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'SNL' premiere: Baldwin's Trump slams San Juan mayor, NFL protesters

"Saturday Night Live" is back – and the iconic comedy show doesn't appear to be giving President Donald Trump a free pass anytime soon.

The season 43 premiere kicked off with a fresh skewering of the president, starting with his response to the devastation in Puerto Rico and ensuing feud with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz.

>> Watch the sketch here

In the cold open, Melissa Villaseñor, playing Cruz, called Alec Baldwin's Trump, pleading for federal assistance. He promised to send aid by "Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest."

"Mr. President, that's not good enough," Villaseñor-as-Cruz replied.

"Well, you should've paid your bills," Baldwin's Trump fired back. "FEMA takes a few days unless you join FEMA Prime."

Baldwin-as-Trump said he wants to help Puerto Rico, "but we have to take care of America first."

"Wait, you do know we're a U.S. territory, don't you?" Villaseñor's Cruz asked.

Baldwin's Trump, mouth agape, hesitated before stammering, "I mean, I do, but not many know that, no."

He later hung up on her, saying, "Wow, that woman was so nasty." 

>> Watch a clip here

The sketch then tackled Trump's recent response to NFL players' national anthem protests.

"I'm a little embarrassed that I said it's a black-and-white issue," said Aidy Bryant, playing Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. "I should've said it's a black-versus-white issue."

>> Read more trending news

"It's disgraceful," Baldwin's Trump responded. "You know, I actually love football. I could've played. People say I remind them of an NFL player because I'm combative, I like to win and I might have a degenerative brain disease."

>> See the clip here

The cold open also took aim at Attorney General Jeff Sessions (Kate McKinnon), who popped up in the Oval Office and hopped into the president's lap to get back on his good side.

"I might look adorable, but I'm frightening," McKinnon's Sessions said.

>> See the GIF here

Much to McKinnon-as-Sessions' dismay, Trump cut their chat short for dinner with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (Alex Moffat).

"Sir, are you really leaving with him?" McKinnon's Sessions asked.

"I told you, I'm nothing if not loyal," Baldwin's Trump replied. "Come over here, Chuck. We're both New Yorkers, we both enjoy a good slice, we never go to Times Square and we love saying ..."

McKinnon and Moffat joined Baldwin to finish the sentence: "Live from New York, it's Saturday night!"

Deshaun Watson gives first NFL paycheck to stadium workers affected by Hurricane Harvey

Houston Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson donated his first NFL game check Wednesday afternoon to three team employees who lost everything during Hurricane Harvey.

>> Watch the video here

The three employees Watson helped work in the team cafeteria at NRG Stadium. With a base salary of $465,000 in 2017, the former Clemson star and 2017 first-round pick is set to earn $29,062.50 per game. Because of Watson’s generosity, each of the women received close to $10,000.

>> How to help Hurricane Maria victims: Where to donate, how to volunteer and more

“For what y’all do for us every day, and never complain. I really appreciate y’all,” Watson told the employees, according to HoustonTexans.com. “I wanted to give my first game check to y’all to help y’all out in some type of way. Hopefully that helps you out and helps you get back on your feet. Anything else y’all need, I’m always here to help.”

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

For those who have followed Watson’s football career, this act of kindness should come as no surprise.

>> Read more trending news

Watson has settled in nicely as Houston’s starting quarterback. He had an impressive performance in his second career NFL start against the New England Patriots in Week 3, and his play will likely be the deciding factor in whether the Texans return to the postseason in 2017.

Firefighter relieved of duty after saying NFL anthem protesters should be 'shot in the head'

A former Earle, Arkansas, firefighter was relieved of his duties after commenting on NFL players kneeling for the national anthem.

>> Watch the news report here

In a Facebook post, Jonathan Marotti wrote:

"U want my honest opinion about these worthless piece of c**p professional football basketball and baseball wannabe players i think trump should post snipers at every game and each player that takes a knee or sits in the lockeroom should b shot in the head i have no sympathy for them and no respect and as for the rest of u obama lovin snowflakes out here protesting and makin idiots out of urselves u should b shot on sight to if u disagree with me then dont let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya."

