Standing on principle

They throw the ball, hit the ball, kick the ball, bounce the ball, and stop the puck. The fact they do it better than 99.9 percent of the world is the reason they’re paid millions of dollars.

But it’s also why we pay attention when professional athletes say or do something outside of their field of play and why they’re a magnet for vitriol for those who don’t agree, no matter the side.

More and more, athletes from both sides of the ideological divide are airing their political views and it creates discomfort for those who had cheered them but may differ in world view. The latest to draw the wrath and praise of a divided fandom is Colin Kaepernick, for the moment a quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers.

During the playing of the national anthem before the Niners preseason game against the Green Bay Packers Friday night, Kaepernick sat. He later said in an interview it’s the beginning of a protest for him to bring attention to what he says is the systemic mistreatment of blacks in the country by law enforcement and political officials.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said to NFL Media the day after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.”

Kaepernick is biracial, put up for adoption by his teenage mother after his father left. He was raised by a white couple. So, of course, Kaepernick’s critics, such as Curt Schilling, himself no stranger to drawing flak for political declarations, had to gang tackle the struggling QB and point out that he’s really not oppressed. Many declared that if Kaepernick couldn’t bring himself to stand and honor America, well, maybe he should just go stand in another country, forgetting that the reason Kaepernick can refuse to stand is because he lives in America.

No one, though, has told Schilling to move elsewhere over his comments about the commander in chief, who he constantly disrespects in interviews and on social media, nor was much said about Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a close friend of Donald Trumprefusing to go to the White House last year when President Obama honored the team for winning the Super Bowl.

But one local athlete who had been the target of much vitriol after his public and loud decision to not attend a White House ceremony was former Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, a dyed-in-the-wool Tea Party member who famously posted his reasons on social media.

“I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People,” Thomas wrote on his Facebook page. “This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government.”

Thomas was later traded, basically, for a bag of pucks and a case of Gatorade and not thought about a lot since. No one, though, has explained why we give outsized weight to the opinion of sports figures. They certainly have the right to express their opinions, but why do we cheer or boo their athletic performance because they don’t support our views? Does their ability extend to political insight we don’t possess?

There is, though, a history of athletes, especially black athletes, making political statements that resonate with the times. Celtics center Bill Russell marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, although he was the target of racism in Boston that caused him to abandon the city for decades despite his role in 11 world championships. Muhammad Ali. Enough said.

Maybe it’s the internet, or maybe it’s the sharply divided age we live in, but gone are the days of Michael Jordan refusing to become involved in the US Senate race between longtime segregationist Sen. Jesse Helms and Harvey Gantt, the first black mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. Jordan’s reasoning? “Republicans buy sneakers, too.”

JACK SULLIVAN

BEACON HILL

Josh Miller unpacks the reasons why the state keeps running into budget problems, even during good economic times. (Health care is the big driver.) (Boston Globe)

Dozens of gun owners hold a “rolling rally” to protest Attorney General Maura Healey’s recent ruling that the state’s assault weapon ban covers a group of so-called “copycat” guns that dealers had been selling. (Boston Herald) The Herald’s Hillary Chabot says Healey’s move hurts Democrats. Healey makes her case in a sitdown with CommonWealth’s Codcast.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

A political feud in Brockton is brewing as a supporter of Mayor Bill Carpenter created a website to bash City Councilor Win Farwell, a former mayor, featuring critical stories from Farwell’s tenure. (The Enterprise)

A three-story deck and an an addition on a home in Lawrence may have to be torn down after inspectors found shoddy work by the engineer on the project, Rep. Marcos Devers, and the contractor. A former building inspector, Greg Arvanitis, is also coming under fire for not catching the problems sooner. Mayor Daniel Rivera fired Arvanitis last year for sexually harassing a woman during an inspection, but he was later acquitted. (Eagle-Tribune)

Amid a building boom in Lawrence, Rivera wants to focus on rehabs of existing structures that are in a state of disrepair. (Eagle-Tribune)

Itching to know what Boston neighborhoods are feeling the greatest presence of bed bugs? The Globe’s Matt Rocheleau let’s you scratch your urge here.

