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Thread: NFL players emphasize reasons for anthem demonstrations

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    Default NFL players emphasize reasons for anthem demonstrations

    NFL players emphasize reasons for anthem demonstrations

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) While the NFL continues discussions with the players' union regarding a national anthem policy, players who demonstrate are emphasizing they are protesting social injustice, racial inequality and systematic oppression.

    They are not against the country, military, flag or ''The Star-Spangled Banner'' itself.

    President Donald Trump wants players to ''find another way to protest'' and contended ''most of them are unable to define'' what they're demonstrating against.

    Players, however, have made clear their position numerous times.

    ''I think part of the problem is that when you continue the rhetoric that this is controversial or this is somehow a negative thing, people treat it as such,'' Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said after resuming his demonstration before Thursday night's game. ''But we've seen in other leagues when they've decided to amplify the voices of their players to also emphasize the importance of the issues that we're raising, and change the narrative away from the anthem, that not only is it more acceptable, the fan base gets educated on what we're talking about, and we can actually make some movement.''

    Jenkins stopped his demonstration last season after the NFL committed $90 million over the next seven years to social justice causes in a three-segment plan that involves league players.

    Jenkins and a few teammates wore a T-shirt before the game that read on the front: ''More than 60 percent of prison populations are people of color.'' On the back, it said: ''Nearly 5,000 kids are in adult prisons and jails. (hash)SchoolsNotPrisons.''

    The league and the NFLPA have yet to announce a policy for this season regarding demonstrations during the anthem after the league initially ordered everyone to stand on the sideline when the anthem is played, or remain in the locker room.

    League spokesman Brian McCarthy declined comment Friday and reiterated his statement Thursday night, saying ''constructive'' discussions are ongoing with the union.

    ''I understand that it's a business and you want to protect your bottom line and all of that, but at the end of the day, I think the smartest thing right now is to not have a rule and provide a better option,'' Jenkins said.

    Teammate Chris Long showed his support for Jenkins, as he did last season, by putting his arm around him.

    ''Malcolm is taking action and he can always sleep good at night knowing that he's not being a fraud,'' Long said. ''He's (demonstrating) and he's working in the community, like a lot of these guys are doing.''

    On Friday night, Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem before the exhibition opener against the Detroit Lions. Lynch also sat for the anthem all of last season, but never gave a reason for his decision.

    In Miami, Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson kneeled behind teammates lined up standing along the sideline. Defensive end Robert Quinn stood and raised his right fist.

    ''If you continue to misinterpret what we're doing, reach out to me, take a look at my website, take a look at my Twitter, all my social media platforms,'' Stills said. ''I think you'll get a better idea of why we're doing what we're doing and maybe you can come to the other side and start supporting us.''

    Stills said ''it would take a lot'' for him to stop protesting.

    ''A good first step for us as a league would be acknowledging what they're doing to Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid,'' Stills said. ''You can't say as a league you support the players and their protests and then blackball the players who initially started the protests. To come to the drawing board and talk about solutions, we need to start there as a league, and then we can start drawing up other solutions to some of these other problems.''

    Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, began the movement in 2016 and was joined by teammate Eric Reid. Both are unemployed - Kaepernick didn't play last season, either - and have pending collusion grievances against the NFL.

    Kaepernick tweeted support for Stills and Wilson.

    Wilson said he feels more free to express himself with the Dolphins than he did with the Kansas City Chiefs, but didn't elaborate.

    ''You get a lot of backlash for doing this,'' Wilson said. ''Nobody wants to bring the negative attention to themselves, but when you have a platform like this and you're able to speak on certain situations, you want to do that. We're not harming anybody.''

    Writing on Twitter from his New Jersey golf resort, Trump said Friday players ''make a fortune doing what they love,'' and those who refuse to stand ''proudly'' for the anthem should be suspended without pay.

    Quinn had a powerful message for critics.

    ''It's not a protest. It's an awareness,'' he said. ''I think `protest' segregates this country. The awareness we're trying to raise - this country preaches freedom and unity. That's all I'm trying to do. If you believe in something, no matter the consequences you stand by it. I want heaven here on Earth. I believe we preach too much negativity throughout this whole world. I think the message that needs to be spread is peace, love and happiness.

