Beto O'Rourke: From rock guitarist to congressman

Congressman Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) is giving incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz a run for his money in the Texas Senate contest, but he still faces an uphill battle. CNN's Ed Lavandera reports.

Posted: Oct 1, 2018 12:01 PM
Updated: Oct 1, 2018 12:29 PM

A viral video of Democratic Texas Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke discussing protests over racial injustice during the national anthem in the NFL has drawn a wave of praise and commentary from some high-profile athletes, including LeBron James.

James tweeted about the video of O'Rourke from "Now This" news, which credits the footage to Nivien Saleh. As of Thursday morning, the video had more than 12.8 million views and more than 160,000 retweets.

"A Must Watch!!!," James wrote to his 41 million followers. "Salute @BetoORourke for the candid thoughtful words!"

In the four-minute video, O'Rourke fields a question at a Texas town hall about the national anthem protests that have roiled the NFL over the past year. The El Paso Democrat -- who is challenging incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz in November -- explains why he supports the protests, meant to draw attention to racial injustice, and remarking on the similarities between the sacrifices of soldiers and veterans and those of civil rights activists, and saying "I can think of nothing more American" than peaceful protests.

Cruz responded to the O'Rourke video on Thursday, tweeting: "Most Texans stand for the flag, but Hollywood liberals are so excited that Beto is siding with NFL players protesting the national anthem that Kevin Bacon just retweeted it. That means all of us us can now win Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon!"

In addition to LeBron James, a series of other star athletes and pro coaches shared and commented on the video of O'Rourke.

NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback Kurt Warner tweeted, "Every past & present fan of NFL - please listen - I believe he hit the nail on the head & he did so not by dividing the 2 sides but by joining them together in realizing the freedoms of our country have been forged by soldiers but also by many others who have fought in diff ways!"

And NFL Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy also weighed in. "If you want some insight into the National Anthem kneeling controversy, watch this. If you've already made up your mind that kneeling is disrespectful and facts and history won't change your mind there's no need to watch."

Pro athletes from other sports also shared the video. Abby Wambach -- a former star of the US Women's National Soccer team, who won both Olympic Gold and a World Cup -- wrote, "No matter where you land on this issue, because I understand it's complicated, please watch this. @BetoORourke is smart, and compassionate, and respectful of all people here. This is what leadership looks like."

Steve Kerr, head coach of the NBA-champion Golden State Warriors, who has a reputation for being outspoken on politics, shared the video as well. "Please watch this and be reminded of what thoughtful leadership looks and sounds like. Thank you @BetoORourke for giving us a glimpse of our future. Things will get better!"

The protests during the anthem -- begun by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 -- have happened with varying participation since 2016, pulling the NFL into a public debate that has seen President Donald Trump call on team owners to stem them.

James has also escalated his political engagement over the last couple of years and has been particularly vocal in his criticism of President Trump. Ahead of the NBA Finals in June -- which raised the prospect of a White House visit for the winning team -- James preemptively declared that "no one wants to" visit the Trump White House, and that neither team would attend such a ceremony. Discussing the same topic the previous September, James referred to Trump as "u bum" in a tweet, writing, "Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!"

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319704

Reported Deaths: 7369
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22276267
Hinds20677421
Harrison18407317
Rankin13880282
Jackson13689248
Madison10249224
Lee10056176
Jones8464167
Forrest7827153
Lauderdale7260242
Lowndes6509150
Lamar634888
Lafayette6310121
Washington5420137
Bolivar4837133
Panola4669110
Oktibbeha466098
Pearl River4604147
Marshall4573105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425373
Union415777
Monroe4155135
Neshoba4061179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386687
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3369111
Alcorn325972
Scott320174
Yazoo314171
Adams307486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298189
Tippah291968
Prentiss283861
Leake271974
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George252051
Newton248663
Tishomingo231568
Winston229981
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190374
Clay187854
Stone187833
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164034
Walthall135347
Greene131833
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127138
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108033
Tunica108027
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69532
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548323

Reported Deaths: 11288
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809531565
Mobile42066826
Madison35663525
Tuscaloosa26162458
Shelby25595254
Montgomery25081612
Baldwin21839313
Lee16265176
Calhoun14718325
Morgan14626285
Etowah14171363
Marshall12449230
Houston10764288
Elmore10295213
Limestone10182157
St. Clair10160251
Cullman9941201
Lauderdale9596249
DeKalb8967189
Talladega8458184
Walker7335280
Autauga7230113
Blount6944139
Jackson6922113
Colbert6414140
Coffee5627127
Dale4929114
Russell454941
Chilton4472116
Franklin431083
Covington4273122
Tallapoosa4136155
Escambia401780
Chambers3726124
Dallas3607156
Clarke352961
Marion3242106
Pike314078
Lawrence3129100
Winston283572
Bibb268464
Geneva257581
Marengo250665
Pickens236862
Barbour234659
Hale226878
Butler224071
Fayette218162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph187044
Monroe179341
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155657
Cleburne153244
Lamar146537
Lowndes142054
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh113430
Coosa111429
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93534
Choctaw62025
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
87° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 89°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
85° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 91°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 86°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 88°
We continue to monitor a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico. This will be in heavy rainfall two locations across the southeast over the course of the weekend, and flooding rainfall could be in tow as well. Things are looking better for Father’s Day itself, thankfully.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather