shooting at the city of Dayton’s historic Oregon District. Several other celebrities, including Dave Chappelle and Michael Che, of “Saturday Night Live,” also were seen at the service, which lasted about two hours. “The best way we can honor our fallen is by getting up better than we were before,” Chappelle told the crowd. “We won’t let those people die in vain.” Two attendees said they had a great time at the service this morning. “It was really fun. I actually got to be a part of the Sunday Service choir,” Chaelyn Allen said. “We been rehearsing for, like, a few days this week, so it was really fun.” “I think it was awesome, a great cause,” Shantel Wilder said. “It feels good to be a part of it.”
  • Disney is completely reinventing Epcot. At its D23 expo in Anaheim, California, this weekend, the company announced some major changes coming to the park. >> Read more trending news  The company kicked off its announcements with Journey of Water, Inspired by 'Moana.' The attraction will let guests 'interact with magical, living water in a beautiful and inspiring setting.' The upcoming 'Guardians of the Galaxy' ride finally has a name. The company announced it will be called 'Guardians of the Galaxy': Cosmic Rewind. It will feature 'the first reverse launch into space.' In the park's Mission Space pavilion, the company announced a new restaurant called Space 220. It will open this winter and is described as 'an out-of-this-world culinary experience with celestial panorama of a space station, including daytime and nighttime views of Earth from 220 miles up.' The United Kingdom pavilion in the World Showcase will welcome the first attraction inspired by 'Mary Poppins' in Cherry Tree Lane, the company announced. We don't know a lot about this attraction other than it will be the first for the United Kingdom pavilion. The park also announced a new pavilion at World Celebration. It will be the home base for Epcot's signature festivals, providing a view of the World Showcase. The company said it will be a three-level structure and will become a new icon for Epcot. Finally, the company announced a new nighttime spectacular called 'HarmonioUS.' It is said to be the largest nighttime show created for a Disney park. Disney said it will celebrate how the music of Disney inspires people around the world. For more information, visit the Disney Parks Blog.
  • Firefighters came to the rescue of a dog that got stuck on a roof overnight Saturday in Everett, Washington.  South County Fire tweeted that the dog went out an open window onto a narrow roof and couldn't turn around to get back in. Firefighters were able to get the scared pup back inside.
  • The Cocoa Beach Police Department arrested Joseph McKinney, 40, of Texas, after he allegedly threatened to conduct a shooting at a hotel. >> Read more trending news  Investigators said McKinney was taken into custody after he got off a cruise ship at Port Canaveral on Sunday morning.  Police responded to the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront Hotel on Friday after the hotel received an electronic guest review expressing McKinney’s displeasure about his recent stay, according to police. Officers said McKinney’s review contained threatening language and made reference to an “active shooter style” event at the hotel. McKinney was charged with making written threats to kill, do bodily injury or conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism. He was transported to the Brevard County Jail and is being held on $25,000 bail.
  • Atlanta police last week released a video showing a suspect in a shooting at a block party at the Atlanta University Center that wounded four students. No one has stepped forth to identify that man, so on Sunday, Atlanta City Council member Cleta Winslow said she is adding $3,000 more in reward money to better incentivize someone’s good citizenship. The reward will now be $5,000. “This is personal,” Winslow said after a short press conference near the AUC campus. “Parents send their children to our town. They need assurance that they are safe.” Four women — two students from Spelman College, two from Clark Atlanta University — were shot or grazed Tuesday night outside the Robert W. Woodruff Library during a party before the first day of school. Police believe the young man in the video was involved in a confrontation in which four or five shots were fired in the plaza crowded with 200 students. Police said that perhaps a second possible gunman was targeted by the suspect but that the women were not intended targets. One of the victims was shot in the chest, but all are expected to recover. Police said they are getting some tips but have not gotten enough information to make an arrest. Longtime civic activist Michael Langford said, “I want to appeal to the community at large because no crime occurs without someone knowing, hearing or seeing something. “And while the money is there, I want to appeal to your moral conscience to come forward because the only thing it takes for evil to exist in our community it for good people to sit back and do nothing.” Winslow said she had just met with student leaders to assure them of their safety. Both Atlanta and Atlanta University Center police said they have beefed up patrols in the areas that area. » RELATED: Concerns on Atlanta campuses after shooting » RELATED: Tighter campus security