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First Coast Connect

9/25/2017: Jaguars Take A Knee; Graham-Cassidy; Youth Crisis Center; STEM2

  Monday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with WJCT’s sports analyst Cole Pepper about the Jaguars and other NFL teams protests Sunday of statements made by President Trump (01:18).  

We also spoke with Tony Penna who directs efforts for Enroll America about the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill (29:34).


Youth Crisis Center CEO Kim Sirdevan discussed helping kids deal with trauma (39:50).

Northeast Florida STEM2 Hub program director Kathleen Schofield told us about the national STEM Ecosystems Initiative (46:19).

Jaguars Take A Knee

Shad Khan and the Jacksonville Jaguars took a stand and took a knee Sunday, as the team played the Baltimore Ravens in London at Wembley Stadium.

The Jags were the first team to take the field after President Trump made controversial comments at a rally in Alabama about firing NFL players who protest racial injustice during the national anthem. The Jaguars and Khan decided to send a message of unity in response.

As the anthem was played Sunday at Wembley Stadium before a 44-7 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, at least 15 Jaguars players were seen taking a knee while Khan and the rest of the team, including coaches and training staff, locked arms in a sideline show of unity to protest Trump’s comments.


There was a last-minute effort in Washington to revive the GOP push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. The current proposal is known Graham-Cassidy health care bill. It would give more control to states through block grants when it comes to paying for health insurance. To get the measure through, there’s new movement to direct additional funding to Alaska and Maine where Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins could cast deciding votes.

Youth Crisis Center

We all - at some point in our lives - suffer some form of trauma. The death of a parent, a sibling, a job loss, a relocation are all traumatic experiences.  Studies now show that the early intervention is key to healing and recovery. Particularly after Hurricane Irma, kids and families in this area are dealing with trauma. The Youth Crisis Center is here to help with critical youth and family programs.


The Northeast Florida STEM2 Hub has some exciting news. Program director Schofield has been selected for a national STEM leadership development program. She is one of only 20 people nationwide invited to participate. Schofield’s organization says this is great news for the local push to get more kids excited about STEM, that’s science, technology and engineering and math.

Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax.

Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.