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NFL Stars Defy Trump with Anthem Protests; 1 Killed, 7 Wounded by Masked Gunman in Tennessee; Phones Down, Power Out in Puerto Rico. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired September 25, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: The Trump administration announces new travel restrictions affecting several new countries. The U.S. president revives an old controversy saying NFL owners should fire players who don't stand for the national anthem. Now, dozens are kneeling in solidarity, and protests, firing right back at the president. And election fallout, a German far-right political party will be represented in parliament for the first time in half a century. These stories are all ahead here. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. We're live in Atlanta where it's just turned 1:00 in the morning. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

And we start this hour with new developments in U.S. travel restrictions. The White House unveiled fresh restrictions Sunday right after its controversial travel ban expired. The new restrictions affect people from eight countries trying to reach the U.S., including five Muslim majority countries previously covered by the ban: North Korea, Chad, and Venezuela are new to the list, but Sudan has been taken off. For more, here's our Laura Jarrett.


LAURA JARRETT, CNN REPORTER: Well, the Trump administration has unveiled new travel restrictions on certain foreign nationals from eight countries. This time, Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen, as a replacement to a certain portion of the controversial travel ban which expired on Sunday morning. Now, these new restrictions vary widely by country and it also includes a phased-in approach. So, most of the limitations won't go into effect until mid-October. For the last three months, though, the Trump administration has used an Executive Order to ban foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. unless they have a "bonafide relationship" with a person or entity here in the country, in the U.S.

Now, individuals with that bonafide exception, like if you have a grandparent here, they can still apply for visas until October 18, but after that date, the new restrictions on travel will begin. And in some instances, travel for immigrants will be broadly suspended across the board, like in North Korea, nobody can come in. Whereas others like Iran, those on student visas will be able to apply to come into the country. Now, I should mention anyone with a current visa or a green card can always come in; their documents will not be revoked. The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments on the legality of the current travel ban next month. So, that's moving full steam ahead. And President Trump, already tweeting about the ban on Sunday saying: "Make America safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country, we cannot safety vet."

ALLEN: U.S. -- that's our reporter there Laura Jarrett for us. Our Ben Wedeman joins me now from Tokyo, live with more on these new restrictions, including how they impact North Korea. And Ben, I don't recall if North Koreans, prior to this, have been allowed to travel to the United States.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, with the exception of diplomats. For instance, the foreign minister of North Korea, who was in New York last week to attend the United Nations' General Assembly. No, they haven't. In fact, they're -- to the extent that there are any North Korean tourists, they're more likely to go to neighboring China, perhaps the luckier ones as far away as Russia, but certainly not to the United States. But perhaps, given that the harsh words the North Korean foreign minister had for President Trump, he decided to include them as well just symbolically. Because, of course, remember that during the election campaign, Mr. Trump at the time did call for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.

And of course, one of the critiques of the ban, the original ban -- which was rather messily implemented back in January -- was that this was basically based on religion. Now, of course, you have two countries, Venezuela, which has a Catholic-majority, and North Korea, which officially is an atheist country, included in this new form of the ban. So, perhaps, this was one way to deflect that original criticism. But we understand that already legal challenges will be launched by rights groups in the United States. So, this is just really the beginning of this story. Natalie?

ALLEN: We'll be following it. Thank you. Ben Wedeman for us there for us there in Tokyo. Another story: the NFL is coming together in a mass rebuke to U.S. President Donald Trump. Players and some owners linked arms or kneeled in solidarity during the national anthem before every single kickoff in Sunday's game. And in Nashville, the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans stayed in their locker rooms during the national anthem, even the singer and guitarist knelt as it ended. Their protest was in response to President Trump's comments at a rally Friday night.


[01:05:24] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son of a (BLEEP) off the field right now out; he's fired. He's fired!



ALLEN: Well, they're firing back at the president. This is how it started: last year, San Francisco 49-ers Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, Number 7 there, received backlash for refusing to stand. He says it was a protest against racial injustice. Some say President Trump is stirring up the racial tension with his recent comments. The president disagrees.


TRUMP: It has nothing to do with race. I've never said anything about race. This has nothing to do with race or anything else. This has to do with respect for our country and respect for our flag.


ALLEN: CNN's Boris Sanchez has more on President Trump's response now from Washington.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The president, certainly, making this issue a focus of his Sunday, arguing that NFL owners should get together and do something about NFL players that kneel down during the national anthem. He tweeted about this several times, digging in his stance that the first vocalized during his rally in Alabama on Friday, saying that NFL owners should fire players that kneel during the anthem.

One of his tweets, he writes, "Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their national anthem or their country. NFL should change policy." Earlier in the day, he actually retweeted someone who wrote that if players boycott our anthem, fans should boycott the NFL. The president, again, making the case that American should not stand for this sort of thing. In fact, he says that the majority of people agree with him. Listen to more of what he had to say.

TRUMP: I think that the flag has to be respected. Our country has to be respected. There's plenty of room to do other things, but our country has to be respected -- and I've always felt strongly about that. And by the way, most people agree with me.

SANCHEZ: One more interesting note from one of the gaggles that the president held with the press on Sunday. He says, that race has nothing to do with this issue of players kneeling during the national anthem, that this is purely about people respecting the flag, people respecting their country. If you go back to August of last year, when Colin Kaepernick first started kneeling during the national anthem and many players followed suit, he made it very clear that the reason that he was protesting the national anthem, was because he felt that police officers in this country did not respect communities of color. So at least to many of the players, this is about race. To the president, it is apparently not.

Let's put this in context. This reigniting of a controversy by the president on Friday night and into this weekend comes at a very interesting time where the White House is dealing with a lot of issues, not only on the legislative front with another attempted repeal and replacement of Obamacare and a tax reform rollout set for later this week, but also escalating tensions with North Korea. At one point over the weekend, the president tweeting out that North Korean leadership may not be around much longer. So, it's certainly curious that the president would pick this time to focus on this issue in this way. Boris Sanchez, CNN, at the White House.


ALLEN: Joining me to talk more about this from Washington is Lynn Sweet, she's the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times. Hi, Lynn, thanks for talking with us.


ALLEN: Well, it was expected more players would join in one-knee protest during football games and the national anthem, and that's exactly what happened. You write for the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Bears linked arms today while their opponent, The Steelers, stayed in the locker room. So, did the Seattle Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans, by the way, in a show of solidarity for their teammates. And a Chicago bears statement from the chairman said, in part, the Chicago Bears are proud to support our players, coaches, and all members of our organization to bring peace and unity together through football. So, what's your reaction to this?

SWEET: My reaction is that the owners and the players appear unified. And this is -- you know, that management, you know, and staff management worker. Donald Trump has been able to unite sometimes parts of -- you know, professional football that don't always agree. What is notable here, I think, for our listeners is that even though owners grit large of National Football League in the United States often trend Republican, some of them are big donors to the party.

Trump has not found any defenders here. This is coming off as a self- inflicted wound for going after football players, and by the way, their mothers using profane language, which certainly didn't help create a calmer resolution for the administration before big game day Sunday.

[01:10:17] ALLEN: Right. You wonder if President Trump expected this reaction, that he would bring support for the players and their teammates of all color and from players beyond football now that it's spreading to basketball and baseball.

SWEET: And I expect it will go to all pro sports, maybe college level and beyond. You know, this thing, this started a few days ago on Friday at a rally. And I think this context is important, where President Trump was trying to rally the base for an inter-party feud going on in the state of Alabama, a southern state. And that's when he started going after the football players for, as we now say in America, taking the knee. By the way, I don't know why we just don't call kneeling, but taking the knee. This was just an unnecessary, divisive, polarizing line of tact discussion.

This is not the most important thing going on in the Alabama Senate race, per se. But here's another thing that's notable, Natalie, President Trump had tried to make this about the flag. The original protester who took the knee, a football player by the name of Colin Kaepernick, he was protesting the treatment of African-Americans in the United States, particularly by police in cases of police violence. This did not start as anything having to do with the American flag. And now, President Trump has twisted this protest into something that never was.