>> Pennsylvania fire chief out of a job after racial slur directed at Steelers' Tomlin

The post has since been removed or made private.

The Earle Fire Department relieved Marotti of his duties indefinitely for the inappropriate comments.

Mayor Sherman Smith said the post is not representative of the city of Earle.

>> Live updates: Trump slams NFL players for national anthem protests, athletes react

“I hope the people don't connect that with the attitude or tone of the city of Earle because it certainly does not display it in any way,” Smith said.

When asked whether the city has a current social media policy, he said, "No," adding he will now look to initiate one.

>> PHOTOS: NFL takes a stand on football Sunday

“Especially with it being the thing of the day and people really relying on that to a large degree, I think it would be a good move to go ahead and adopt one,” Smith said.

While Marotti apologizes to those who he offended, those who live in Earle agree with the right to free speech but in this case disagree with how it was carried out.

>> Read more trending news

“There's enough stuff going on out here already,” said resident William Davis. 

Marotti issued the following public apology Tuesday: 

"This is jonathan marotti id like to take this time to apologize to everyone i offended with my facebook post it was wrong and childish and i made a mistake that i cant erase id like to apologize to my family and my friends and most of all to the earle fd and the city of earle and to fire fighters all over this great land im truely embarrassed about this and i hope u all can forgive me."

Pennsylvania fire chief out of a job after racial slur directed at Steelers' Tomlin

The Cecil Township Board of Supervisors in Pennsylvania has removed Paul Smith as fire chief of the Muse Volunteer Fire Company.

>> Watch the news report here

In a statement, the board said, "Effective immediately, Paul Smith is no longer the volunteer fire chief in Muse."

>> Live updates: Trump slams NFL players for national anthem protests, athletes react

Firefighters who want to remain anonymous told WPXI that it's not been an easy day for them; they have been receiving threats at the other two fire stations in town, as well.

>> Photos: NFL takes a stand on football Sunday

Several Washington County firefighters contacted WPXI, saying they weren't comfortable with a comment made by the Cecil fire chief on Facebook during Sunday’s Steelers game.

>> Villanueva regrets being the lone Steelers player to stand for the national anthem

On Monday, WPXI reached out to Cecil Township's board of supervisors, who said they are deeply disturbed by the comment.

>> WWII veteran, 97, kneels in support of NFL's national anthem protests

"The Cecil Township Board of Supervisors is deeply disturbed by the comments made by volunteer Chief Smith, and in no way, shape or form condone his comments,” said the township manager.

>> On WPXI.com: Pittsburgh Steelers lineman, veteran Alejandro Villanueva's jersey listed as top seller

Smith was commenting on a post about the Steelers’ decision not to participate in the national anthem on the field and wrote, "Tomlin just added himself to the list of no good [N-words]. Yes I said it.”

>> Tom Brady calls Trump's comments on national anthem protests 'divisive'

Smith was captain of Cecil Township Volunteer Fire Department No. 2 in Muse. He is currently out of the country on vacation, but said he regrets the statement.

>> LeBron James again calls Trump a 'bum,' salutes NFL national anthem protests

"I am embarrassed at this," he told WPXI. "I want to apologize. I was frustrated and angry at the Steelers not standing for the anthem. ... This had nothing to do with my fire department. I regret what I said."

>> Cowboys, coach Jason Garrett, owner Jerry Jones take a knee before national anthem in Phoenix

Dylan Parseo, who is the son of the former police chief of Muse Fire Company No. 2, believes Smith crossed the line.

>> Read more trending news

"I'm completely upset. Especially for a town like this, coming from the fire chief. That's disrespectful in my eyes," Parseo said. 

LeBron James again calls Trump a 'bum,' salutes NFL national anthem protests

Basketball star LeBron James doubled down on his criticism of President Donald Trump in a press conference with reporters in Cleveland on Monday after Trump criticized James’s friend and on-court rival, Stephen Curry.