    ''Hearing the slander that we're protesting the flag, that's not it. It's not a protest. It's no disrespect to any servicemen or women out there. They salute with their hand over their heart, I hold my fist up. How can you look at that any different? That salute is just as meaningful to them as my fist in the air.''

    Three Seahawks players, Branden Jackson, Quinton Jefferson and Duane Brown, left the field following team introductions and before the start of the anthem Thursday night.

    ''I think there are a lot of people that are supportive of the players and then there are a couple of people that have been very vocal against it. Those people have power,'' Brown said. ''We'll see what happens.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Raiders RB Lynch sits during the anthem
    August 10, 2018


    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem.

    Lynch declined to stand for the anthem before the exhibition opener against the Detroit Lions on Friday night. Lynch also sat for the anthem all of last season but never gave a reason for his decision.

    No other players on either team demonstrated during the anthem, with the Lions all standing together with locked arms.

    The league and the players' union have yet to announce a policy for this season regarding demonstrations during the anthem after the league initially ordered everyone to stand on the sideline when ''The Star-Spangled Banner'' is played, or remain in the locker room.

    Several players throughout the league demonstrated on Thursday night. President Donald Trump lashed out against them earlier Friday, claiming on Twitter that ''most of them are unable to define'' what they're demonstrating against.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    In a jaded world, here's a player worthy
    August 10, 2018


    FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) Tired of pompous, entitled athletes who don't seem to realize how good they have it?

    Fed up with all the scandals and cheats and scoundrels mucking things up for the rest of us?

    Meet Ricardo Allen.

    He'll give you a reason to cheer.

    Allen plays for the Atlanta Falcons, a 26-year-old free safety who will readily admit he's not the fastest, not the strongest, not the biggest guy in the room.

    ''I won't be anybody's first pick,'' said Allen, who at 5-foot-9 comes up 3 inches shy of this aging sports scribe.

    That's OK.

    He's so much more than that.

    This is a guy who hasn't forgotten what it's like to be told you're not good enough - on HBO's ''Hard Knocks'' no less, for the whole world to see.

    This is a guy who remembers what it's like to spend a year on the practice squad, putting in as much work as the next guy but knowing he won't get a chance to shine on Sundays.

    So, when word came that Allen had agreed to a contract extension with the Falcons, one that should set him up nicely for the rest of his life if he manages his money right, he didn't exactly celebrate.

    That's not his style.

    Instead, he watched that ''Hard Knocks'' episode all over again, the one where then-Atlanta coach Mike Smith doles out the pink slip .

    ''You can kind of see I smiled a little bit,'' Allen recalled. ''I knew that wasn't going to be my last straw. I've been turned down plenty of times in life, man. That wasn't the first time I've been told I wasn't good enough.''

    Allen's new contract - $19.5 million for three more seasons - pales in comparison to, say, teammate Matt Ryan, who agreed to a massive deal that averages $30 million a year and guarantees the star quarterback at least $100 million.

    But Allen is grateful for his $5.5 million signing bonus. He knows that's a massive amount of money to just about anyone else. He hopes it sends just the right message to anyone scuffling on the fringes of a roster.

    ''This wasn't just a deal for myself,'' Allen said. ''This was a deal for everybody who has to struggle, who has to fight from the bottom. It's possible to make it to the top.''

    Even now, he has a soft spot for all those guys going through the same struggles.

    ''When I was in college, I used to work out with the walk-ons,'' Allen said. ''I was always attracted to hard workers. I was always attracted to the bottom feeders.''

    After Dan Quinn took over as Atlanta's coach in 2015, he was impressed by Allen's tackling skills but felt he was out of place at cornerback, his position at Purdue and what he started out playing with the Falcons.

    Allen was moved to safety. Suddenly, he blossomed. One training camp after being waived, he surged to the top row of the depth chart, going on start 14 games as a de facto rookie in 2015.

    But he never got comfortable.

    Not then.

    Not even now, when he's so clearly a part of Atlanta's long-term plans.

    ''That ain't in my blood,'' Allen said, chuckling at the mere suggestion.

    Zealously guarding against those thoughts ever creeping into his head, Allen is always looking for ways to make things harder on himself.

