Joe Staley, Frank Gore finalists for sportsmanship award

Joe Staley, Frank Gore finalists for sportsmanship award

Joe Staley and Frank Gore are among the eight finalists for the 2016 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, the NFL announced on Monday morning.

The award was established in 2014 in honor of the late Art Rooney Sr., the founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald was the inaugural winner with Oakland’s Charles Woodson winning it a year ago in his final NFL season.

Staley, who has been selected to five consecutive Pro Bowls, is concluding his 10th season with the 49ers. Gore, a 12-year NFL veteran, spent his first 10 seasons with the 49ers before signing with the Indianapolis Colts in 2015.

The winner will be announced on the eve of Super Bowl 51 in Houston. Here are the finalists for the award:

LB Brian Cushing, Houston
RB Frank Gore, Indianapolis
TE Greg Olson, Carolina
LB Julius Peppers, Green Bay
RB Darren Sproles, Philadelphia
OL Joe Staley, 49ers
LB DeMarcus Ware, Denver
OL Marshall Yanda, Baltimore

Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'


Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'

NEW YORK — The NFL is not changing its national anthem policy to require players to stand during the national anthem.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and several owners said Wednesday at the league’s fall meetings that altering the language from “should stand” to “must stand” was not discussed.

New York Giants owner John Mara noted that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones “spoke at length” to the other owners about the anthem issue. Jones has said any Dallas player who doesn’t stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” would not be playing.

Goodell reiterated that the league and its 32 clubs “believe everyone should stand for the national anthem. It’s an important part of our policy and the game. It’s important to honor our flag and our country and I think our fans expect that.”

Asked about any owners who threatened discipline for players who didn’t stand, Goodell said the owners didn’t discuss it.

“There was a fair amount of conversation and I think our clubs see it the same way. I can’t deal with hypotheticals,” Goodell said.

Reminded that President Donald Trump tweeted again Wednesday about the demonstrations during the anthem, Goodell said there was nothing unpatriotic about his league.

“Everyone feels strongly about our country and have pride,” he said, adding the NFL is “not afraid of tough conversations.

“What we are trying to stay out of is politics.”

Goodell noted that only six or seven players are still kneeling or are involved in protests.

“We hope we will continue to work to put that at zero,” he said.

On Tuesday, in an unprecedented move for a league meeting, a group of 11 owners and more than a dozen players met for more than two hours at NFL headquarters. Among the topics discussed was enhancing the players’ platforms for speaking out on social issues.

“I understand the way they feel about these issues,” Goodell said Wednesday. “We feel the same about patriotism and the flag and I believe our players feel that way. We have a great deal of support for the efforts of our players.”

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem


Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is again criticizing the NFL over players kneeling during the national anthem.

Trump said on Twitter Wednesday that the “NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem.”

He adds: “Total disrespect for our great country!”

Trump appeared to be responding to the NFL annual fall meeting on Tuesday. The league invited players and representatives from their union to discuss social issues.

The topic of the national anthem was not discussed at length. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said owners did not ask players to commit to standing during the anthem.

Trump has suggested the owners should “fire” any players who knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”