ALLEN: You wonder, how he got that wrong. But what if Mr. Trump went after players and his crude remarks he made in Alabama to his agenda, who knows? But the bottom line, it looks as though this latest attempt to defeat Obamacare may not happen. Even today, Ted Cruz, the Senator, said he isn't on board. If it goes down, is this a failure of the Republican establishment or a Donald Trump failure? How do you characterize it?

SWEET: I think it will. I think right now we have from the Sunday shows, the Republicans will fall short most likely of the 51 votes they need by the end of this month to pass it. It will be tougher after that because they would need Democrats. I think this is a failure of the Republicans to be able to craft a replacement plan that lets people understand if it's true, and, so far, it hasn't been proven, that what the Republicans have is better than what they've got.

And one other thing, we talk about this just in terms of Obamacare. But it also involves some other health benefit programs that help people, particularly seniors as they get old and need long-term care. So, this is so big and complex and so many moving parts. It is not surprising that the Republicans, who just voted on this in July, can't necessarily head into these days ahead and get any sign that they'll be able to pass it.

ALLEN: Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times, thanks for spending time with us. We appreciate you.

SWEET: Thank you.

ALLEN: Well, on that health care bill, Senate Republicans are making a last-ditch effort to retool the bill to win over members of their party. A new version of the Graham-Cassidy Bill was circulated Sunday. Senators John McCain and Rand Paul have opposed the latest effort to scrap Obamacare. Their colleagues, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, have deep reservations.

Well, German politics are going through a transformation after Sunday's general election. The anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim party alternative for Germany, or AFD, is projected to become the third largest party in the federal parliament. Protesters are furious. They chanted "Nazis out" and "refugees are welcome." This will be the first time a far-right party moves into the Bundestag in over half a century.

Meantime, it was a bittersweet victory for Angela Merkel. She's keeping her job, security a fourth term as Chancellor, but she's politically weaker now, and forming a coalition will be challenging.


ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR FOR GERMANY (through translator): These will now not be easy weeks to come. But we are the CDU and CSU Parties who know our responsibility for the country, for the program and know what is important for the people. And in this spirit, we will master the coming weeks. I am sure of that.


ALLEN: To talk more about it, CNN's Senior International Correspondent, Fred Pleitgen, joins us now live in Berlin. It is a new day there, a Monday morning, and Germans facing a new future, for sure.

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that certainly, at least in part, it's going to be a different future than many of them had envisioned. And it is indeed daybreak here in Berlin. It's a gloomy day here in the German capital, and certainly and most probably, also the way that many politicians of the established parties, certainly, and Angela Merkel's party and the Social Democrats, will be feeling this morning as they wake up. And I have Dominic Thomas from UCLA with me again. Thank joining again. So, Angela Merkel presumably will have had breakfast by now. How do you think that she's feeling on this morning? She must have a little bit of a political hangover after last night.

[01:15:29] DOMINIC THOMAS, CHAIR FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH AND FRANCOPHONE STUDIES AT UCLA: Absolutely. I'm not sure whether the outcome wasn't, in some ways, predictable. The polls were right. Certainly, one could see that support for the CDU, CSU and the SPD coalition had been dropping over the past few weeks, and the outcome was there. Six parties will now be entering the Bundestag, and Angela Merkel finds herself considerably weakened in the aftermath of this election.

PLEITGEN: If we look at all of this on the international stage, you know, there are so many people around the world in the U.S., other countries as well, who say, you know, they have Donald Trump. In Britain, you have an unstable situation. Angela Merkel always seems to be stability. But do you think there's a different view of her internationally than maybe here at home?

THOMAS: Right. I think that the -- it's interesting because polls elections won on domestic issues. The more the campaign focused on Angela Merkel in the international context, particularly with reference to say Brexit, to the Trump election, and to the rise of the far-right in France, Angela Merkel looked like a responsible leader that was going to provide stability and continuity for Germany.