>> Live updates: Trump slams NFL players for national anthem protests, athletes react

“U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!” James wrote in a weekend tweet.

>> See the tweet here

Given the chance to soften his statements, James, once again, called Trump a bum.

>> Watch the moment here

“He is a bum,” James told reporters during the Cleveland Cavaliers’s media day. “He doesn’t understand the power that he has for being the leader of this beautiful country. He doesn’t understand how many kids, no matter the race, look up to the president.”

>> Read more trending news

During his conversation Monday with reporters, James praised the NFL players who chose to silently protest before Sunday’s game. At one point, he chastised Trump by saying that he for “damn sure” didn’t run the country.

“The people run this country, not one individual, and damn sure not him,” James said.

>> Click here to watch

Tom Brady calls Trump's comments on national anthem protests 'divisive'

President Donald Trump has not been shy about pushing back on NFL players protesting the national anthem. As a result, the sports world has been set on fire with various players, coaches, front offices and even full leagues responding in kind. On Monday morning, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady followed suit.

>> Live updates: Trump slams NFL players for national anthem protests, athletes react

In response to Trump, with whom Brady is famously friendly, the legendary signal-caller took a stance in an interview with WEEI (via ESPN.com):

>> PHOTOS: NFL takes a stand on football Sunday

“I certainly disagree with what he said. I thought it was just divisive.

“I just want to support my teammates. I’m never one that says, ‘Oh, that’s wrong or that’s right.’ But I do believe in what I believe in, and I believe in bringing people together and respect and love and trust. Those are the values that my parents instilled in me and that’s how I try to live every day.

“I’ve been blessed to be in a locker room with guys from all over the United States over the course of my career. Some of my great friends are from Florida, Virginia, New York, Montana, Colorado, Texas. I think one thing about football is that it brings so many guys together, guys that you would never have the opportunity to be around, whether it was in college and all the way into the pros. We’re all different. We’re all unique. That’s what makes us all so special.”

>> Read more trending news

Brady did not blast Trump in the same way that many have, but he was plain in his comments about disagreeing and referring to Trump’s sentiments as “divisive.”

Read more here.

Pharrell Williams takes a knee in solidarity with NFL national anthem protests

Rapper and singer Pharrell Williams took a knee on Sunday night during a charity concert in Charlottesville, Virginia, to show his support for NFL players who knelt during the national anthem to bring attention to racial injustice.

>> Live updates: Trump slams players, NFL responds by taking a knee

Dave Matthews’ Concert for Charlottesville: An Evening of Music and Unity was held on Sunday night in the wake of the clashes last month after a rally by white nationalists.

>> PHOTOS: NFL takes a stand on football Sunday

“If I want to get on my knees right now for the people of my city, for the people of my state, that’s what this flag is for,” Williams told the crowd, according to Billboard.

The concert was held on the campus at the University of Virginia and was free to members of the Charlottesville and university communities. Justin Timberlake, Chris Stapleton and Ariana Grande were among the performers.

>> On Rare.us: Jennifer Lopez will donate $1 million to aid hurricane relief in Puerto Rico

Williams joined Stevie Wonder in showing his solidarity with the protest after Wonder started his show in New York City by taking a knee.

>> Stevie Wonder takes 'both knees' after Trump slams NFL stars' national anthem protests

“Tonight, I’m taking a knee for America,” Wonder said, according to People. “Not just one knee, but I’m taking both knees. Both knees in prayer for our planet, our future, leaders of our world and our globe. Amen.”

>> See the clip here

>> Read more trending news

Many celebrities, including “Will and Grace” star Megan MullallyDiddy and the members of the band Pearl Jam joined the protest on social media, writing, “#TakeAKnee.”

WWII veteran, 97, kneels in support of NFL's national anthem protests

A photo of a World War II veteran kneeling in solidarity with NFL players quickly went viral amid Sunday's national anthem protests.