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Adrian Walker says Maine governor Paul LePage is “New England’s George Wallace.” (Boston Globe)

ELECTIONS

The Herald endorses Leland Cheung in his Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Pat Jehlen of Somerville, citing his support for charter schools, though the paper suggests the fact that he’s a Cambridge city councilor automatically makes him a bit suspect.

The Patriot Ledger calls out state Rep. Walter Timilty for “ducking debates” with his Democratic primary opponent in the contest for Sen. Brian Joyce’s seat, saying it’s “no way to win a Senate seat.

A Telegram & Gazette editorial presses House Speaker Robert DeLeo to release the findings of an ethics report on John Fresolo as he makes a new bid for his old seat. The Globe also editorializes for release of the report. T&G columnist Dianne Williamson made an identical plea last week.

Rep. Rady Mom of Lowell is the only legislator in the area facing a primary challenger. (Lowell Sun)

Kevin Peterson slams Donald Trump’s appeal to African-American voters, calling it a “false concern for blacks as a means to attract Republican moderates and women into his embarrassingly soiled tent.” (CommonWealth)

Two local Trump supporters, state Rep. Geoff Diehl of Whitman and John Gibbs of The Federalist Magazine, talk about his chances, and they think they’re pretty good. (Keller@Large)

The New York Times offers an interactive timeline of Trumpisms to show what the final straw was for 110 Republican leaders when they declared they could not support the party’s nominee.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The budding marijuana industry is fertile ground for a new television reality show where people pitch their ideas to potential investors. Among the panel of “advisors” is former Fall River mayor Will Flanagan. (Herald News)

As a decline in the herring population threatens the lobster and crab industry (lobsters and crabs feed on dead herring and other fish), a North Carolina company may have come up with a new way to catch more lobsters and crabs — a synthetic alternative that replicates the smell of dead fish to attract the crustaceans. (Associated Press)

EDUCATION

Sen. Elizabeth Warren expressed ambivalence toward the November ballot question that would raise the charter school cap, but she has a history of arguing passionately for a reform that would be far more disruptive to the education status quo — an all-voucher system that would allow students to attend any public school in a region, regardless of municipal boundaries. (CommonWealth)

A Republican editorial praises the Springfield school system for providing a laptop to every student.

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Nothing like a little public exposure to get results: Mylan Pharmaceuticals will release a generic version of its EpiPen at about half the cost of the company’s current product. (STAT)

TRANSPORTATION

Connecting a Cape-long bike path from Woods Hole to Provincetown has hit an obstacle in Bourne as officials at Joint Base Cape Cod have asked planners to reconsider tearing up a little-used stretch of rail because it could be utilized to move heavy equipment in a time of need. (Cape Cod Times)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT 

Massachusetts officials are pressing for more aggressive curbs on carbon emissions by states that are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. (Boston Globe)

The Standard-Times details the years-long tumultuous path to pass the state’s new landmark energy law, followed through the eyes of one of the chief sponsors, Rep. Patricia Haddad, who has been a major proponent of offshore wind.

Hanover officials and residents are frustrated over the lack of progress in cleaning up a former munitions factory nearly two decades after contamination was discovered at the site. (Patriot Ledger)

A little too close for comfort:: Lifeguards at Race Point Beach in Provincetown spotted a great white shark just four feet from the shore over the weekend. The lifeguards cleared about 300 swimmers out of the water and closed the beach for an hour. (Cape Cod Times)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Two rape cases end with the defendants being found guilty but sentenced only to probation. (Masslive)

An appeal filed by a convicted murder in New Hampshire threatens to upend the longstanding privacy protections for rape victims. (Boston Globe)

MEDIA

WBUR ranks the top 50 pieces of public art in and around Boston.