However, on the domestic front, political parties, especially the far- right AFD, were able to shape the discussion around a series of domestic problems, such as immigration, the refugee crisis, Islam, and Turkey. And we saw this in the big televised debate between her and her coalition partner Martin Schultz. So, the more the international focus was there the more it helped her. But ultimately, the campaign weighed in on those set of domestic issues. PLEITGEN: The AFD is not just in parliament, it's actually the third

strongest party in the German parliament. Do you still think that this was more a protest vote or do you think that this is a real shifting in political alliances here in this country?

THOMAS: It's hard to ultimately answer that question. If we look at the statistics, for example, for the east of Germany, in fact, the AFD is the second party that's done well. There are a couple of interesting indicators. They did extraordinarily well in the CSU area. So, this is Angela Merkel's sister party.

PLEITGEN: And this is where the conservatives in Germany are even more conservative in most other places. But also, a part of Germany that has borne the brunt, if you will, of that mass immigration that came here in 2015. Do you think that was a factor?

THOMAS: That's absolutely a factor. And I think that the AFD has been quite skillful at, sort of, concealing their private and sort of persona and arguing around these questions of German identity, Islam, the Turkish question, and these kinds of issues. 87 percent of people, however, did not vote for the AFD. It is a party that is only four years old, and it is clear that many members of this party are not racist, xenophobes, and intolerant people. But they have found, in recent years, that the SPD, CBU, CSU coalition has perhaps ignored a range of social issues that were important to them. I think that the gay marriage legislation, and shifted some conservative policies towards them. And we do see that the major drain of votes towards the AFD is from the SPD and the CBU. The question and the challenge for the AFD are how do you go from being a 4-year-old party towards establishing yourself in the Bundestag that you'll be in for the first time.

PLEITGEN: What does Angela Merkel do now? I mean, people keep talking about the Jamaica coalition, which is her party, which has the color black, the Democrats, the Green Party, and then the liberals, which have the color yellow, which make up the color of the Jamaican flag -- that's why they have that name. But these are parties that are necessary in the same -- on the same page on a lot of issues.

THOMAS: Right. I mean, she's been pushed into a corner because she said during the campaign that she would not work with the left, (INAUDIBLE), and she would not work with the AFD. And FDP, they're coalition partner with this terrible, his worst performance in history has said it is not interested in forming a coalition that leaves here -- in other words, with the greens, and with the FDP.

Now, these parties have very different views on finance, the European Union integration and other social matters, minimum wage and so on. It's going to be extraordinarily difficult for them to form a coalition and to agree moving forward on the kind of parameters of this new political party. So, great challenges ahead.

PLEITGEN: Major challenges and certainly on this day, Natalie, it would seem a chancellor that was potentially weaker in the next four years that she has been in the past four years. And will definitely have a tall task ahead to maintain some of that leadership that she's had in Europe and indeed on the international stage. Natalie?

ALLEN: All right. Frederick Pleitgen for us there in Berlin. A gloomy Monday. Thank you, Fred.

[01:20:00] Well, despite international opposition, Iraqi Kurds are going forward with a controversial vote. We'll tell you why the U.S., U.K., and Turkey are concerned about it in a live report from Irbil right after this.


KATE RILEY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kate Riley with your CNN WORLD SPORT headline. Justin Thomas has won the biggest prize in gold, claiming the FedEx Cup, with it the $10 million bonus for the second place finished on toward championship. The tournament went to a little- known Xander Schauffele, who took the title with this happened the Birdie on 18. However, we're sure Justin Thomas will be more than happy to take second place giving him just enough to agile, since close friend Jordan Spieth, the $10 million FedEx Cup.

In the NFL, players from several teams have been taking a knee or staying in the locker room during the national anthem in a show of unity among the team, coaches, and owners after President Donald Trump's call for players who won't stand for the national anthem to be fired.

Elsewhere, and we're enjoying a new tennis event this weekend. And the early reaction indicates that this's been a success. The Laver Cup is a team event pitting the best of Europe against the best players from around the world. In the end, Roger Federer, brought home the victory for team Europe, edging out the oozing Nick Kyrgios in a tough battle. Look what it means to him. Cheers from Kyrgios, the guy who's openly said that he doesn't care about tennis. Europe wins the inaugural Laver Cup title and congratulations to them. And that's a look at all your sports headlines. I'm Kate Riley.