    Right down to the smallest details.

    If his eggs are too runny, he's not sending them back. If it gets cold in his room, he'll turn down the thermostat even more.

    ''This world is so used to being comfortable all the time,'' Allen said. ''It's weird, man, I know. But it's just something I do so I don't get complacent, so I never feel like what I've done is enough.''

    Allen has always worn his emotions on his sleeve, which was never more evident that when I talked with him less than an hour after the Falcons squandered a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl.

    While most everyone else did their best to cover up the overwhelming pain, Allen made it clear exactly how he was feeling.

    ''I'm broken inside,'' he said that night in the bowels of Houston's NRG Stadium . ''I'm not a guy that forgets very easy. I'll probably never forget this. It will always be haunting.''

    But, like every setback in Allen's life, pain served a purpose.

    He put together another strong season in 2017, though the Falcons were knocked out of the playoffs in the divisional round. He's one of the leaders on a young, speedy defense, doling out and advice and mentoring anyone who wants to know how to do things the right way.

    When the Falcons announced Allen's new contract, there wasn't a hint of jealousy from his teammates.

    Quite the opposite.

    That day, during a meeting with the entire team, Quinn asked, ''If you've ever been supported or encouraged by Ricardo Allen, please stand up.''

    Everyone rose from their seats, from the biggest stars on the team to those who will likely be cut in a week or two.

    ''You see the impact that a guy like him has on a team,'' Quinn marveled.

    It doesn't matter if you're a Falcons fan.

    No. 37 is a guy we can all root for.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Stills, 2 other Dolphins protest pre-game
    August 9, 2018


    MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) Kenny Stills kneeled in protest during the national anthem Thursday, and said he offered a prayer of thanks that he had a teammate's support.

    Stills and two other Miami Dolphins renewed their protests before an exhibition game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, triggering yet another round of debate about the divisive NFL issue.

    Receivers Stills and Albert Wilson kneeled behind teammates lined up standing along the sideline. Defensive end Robert Quinn stood and raised his right fist, as he did during the anthem last season with the Los Angeles Rams.

    Stills said he didn't coordinate with Wilson, who joined the Dolphins this season.

    ''It just happened that way,'' Stills said. ''When I'm on a knee, most of the time I'm praying, and thank God for having Albert next to me. Being a part of this protest hasn't been easy. I thought I was going to be by myself out there. Today I had an angel with me with Albert being out there. I'm grateful he sees what's happening, and he wants to do something about it as well.''

    Stills kneeled during the anthem in the 2016-17 seasons and has been vocal discussing social injustice issues that inspired the protests by NFL players.

    Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a leader of the movement, tweeted support for Stills and Wilson.

    ''My brother (at)kstills continued his protest of systemic oppression tonight by taking a knee,'' the tweet said. ''Albert Wilson joined him in protest. Stay strong brothers!''

    Kaepernick and his former teammate Eric Reid, another protest leader, remain out of the NFL. Stills said both players were blackballed, and he talks with Kaepernick every week.

    ''I appreciate his loyalty and support,'' Stills said. ''I don't see any reason he and Eric Reid shouldn't be in the league.''

    Wilson said he kneeled mindful of the death of an unarmed black motorist who was shot by police in 2016 near his hometown of Fort Pierce, Florida. Two officers were cleared by a grand jury in the case.

    ''Getting shot down and being murdered - the biggest thing in my city,'' Wilson said. ''For me to have so much love for my city and not do anything about it, I would be a coward. I'm with it every Sunday.''

    Quinn said it's slander to say he and kneeling players are protesting the flag.

    ''As a black man in this world, I've got an obligation to raise awareness,'' he said. ''If no one wants to live in unity, that's why we're in the situation we're in.''

    The league and the players' union have yet to announce a policy for this season regarding demonstrations during the anthem after the league initially ordered everyone to stand on the sideline when ''The Star-Spangled Banner'' is played, or remain in the locker room. The Dolphins issued a statement before training camp saying all options regarding the team's policy remain open.

    ''The NFL has been engaged in constructive discussions with the NFL Players Association regarding the anthem and issues of equality and social justice that are of concern to many Americans,'' league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email. ''While those discussions continue, the NFL has agreed to delay implementing or enforcing any club work rules that could result in players being disciplined for their conduct during the performance of the anthem.

