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Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt.

Last week Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt attracted national attention when he announced: ‘I’m not kneeling for the flag.’ The message came as part of a tweet storm that addressed a range of issues, including NFL players getting taken advantage of financially.

More recently Tuitt elaborated on his position, this time via Instagram, explaining why he stands for the flag while also adding thoughts about police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Specifically, he said: “I stand for the flag because I am a proud American. Like previously stated, this country has provided and rewarded my family in so many ways through our perseverance and hard work. I will continue to honor my country and be an example to my children to stand for what they believe in.”

Stephon Tuitt on Police Brutality, Black Lives Matter

Then Tuitt went on to elaborate on related issues, saying: “In regards to police brutality and the black lives matter movement I will support these causes through other means. It’s unfortunate that a couple unprofessional individuals have caused such havoc on our country and damaged the trust of its citizens. I will not let these individuals steer me from the fact on the opportunity this country gives for everyone….”

I stand for the flag because I am a proud American. Like previously stated, this country has provided and rewarded my family in so many ways through our perseverance and hard work. I will continue to honor my…

— stephon tuitt (@DOCnation_7) July 30, 2020

It’s possible that Tuitt went out of his way to address police brutality in the wake of pushback—including pushback from Pittsburgh Steelers teammate Zach Banner, who responded to Tuitt’s tweet with a response of his own, one that pretty much speaks for itself:

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion

But do not associate this message with me, or others who will decide to kneel

Because Breonna Taylor’s killers are still free

And George Floyd and Manuel Ellis’s last words were, “I CANT BREATHE!”


— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) July 27, 2020

Even Mark Madden of 105.9 The X got in the middle of the Tuitt-Banner dust-up, coming down on the side of Tuitt, saying: “Looks like social-media conflict b/w [Tuitt] & [Banner] on the ‘take a knee’ issue. I’m going to side w/the guy who hasn’t been cut so many times it’s a wonder he ain’t bled to death.”


You’re not realizing what you’re doing with this tweet Mark. You’re actively making something about protesting, and changing our country’s systemic issues that’s killing my friends and family more about sports… You took it too far this time… I’m done responding to you. Foreve

— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) July 28, 2020

Madden is, of course, referring to the fact that Banner bounced around the league for the first year-and-a-half of his NFL career, spending time with the Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers before finding a home with the Steelers. (Though I’m not sure what one issue has to do with the other.)

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Tuitt Returning from Torn Pectoral, Banner Competing for Right Tackle Job

Anyway, both Tuitt and Banner have more to worry about than a social-media conflict. Tuitt is working to return from a torn pectoral that cost him the majority of the 2019 season. He was recently labeled a ‘dark horse’ candidate to become the very best interior defensive lineman in the NFL in 2020.

As for Banner, he’s aiming to win the starting right tackle job, which ought to be between him and Chuks Okorafor, though the coaching staff could also choose to move Matt Feiler back to right tackle if neither Banner nor Okorafor impresses enough to start. Banner will earn $1.75 million in salary this season and is scheduled to hit unrestricted free-agency in 2021, so winning a starting job would earn him a huge pay raise beginning next year, either in Pittsburgh or elsewhere.

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Defense remains a disaster, Giants bats wake up too late in loss to the Astros

In his first three starts this season, rookie Logan Webb served as the Giants’ stopper, leading the club to three much-needed wins that followed tough losses.

In his fourth outing of the summer, Webb learned that he can’t carry the team by himself. Not when the defense behind him won’t do its part stopping anything.

The worst defense in the major leagues had one of its worst innings of the year with Webb on the mound in Houston on Thursday, committing two errors, whiffing on a relatively routine grounder that was ruled a single and failing to quickly turn a potential double play.

A four-run bottom of the third doomed Webb and the Giants at MinuteMaid Park against the Astros as San Francisco fell four games under .500 following a 6-4 defeat.

For the second consecutive day, the Giants’ lineup was an early no-show as the team had three errors by the time the offense recorded its first hit against Astros starter Lance McCullers, Jr. in the top of the seventh inning.

Right fielder Austin Slater prevented the Giants from being shut out with a solo home run in the eighth –his third homer of the road trip– before San Francisco’s lineup made things slightly uncomfortable for the Astros and manager Dusty Baker with four hits and a walk in the ninth.

Donovan Solano’s second double of the night and a two-run single from Brandon Crawford helped the Giants bring the go-ahead run to the plate against Ryan Pressly, but pinch-hitter Evan Longoria flew out to center field on the first pitch he saw to seal the defeat.

Sloppy defense has been a calling card of the 2020 Giants as they entered Monday’s series opener in Houston with a major league-worst 18 errors. That number doesn’t account for several plays similar to the Solano failed to make in the third inning when he tried to range into the hole between third base and shortstop to stop a Jose Altuve groundball that rolled into left field.

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It does, of course, include all of the catcher’s interferences the Giants have been called for this season, which is now up to four after rookie Chadwick Tromp committed his first interference of the season on a play that should have gone down as a Josh Reddick ground out on Monday.

Giants manager Gabe Kapler said he and catching coach Craig Albernaz have instructed Tromp and fellow catcher Tyler Heineman to move closer to the plate so they can better frame breaking balls, but the duo has now combined for four costly interference calls that make up nearly half of all catcher’s interferences (9) recorded in the majors this season.

The specific error itself is something of an unknown concept to Giants fans as Buster Posey entered the year with three catchers interferences in his career and none in his last six seasons.

Like the other mind-boggling defensive miscues the Giants have committed this season, their fans are now all too familiar with the ruling.

When Posey elected to sit out the 2020 season, the Giants assumed their defense would suffer. When Kapler chose to give Evan Longoria a day off at third base, he assume everything would work out well.

Kapler started Solano, one of the National League’s hottest hitters, at third base Monday, but the move didn’t take long to backfire. In the bottom of the third, an errant throw from Solano to Tromp hit baserunner Alex Bregman and led to an Astros run while a botched groundball in the bottom of the fourth allowed Myles Straw to reach base and forced Kapler to remove Webb following just 3 1/3 innings of work.

Solano’s failure to reel in Altuve’s grounder didn’t show up in the box score, but the two errors he did make –one fielding and one throwing– did.

Kapler’s decision to leave Webb in to open the fourth inning was a mild surprise considering the 23-year-old right-hander needed 36 pitches to complete a third inning in which he actually threw the ball quite well. The big blow in the frame, a two-run double from Michael Brantley, came on a 68.9-mile per hour blooper that bounced off the foul line chalk in shallow left field before caroming into the stands.

A day after Kapler took Giants veteran starter Kevin Gausman out of a game at Dodger Stadium when he had thrown just 80 pitches in 6 1/3 innings, Webb began the fourth with 70 pitches.

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