ALLEN: Polls are open in Iraqi Kurdistan, and millions of Iraqi Kurds are expected to vote on an independence referendum. The U.S., the U.K., Iran, and Turkey all oppose the referendum. They're worried it could spark fresh violence. The U.S. backs Kurdish fighters in the battle against ISIS militants. Turkey fears unrest among its own Kurdish minorities. Nima Elbagir is in Irbil, Iraq and joins now covering this story. Nima, this referendum reminds the world, perhaps, of the complexities of this region.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And also, Natalie, the price that those involved in this battle against ISIS as part of this anti-terror coalition, hope to exact. Kurdistan, of course, has been a key ally. The Peshmerga fighting forces have been key players in pushing ISIS back for much of this territory, and they have always said that however inopportune their fight for statehood is, that this is one that they are unwilling to back down from. Take a look at this, Natalie.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) [01:25:18] ELBAGIR: Kurdish forces keeping watch. A bulwark against the remaining pockets of is resistance. Just a little way down the road, a busy post has sprung out where once were booby traps. Less than a year ago, this was all ISIS territory. Now you can see it's a key artillery, following people and goods between federal Iraq and the Kurdistan region. This is also, potentially, the location of what could be the world's newest border. As of 6:00 this evening, the Post Commander, Lt. Col. Mohammed Yousuf, has received instructions to shut it down for the foreseeable future.

LT. COL. MOHAMMED YOUSUF, PESHMERGA FORCES (through translator): The Peshmerga sacrificed a lot. We've been like a thirsty man desperate for water. That's how we've long for freedom. We've long for our own state, for our own country.

ELBAGIR: All around the Kurdish regional camp, posters, campaign slogans. This is referendum centuries in the making. All of which in Kirkuk is a part of Iraq's oil industry that lies at the heart of the tussle over territory. Kirkuk's governor has instated a nightly curfew. This city still bears the scars of ISIS, and its people are now bracing themselves once more. Tribal Leader, Burhan Mezhar, is showing me the territory in Kirkuk province, still under ISIS control -- more than half.

SHEIKH BURHAN MAZHAR, TRIBAL LEADER (through translator): To be honest, in Kirkuk, it's not the Kurdish authorities or the officials we are concerned about. But there are lots of out of control elements.

ELBAGIR: Have you personally been threatened?

MAZHAR: The threats are ongoing. We are constantly under threat, and at risk of targeting. I can only pray that this will end and God will bring peace and stability to the whole of Iraq.

ELBAGIR: Along the road to Mosul, if the Kurds have their way, it'll run parallel to an international border complicating the fight against ISIS. The worry that ISIS could exploit the instability. Those go at the colonel, rushes those concerns aside.

YOUSUF: We paid for this in blood and we are prepared to sacrifice even more.

ELBAGIR: The Kurds, it seems, are tired of being told to wait. If not now, they say, then when?


ELBAGIR: The Iraqi government, Natalie, has called for a boycott of Kurdistan's oil industry. They are saying that there will be consequences to this referendum going ahead. Iran and Kurdistan's neighbor Turkey have also warned that if this happens, the Kurds must face the reality of what they have brought. And yet, this morning, polls are already open. The Kurdish regional government says what it's looking for is a mandate. What they're looking for is to prove that the Kurdish people are ready for independence, that they are ready for statehood, and that they'll do that in spite of what the regional partners, in spite of what the world is saying. Natalie?

ALLEN: Yes, as you reported, they said if not now, then when? We know you'll be covering the outcome for us. Nima Elbagir for us in Irbil. Thank you, Nima.

[01:28:40] Donald Trump is sparring with the National Football League. Just ahead, how members of the league are responding to the U.S. president.


[01:32:12] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen.

Here are the top stories this hour.


ALLEN: NFL football is getting political, as players and some owners openly protested recent remarks from the U.S. president. On Sunday, he reiterated his thoughts about players kneeling during the national anthem. In a tweet, he said, "If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our flag and country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend."

