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I said a silent prayer Friday for those lost and their loved ones affected by 9/11. It was the 19th anniversary of that tragedy.

Amid the division of today, some of those memories of that awful day surely include the national unity created among all Americans.

Sports was one of the central aspects of that sense of unity and togetherness. Today, sports is still in the spotlight of social consciousness, but it's not the same unifying force.

Whatever side you support, that fact is not debatable. Take, for example, the moment of unity before the kickoff of the 101st NFL season. The booing from Kansas City Chiefs fans was audible to all watching.

 

Were you surprised?

Twitter, of course, blew up with expected outrage, but it's important to remember that Twitter is just a carnival fun house mirror of our society rather than a true reflection of it. Fewer than 20% of Americans are on Twitter, and the vast majority of posts on that social media platform come from a fraction of that fraction of our country.

Still, the shock and outrage over the pregame actions — and the reactions they generated — puzzled me. I mean, this country is polarized over everything, from politics to sports, to race, to chicken sandwiches and TV shows.

The Houston Texans stayed in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem and "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which is known as the Black national anthem, before joining the Chiefs at midfield for a moment to celebrate unity.

Several of the Chiefs took a knee during the anthem. That was predictable.

Anyone outraged that the kneeling generated boos hasn't been paying attention. Not sure if that outrage is disingenuous or if you've been quarantined for the last five years.

 

Tiger town

OK, between Tiger Woods on the course with Phil, Peyton and Brady, the streaming smash "Tiger King" and now the big cat on the loose around Knoxville, the only consistently smile-producing thing in 2020 is, you guessed it, tigers.

And speaking of Twitter, all it took was this monster feline roaming around Knox County like ticket hunters before an Alabama-UT game or Quentin Tarantino returning to his hometown, for the latest social media craze to hit.

Meet @knoxvilletigerr, who had more than 5,000 Twitter followers in the first 24 hours of the Cat Hunt. And it's easy to see why.

There was a red, white and blue Tiger with #NeverForget911 on Friday.

There was the boast, "Move over bigfoot, there's a new hide & seek world champion."

A picture of the Tiger and the breakout star of "Tiger King" in the middle of the scoreboard at Neyland Stadium with the message "Free my boy Joe Exotic."

Now that's the good parts of Twitter.

 

Obit observations

Of course our hearts were heavy Friday as we reflected on Sept. 11, 2001.

Normally, I look through the obits to share things that caught my eye or details of lives well-lived and lasting legacies.

Friday, though, the remembrance of loss and the tragedy of life cut too short were all over the obits. Several people in their 40s were listed. A couple more in their 30s.

But if even a word or a silent prayer can offer the smallest amount of solace to the families of Kaiden Elliott or Patricia Richardson, dear Lord let it find them.

Kaiden was 2 months old; Little Miss Patricia as she is called in her obit was 4 months.

God take care of them, and those who loved them and will miss them always.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com.

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Jay Greeson
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