    ''Meanwhile, there has been no change in the NFL's policy regarding the national anthem. The anthem will continue to be played before every game, and all player and non-player personnel on the field at that time are expected to stand during the presentation of the flag and performance of the anthem. Personnel who do not wish to do so can choose to remain in the locker room.

    ''We remain committed to working with the players to identify solutions and to continue making progress on important social issues affecting our communities.''

    There were no apparent demonstrations by the Buccaneers.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Several players demonstrate during anthem
    August 9, 2018


    NFL players demonstrated during the national anthem at several preseason games Thursday night, protests that again drew a rebuke from President Donald Trump.

    Writing on Twitter from his New Jersey golf resort, Trump said Friday players ''make a fortune doing what they love,'' and those who refuse to stand ''proudly'' for the anthem should be suspended without pay.

    He contended ''most of them are unable to define'' what they're demonstrating against.'' Instead, he said, players should ''Be happy, be cool!''

    In Philadelphia, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback De'Vante Bausby raised their fists during the anthem, and defensive end Chris Long placed his arm around Jenkins' shoulder. Jenkins had stopped his demonstration last December.

    Defensive end Michael Bennett walked out of the tunnel during the anthem and walked toward the bench while it played. It appeared all the Steelers stood.

    ''Everybody is waiting for what the league is going to do,'' Jenkins said. ''We won't let it stop what we stand for. I was very encouraged last year with the direction and that obviously took a different turn.

    ''I think it's important to utilize the platform as we can because for whatever reason, we have framed this demonstration in a negative light, and often players have to defend why we feel the need to fight for everyday Americans, and in actuality we're doing the right thing.''

    At Miami, Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson and defensive end Robert Quinn protested during the anthem. Stills and Wilson kneeled behind teammates lined up standing along the sideline. Quinn stood and raised his right fist. There were no apparent protests by the Buccaneers.

    ''As a black man in this world, I've got an obligation to raise awareness,'' Quinn said. ''If no one wants to live in unity, that's why we're in the situation we're in.''

    Stills kneeled during the anthem during the 2016-17 seasons and has been vocal discussing social injustice issues that inspired the protest movement by NFL players.

    Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a leader of the movement, tweeted support for Stills and Wilson.

    ''My brother (at)kstills continued his protest of systemic oppression tonight by taking a knee,'' the tweet said. ''Albert Wilson joined him in protest. Stay strong brothers!''

    And in Seattle, three Seahawks players ran into the team's locker room prior to the playing of ''The Star-Spangled Banner.''

    Defensive linemen Branden Jackson and Quinton Jefferson, and offensive lineman Duane Brown left the field following team introductions and before the start of the anthem. They returned to the sideline immediately after it concluded. All three were among a group of Seattle players that sat during the anthem last season.

    Brown and Jefferson said they intend to continue the action all season. Seattle coach Pete Carroll said the team discussed the topic and decided to support individual decisions. Brown said he didn't believe there had been much progress made from the demonstrations of last season.

    ''Everyone was clear on my decision and understands and supports it,'' Brown said. ''We all have different realities in this country and they understand my perspective. We're all on good terms.''

    In Jacksonville, four Jaguars remained in the locker room during the national anthem, and team officials said it would be up to the players to explain why they weren't on the field. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, linebacker Telvin Smith, and running backs Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon joined teammates on the sideline after the anthem.

    ''As a man, I got certain beliefs,'' said Smith, who wore ''Salute the Service'' cleats. ''You know what I mean? This is not going to become a distraction, and Jacksonville's not going to become a distraction for this team. I got beliefs. I did what I did. I don't know if it's going to be every week, can't answer if it's going to be every week.

    ''But as a man I've got to stand for something. I love my team, I'm dedicated to my teammates, and that's what we're talking about. I did what I did. It was love. I hope people see it and respect it. I respect views.''

    At Baltimore, both teams stood, but while most of the Ravens lined up shoulder to shoulder on the sideline, second-year linebacker Tim Williams stood alone in front of the bench with his back toward the field.