Players are saying not so fast to the president. Owners as well. They responded by kneeling or linking arms at all 14 games on Sunday. All but one player from the Pittsburgh Steelers stayed in the locker room during the anthem. Their opponents, the Chicago Bears, linked arms.

The Steelers' head coach explained his team's unusual decision.


MIKE TOMLIN, COACH, PITTSBURGH STEELERS: We're not participating in the anthem today. Not to be disrespectful to the anthem, to remove ourselves from the circumstance. People shouldn't have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn't be forced to choose sides. If a guy feels a need to do something, he shouldn't be separated from his teammate who chooses not to. We're not participating today. We're going to be 100 percent. We came here to play a football game. That's our intentions and we're going to play and play to win.


ALLEN: Joining me from washington via skype is Dave Zirin, a sports editor for "The Nation" magazine.

Thanks for talking with us.

DAVID ZIRIN, SPORTS EDITOR, THE NATION: Thank you for having me.

ALLEN: You wrote an article. I want to read an excerpt. You said, "These athletes are doing more than sitting or kneeling or raising a fist, they are offering up an alternative model for unity, justice, and even manhood. They are showing that what makes an adult is whom you can help, not whom you can cuss or destroy for shameless and divisive political gain."

Can you elaborate on what you wrote?

[01:35:20] ZIRON: Absolutely. I do feel like Donald Trump adopts this persona of this kind of stereotype of what it means to be a man. And what does it mean to be a man in the eyes of Donald Trump? Unfortunately, in the eyes of a lot of his supporters, it's this idea you show your manhood which proving yourself by cutting other people down, by making other people feel small, by not showing any emotion. And you define yourself by your enemies and who you can destroy. I think what these NFL players are doing are saying wait a minute, what makes a man is not necessarily the size of your bank account or who you can hurt on a football field or the way you treat the women in your life. But it's actually how you raise your children, how you interact with your community. And the kind of work you to do to make the world a better place. That's the mistake Donald Trump made going after these particular groups of players, because if you're on an NFL team, even if you don't agree with people like Colm Jenkins (ph) or the players taking a knee, they're known in the league as community minded, thoughtful people. And that's for media, ownership, management, et cetera. I don't think Donald Trump realized that when he cursed them out and said they should lose their jobs.

ALLEN: Right. He used a disparaging term that disparages women, mothers. We know when you put the camera on a football, they say, Hi, mom."

ZIRON: I'm glad you said that. Talking to some NFL players today, that part really, really hit a lot of players in the gut.


ALLEN: I can understand, yes.

ZIRON: If you know about an NFL locker room, the NFL mom has a particularly pronounced place. Like they're like the team mom. They come in, they interact with everybody. It's a special kind of relationship. Some of the tweets in response, like Michael Bennett, were direct offenses to their mother. Saying my mother is amazing, not a "B" word. Trump might have thought that was an off the cuff comment to his audience, but that was a trigger for today's actions by players.

ALLEN: What do you think of what we saw on Sunday? We saw white players with their hands on their black teammates who were kneeling. This has reached other sports beyond NFL. We had some teams that didn't even come out oh of the locker room for the national anthem to show solidarity with their team members.

ZIRON: It's a remarkable thing, because one of the ways that I would explain it to people who are saying oh, my gosh, I thought the NFL was this conservative environment. And here are coaches and team owners on the field taking part of this protest. I think folks have to understand that even though there are players who might not agree with people like Colin Kaepernick or Michael Bennett on these questions of protesting during the anthem to raise awareness about racial inequities in the criminal justice system, there are people who believe in this concept of what they call the brotherhood. The idea is if one of us is attacked, all of us are attacked. The thing that Trump said that got under people's skin is what we said about sob's and going after people's moms and hearing the president of the United States calling for people to be fired from a private company. For a lot of folks, that's like, this is now an attack on all of our livelihoods, to think that a political actor could cause us to lose our jobs for a demonstration of speech during a part of the game, the anthem, that has nothing to do with their play or even their collective bargaining agreement.

