My Friday Five: On Real Talk, A Twitter Character Boost & Saving Cash

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1. We Need to Talk

I’d like to take a moment to address the situation regarding NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem. Frankly, I don’t know where to begin. I guess I’ll start like this: My paternal grandfather served proudly in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He served as a crew member aboard the U.S.S. Chicago. My grandfather - just like the millions of other active duty members and veterans - fight or have fought not for a piece of fabric or a song. Rather, the freedoms and values that comprise the fabric of our country.

Saying NFL players are wrong, out of place, or even stupid for exercising their right to a peaceful protest is completely misguided. I’ve seen many people say that these protests are not occurring “at the right time and place.” This, in my view, is a cop out. Peaceful protests such as this as well as Rosa Parks on a bus and the Woolworth’s sit-ins are designed to stir emotion in an effort to bring about change. They’re not supposed to be at a time of convenience. If those against the protests can’t see that it’s unfortunate.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin brought argued on ABC’s This Week that players wishing to participate in protests should “do so on their own time.” I’m no Constitutional scholar, but the First Amendment doesn’t specify that your right to free speech is guaranteed only at certain times. Further, Catherine J. Ross, a professor at The George Washington Law School, said in an interview with For The Win that the Supreme Court has held since World War II that “citizens have the right not to salute the flag as a matter of conscience and clearly, by analogy, that would apply to not participating in the singing of the National Anthem.”

Bottomline: we must realize that our country still experiences systemic issues, particularly when it comes to race relations. We also need to eliminate hate in our heart of hearts and come together as a cohesive unit instead to protect the very values that are the cornerstones of our nation. We need to stop labeling the protests “hissy fits,” stop demonizing those who choose to protest (as well as those who support them) and understand the purpose behind it. My words may not sit well with you but this is how I see it. I’ve already been called a “low life, un-American” for expressing the same thoughts on Facebook. But let me say this, comments like that add nada, zilch, nothing to the conversation and I am every bit of the American I’ve always been, just like the NFL players who choose to protest. I also know my grandfather would be proud.

We all can and should do better.

2. Twitter Character Boost

Twitter officials made an interesting decision on Tuesday to test run a doubling of the character limit of posts; from 140 to 280. The test is being conducted with a small group of users and, if successful, will expand in the near future. For one reason or another, yours truly is one of the “chosen ones” to test drive the new character limit. I have mixed feelings. I’m so used to the 140 limit that I haven’t really used the 280 characters I’ve now been granted. Also, I’ve always been a proponent of an edit feature for Tweets, which still has yet to come. I guess time will tell.

Did you get the 280-character limit? If so, what are your thoughts? Drop me a line in the comments!

3. Ibotta

I’ve always been careful with my money. Heck, my family calls me “Ebeneezer” because I’m very tight with my money. That said, I came across The Penny Hoarder, a Facebook page that includes relevant articles on how to save money. One such way is through an app called Ibotta. The app is pretty simple to use. You sign up (and get a $10 welcome bonus to boot), favorite the places you shop, and add rebates on everyday items. All that’s left is to buy those items and reap the rewards. Depending on the store rebates are manually added from the user or automatically added by the Ibotta system, There are several bonuses you can get simply by reaching milestones too. Once you reach at least $20 in rebate money, you can withdraw the funds into a Paypal or Venmo account or even withdraw in the form of a gift card from Amazon to iTunes; Uber to Applebee’s.

I’ve had Ibotta for about a month and I was already able to earn enough rebate cash to withdraw into an Amazon gift card. It saved me about half the money I would’ve paid for an order I just made. Pretty cool, eh?!? If you’re looking to save some dough, I definitely recommend Ibotta.

You can sign up here - and make sure to use my REFERRAL CODE: fidlrhw. Remember, you’ll get a $10 bonus just for signing up!

4. Bulls Fan Fest October 7

Come by Downtown Durham to help celebrate the Triple-A National Champions Durham Bulls. The organization will hold a Fall Fan Fest at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on October 7 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and will include batting practice on the field, items for sale at the Ballpark Corner Store, and a chance to get your picture with the two championship trophies. For more information, click here.

5. Wolfpack Games 2017

N.C. State Swimming and Diving held its annual Wolfpack Games tonight. The event gives fans a chance to see the 2017 squad for the first time, like similar events in college basketball. I’m stoked to go and see some of my favorite swimmers and divers - plus it’s always a fun time!

P.S. Below is a photo of swimmers: Anton Ipsen, Jack MacIntyre, Matt O'Donnell, Mason Revis, Gil Kiesler, Danny Erlenmeyer, and Lucca Martins taking part in the “Mini Open Water” event at tonight’s Wolfpack Games.

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