>> Live updates: Trump slams players, NFL responds by taking a knee

>> PHOTOS: NFL takes a stand on football Sunday

According to the Kansas City Star, Brennan Gilmore tweeted the snapshot of his 97-year-old grandfather, John Middlemas of Willard, Missouri, early Sunday. By Monday morning, it had been shared more than 100,000 times.

>> See the tweet here

"Those kids have every right to protest," Middlemas said, according to Gilmore's tweet.

Gilmore added: "Grandpa has been an ally to the civil rights movement for many years. He's an amazing man always on the side of justice."

>> See the tweet here

In an interview with the Springfield News-Leader, Middlemas said he wanted to promote peace.

>> Read more trending news

"I wanted to communicate what I always told to my grandkids and everybody else: When they'd go to bed at night, we'd tell the kids we wanted to be like Jesus," he said, adding, "I'm trying to say that you have to love everybody. ... We don't kill people. We want to make people live."

Read more here or here.

No Cincinnati Bengals kneel for national anthem; many players, coaches lock arms

Unlike many players across the NFL, no Cincinnati Bengals kneeled during the national anthem Sunday in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Instead, many players and coaches stood with their arms locked.

>> On DaytonDailyNews.com: Marvin Lewis explains anthem display

The team released a statement shortly after kickoff:

>> PHOTOS: NFL takes a stand on football Sunday

>> Live updates: Trump slams players, NFL responds by taking a knee

“Football and politics don’t mix easily. Fans come to NFL games to watch great competition on the playing field and that’s where our focus should be.”

>> On DaytonDailyNews.com: Several Browns continue practice of kneeling during anthem

Demonstrations increased across the league Sunday following President Donald Trump’s comments on Friday. Speaking at a campaign rally for Alabama Sen. Luther Strange in Hunstville, Ala., Trump said “Wouldn’t you love one of the NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a [expletive] off the field right now. Out. He’s fired!’”

>> Read more trending news

Reaction to the comments was swift with numerous players chiming in on Twitter and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell releasing a statement that read, “The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”

Seahawks' Pete Carroll responds to Trump's condemnation of national anthem protests

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has responded to President Donald Trump's suggestion that NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. Trump also encouraged spectators to walk out in protest.

>> Trump withdraws White House invitation to Golden State Warriors

The statement from Carroll said:

>> Trump continues railing against protesting NFL, NBA players

"In this incredibly polarizing time, there’s no longer a place to sit silently. It’s time to take a stand. We stand for love and justice and civility. We stand for our players and their constitutional rights, just as we stand for equality for all people. We stand against divisiveness and hate and dehumanization. We are in the midst of a tremendously challenging time, a time longing for healing. Change needs to happen; we will stand for change. May we all have the courage to take a stand for our beliefs while not diminishing the rights of others as this is the beating heart of our democracy. As a team, we are united in a mission to bring people together to help create positive change. We can no longer remain silent. I will stand with our players."

>> Bruce Maxwell first MLB player to kneel during national anthem

The statement was released through Pete Carroll's Twitter account Saturday night: 

>> See the tweet here

In an extended riff during a freewheeling rally speech in Alabama on Friday night, Trump bemoaned that football games have become less violent.

>> Roger Goodell calls Trump’s attack on NFL players’ protests ‘divisive’

"They're ruining the game," he complained.

After Trump made his remarks, Seattle Seahawks players took to social media to respond. See the responses embedded below. 

>> Donald Trump says NFL anthem protesters should be ‘off the field’ and fired

“The behavior of the President is unacceptable and needs to be addressed,” Richard Sherman wrote. “If you do not Condemn this divisive Rhetoric you are Condoning it!”

Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett responded Saturday afternoon. 

>> Read more trending news

"My mom is a beautiful lady she has never been a (expletive)," Bennett wrote. 

His response comes after Trump said, "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you'd say, 'Get that son of a (expletive) off the field right now. Out! He's fired."

Read more here.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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