ALLEN: He called on the folks who run these teams to fire them from their jobs. They're not firing them, they're standing by them, and they're expressing their disdain at President Trump for his remarks. One wonder it is the president expected this or cares?

ZIRON: No. I think he definitely cares, because his comments late in the day, as he was asked by a reporter, are you calling for people to boycott the NFL? Of course, he said throughout the day over Twitter, like retweeting things, calling for boycotts, telling people to walk out of the stadium if players take a knee. His response was, no, no, of course I'm not saying people should boycott the NFL. So what Donald Trump thought was that he had an easy target for some venom, go after dissenting black NFL players. Very easy target for his audience. He found out instead that he reaped the while wind to paraphrase the Bible. He went too far. And not only did he have these players coming out against him, but some of his biggest monetary backers in the United States, people who gave millions of dollars to his re-election campaign, were putting out statements against him.

[01:40:18] ALLEN: However, though, looking for some positivity in this, now we have Steph Curry and the Warriors not going to the White House. He said, "you're not invited." They're going to a diversity and inclusion rally instead when they visit washington. So Trump being Trump is helping others engage in dialogue and understanding. If anything, maybe something positive can come from this.

ZIRON: That's true. Players and owners in the National Football League and the commissioner, they've been at each other's throats for years over a whole host of issues that we wouldn't have had time to catalog. But to see them come together and united on the question of, wait a minute, you're not going to insult members of our family and decide who gets hired and fired from this private business. That was a very powerful moment. Grant it, there will always be 30 percent of the population in the United States who will back Donald Trump no matter what he says or does, but I really do believe that if we're moving beyond that 30 percent, Donald Trump really bit off more than he could chew.

ALLEN: And he seemed to so enjoy saying, "You're fired," in his old reality TV style and seems to have backfired.

Dave Zirin, we appreciate it, sports editor for "The Nation" magazine. Thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.

ZIRON: Thank you so much.

ALLEN: Other news we're following, a man who was arrested near the White House Sunday had multiple weapons in his car. Authorities say they found nine guns, three knives, brass knuckles, suppressers and various types of ammunition. According to a police report, the suspect said he was going to the White House to speak with the National Security Agency director and the defense secretary for advice on missing paychecks and how to get a chip out of his head. He faces multiple weapons violations charges.

Still ahead, a place of worship turns deadly for churchgoers in Tennessee after a former parishioner opens fire following a prayer service.


[01:45:28] ALLEN: A masked gunman opened fire at a church in the southern U.S., killing one and wounding seven others. Police say this man you see here shot and killed a woman in the church parking lot in Tennessee Sunday. Then went into the building and shot people at random.

For more now, here's CNN's Polo Sandoval.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation launching a civil rights investigation into this deadly church shooting.

Investigators in Tennessee alleging that Emanuel Samson, a 25-year-old man, arrived at Burnett Chapel Church of Christ, in Antioch, Tennessee, after Sunday service, armed with two weapons and opened fire. Investigators say the 25-year-old man shot and killed a woman in the parking lot before making his way into the sanctuary where he was reportedly confronted by Robert Engle, a 22-year-old usher, licensed to carry a firearm. Investigators saying there was a brief struggle between the two, at which point the suspect pistol whipped this 22-year-old usher who went to the parking lot to retrieve his weapon. The suspect was wounded himself before investigators moved in.

STEVE ANDERSON, CHIEF, METRO NASHVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT: What I would say about Mr. Engle, he engaged the shooter and during the struggle, the shooter was shot. We don't know how that hand, whether he shot himself or the gun discharged. Mr. Engle sustained serious injuries himself. And he's a hero. He stopped this madness. So we're very, very grateful to him.

SANDOVAL: Investigators say six people inside the sanctuary at the time were injured. They are expected to recover.

As for the suspect. We're told he has already recovered from his injuries and expected to face murder and attempted murder charges. So as this state investigation continues trying to establish a motive,

federal investigators are also joining in on the case.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


ALLEN: And coming up here, with no power and little cell service, we'll show you how people in Puerto Rico are trying to communicate with loved ones after Hurricane Maria did all of this.



