Patriots owner Robert Kraft, in an interview with the BBC, said Patriots players were given a choice to stand or not for the national anthem, criticized "inflammatory comments" made about players who demonstrated, but said his personal belief that it is important to “respect our flag and our anthem.”
Kraft's comments were included in a lengthy BBC piece about former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the anthem controversy in the NFL. Kraft's comments contrasted to those of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who warned that if his players don't stand for the anthem, they will not play.
Before New England's Sept. 24 game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium, 17 Patriots took a knee during the anthem. The following week Kraft said he spoke with the team and players decided that before the Oct. 1 home game against the Carolina Panthers, they would all stand with their right hand over their chest, with their left hand on the shoulder of the player next to them.
“The greatest enemy in sport is division from within. I personally feel it’s very important to respect our flag and our anthem," Kraft said in the BBC story. "But I also respect the right of people in this country to make statements or protests, peacefully, in a way that’s appropriate to them. I think there were some comments made about what our young men were doing that were a little inflammatory and inappropriate, and I thought I had to speak out. I spoke to the team and I told them that they were free to do what they thought was correct as long; I try to bring unity and bring things together, and part of that is respecting how other people think. Even if it’s genuine, even if it’s different than the way I speak; the way you build team and you build success is to let people be themselves."
"I have never heard anyone talk about blocking [Kaepernick] or excluding him” from the NFL, Kraft said, and when asked if the former 49ers QB would rejoin the league at some point, Kraft said, “I would think that’s a possibility.”
Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine bring you this Amica Game Recap to break down the Boston Celtics first win of the season.
NEW YORK - Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch was suspended for one game without pay by the NFL on Friday for shoving a game official during the Raiders' victory over Kansas City on Thursday night.
Lynch was ejected from the game after he shoved line judge Julian Mapp.
The scuffle started when Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was hit late on a run by Kansas City's Marcus Peters midway through the second quarter. Raiders offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn immediately confronted Peters, and Lynch sprinted onto the field from the bench to join the fray. Mapp tried to break up the fight, but Lynch pushed him and grabbed his jersey. Lynch also got a personal foul.
NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote a letter to Lynch, saying:
"You made deliberate physical contact with one of our game officials as he was diffusing an active confrontation between players. You were disqualified for your inappropriate and unsportsmanlike actions. Your conduct included pushing the game official and grabbing his jersey. ... You were not directly involved in the active confrontation that the game official was attempting to diffuse, nor were you a participant in the play that initiated the confrontation. You were the only player from either team who ran from the sideline to midfield to insert himself into a situation in which he was not directly involved."
Lynch will be eligible to return to Oakland's active roster on Oct. 30, the day after the Raiders' game against the Buffalo Bills.
Lynch finished the game with two carries for 9 yards.
The Raiders rallied to win 31-30 on a touchdown pass by Carr on the final play, and Lynch was in the locker room after the game congratulating his teammates.
Lynch came out of retirement this season and was traded from Seattle to the Raiders. Lynch said he wanted to make a comeback so he could give something back to his hometown of Oakland before the Raiders move to Las Vegas in 2020.
Lynch has rushed for 266 yards and two touchdowns in seven games.