    All players on each team at New England appeared to stand for the anthem, some bowing their heads and others placing their hands on their hearts. The Patriots observed a moment of silence beforehand for Weymouth, Massachusetts, police officer Michael Chesna, who was killed last month in the line of duty.

    The league and the players' union have yet to announce a policy for this season regarding demonstrations during the anthem after the league initially ordered everyone to stand on the sideline when the anthem is played, or remain in the locker room.

    ''The NFL has been engaged in constructive discussions with the NFL Players Association regarding the anthem and issues of equality and social justice that are of concern to many Americans,'' league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email.

    ''While those discussions continue, the NFL has agreed to delay implementing or enforcing any club work rules that could result in players being disciplined for their conduct during the performance of the anthem.

    ''Meanwhile, there has been no change in the NFL's policy regarding the national anthem. The anthem will continue to be played before every game, and all player and non-player personnel on the field at that time are expected to stand during the presentation of the flag and performance of the anthem. Personnel who do not wish to do so can choose to remain in the locker room.

    ''We remain committed to working with the players to identify solutions and to continue making progress on important social issues affecting our communities.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    3 Seahawks leave field prior to anthem
    August 9, 2018

    SEATTLE (AP) Three Seattle Seahawks players ran into the tunnel leading to the team's locker room prior to the national anthem on Thursday night.

    Defensive linemen Branden Jackson and Quinton Jefferson, and offensive lineman Duane Brown left the field following team introductions and before the start of the anthem. They returned to the sideline immediately after it concluded. All three were among a group of Seattle players that sat during the anthem last season.

    There were no other actions by either Seattle or Indianapolis players during the performance of anthem.

    The league and the players' union have yet to announce a policy for this season regarding demonstrations during the anthem after the league initially ordered everyone to stand on the sideline when ''The Star-Spangled Banner'' is played, or remain in the locker room.

    ''The NFL has been engaged in constructive discussions with the NFL Players Association regarding the anthem and issues of equality and social justice that are of concern to many Americans,'' league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email.

    ''While those discussions continue, the NFL has agreed to delay implementing or enforcing any club work rules that could result in players being disciplined for their conduct during the performance of the anthem.

    ''Meanwhile, there has been no change in the NFL's policy regarding the national anthem. The anthem will continue to be played before every game, and all player and non-player personnel on the field at that time are expected to stand during the presentation of the flag and performance of the anthem. Personnel who do not wish to do so can choose to remain in the locker room.

    ''We remain committed to working with the players to identify solutions and to continue making progress on important social issues affecting our communities.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Trump says NFL players should 'be cool!'
    August 10, 2018

    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) President Donald Trump is once again lashing out at football players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.

    Trump claimed on Twitter Friday that ''most of them are unable to define'' what they're demonstrating against.

    Instead, Trump tweets players should ''Be happy, be cool!''

    Numerous player demonstrations took place during the national anthem at several early NFL preseason games Thursday night. Players have been protesting police killings of black men, social injustice and racism.

    Trump writes from his New Jersey golf resort that players ''make a fortune doing what they love'' and that those who refuse to stand ''proudly'' for the anthem should be suspended without pay.

    Trump has told associates he believes the anthem issue is a winning one that riles up his base.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Marshall, Thomas not on field for anthem
    August 11, 2018


    DENVER (AP) Linebacker Brandon Marshall and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas weren't with their teammates on the sideline for the national anthem prior to the Denver Broncos' game against the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday night.

    Marshall and Thomas emerged from the tunnel behind the Broncos' bench after the anthem was over.

    In Arizona, Los Angeles Chargers starting left tackle Richard Okung raised his fist during the anthem prior to the team's game against the Cardinals.

    The league and the NFLPA have yet to announce a policy for this season regarding demonstrations during the anthem after the league initially ordered everyone to stand on the sideline when the anthem is played, or remain in the locker room.

    Marshall has knelt in the past during the national anthem following the lead of his college teammate, Colin Kaepernick, who started the protests in 2016 to bring attention to social injustices. They played together at Nevada.

    Thomas hasn't been involved in the demonstrations but he wore the Malcom Jenkins ''You ain't listening'' T-shirt at a pre-camp barbeque last month.

    Okung stood with his fist raised behind the rest of the Chargers players, who lined up on the sideline for the anthem.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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