[01:51:40] ALLEN: In Puerto Rico, most areas still do not have running water or power after Hurricane Maria pummeled the U.S. commonwealth last week. Doesn't that aerial video tell you everything? Not only that, many residents are having a hard time reaching their loved ones because most of the cell phone towers are not working.

Here is the latest from CNN's Leyla Santiago, in San Juan.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From above, the images tell the story of Maria's destruction. But on the ground, the faces tell the story of its desperation, as many on this island of 3.5 million people struggle to reach their loved ones.

JOSE FLORES, PUERTO RICO RESIDENT: This is the only place where we can get signal.

SANTIAGO: On this highway overpass, dozens pull over, hoping that this spot is the one to reunite family, if only by voice.

Jose Flores drove for hours to get here, to get to cell service, to get to tell his daughter in Florida one thing.

FLORES: So I'll let my family know that we're fine.


SANTIAGO: For others, borrowed satellite phones are their last hope.

(on camera): People are trying anything they can to reach out. This note, handwritten, was passed along to our photographer in hopes that it would reach a loved one. It says, among other things, "Tony OK. Tony at Frank's house. And love you all."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Later that day, we were able to get a call out to his girlfriend in New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So it was just such a relief. Neither I nor his family has slept all week just worrying about him.

SANTIAGO: An FCC report found 96 percent of cell towers in Puerto Rico are not working. The government here says it's trying to figure out which towers need generators and fuel to start working again. A small sign of hope on this island with so much to rebuild. For many year, the first chance to talk is the first step to recovery.

Leyla Santiago, CNN, San Juan, Puerto Rico.


ALLEN: Our friend, Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is just back from Puerto Rico.

And you saw all that thank goodness people are finally reaching their loved ones. My friend, Sabrina, finally talked with her mother in Puerto Rico. She is so relieved.

[01:54:03] DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOLOGIST: It really a humanitarian crisis going on there. No running water for many people. This is going to compound as the days and months wear on as well. Four to six months that they believe until they see electricity across the island.

I want to show you what the latest is with Hurricane Maria. Good news. It's starting to weaken. And in fact, it's dropped about 10 kilometers per hour since the last national hurricane center update at 11:00 p.m. eastern standard. So we're talking now the latest information available to CNN. Now we still have tropical storm watches in effect. This is for the extreme east coast of the United States over the Cape Hatteras, specifically across the outer banks of North Carolina. We have highlighted that in yellow. Kill Devil Hills into Nags Head, as well as the Hatteras region, that's the area where we believe tropical storm force conditions could impact the region there are other concerns as well.

But to give the perspective of how large Hurricane Maria still is, tropical storm-force winds extend at least 200 kilometers from the center of the storm. That's why we believe by the middle of the week, we'll have the potential for winds in excess of 50, 60, even 70 kilometers per hour. Again, for the outer areas of North Carolina. Perhaps into the Delmarva peninsula as well. So there are a lot of concerns going forward at least for the east coast of the United States. We have the potential for dangerous rip currents across many of the popular beaches along the east coast. Some of the ocean open swells 6 to 9 meters. That equates to waves along the coastline well above your head. So dangerous swimming conditions for this entire area from Orlando to Norfolk, New York, even towards the Cape Cod region. The good news is rain, or the heaviest of rain should stay offshore. We still have a chance for brief heavy downpours across the coastal areas of the Carolinas.

Just a quick update. Still raining across the western portions of Puerto Rico. Remember, we've been reporting on the dam in northwestern Puerto Rico that had at least a crack in the dam. So any additional rainfall could spell more trouble for the residents.

ALLEN: Fingers crossed on that one for sure.

VAN DAM: We hope that it can withstand this extra stress.

ALLEN: We've had enough, haven't we?

VAN DAM: We have.

ALLEN: We're ready to go on now.

VAN DAM: I believe so.

ALLEN: Thanks, Derek.

Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

The news continues next with George Howell and Rosemary Church and Derek.