Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick files grievance against NFL, alleging collusion

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Colin Kaepernick files grievance against NFL, alleging collusion

NEW YORK -- Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL on Sunday, alleging that he remains unsigned as a result of collusion by owners following his protests during the national anthem.

Kaepernick started a national conversation about political activism by athletes last season when he decided to sit, and then kneel, during the anthem to bring attention to mistreatment of African-Americans by police. Other players have continued the protests this season, prompting an angry response from President Donald Trump, who said players should be fired for not standing during the anthem.

Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers at the end of last season and remains a free agent despite a rash of injuries and poor play at the quarterback position.

Mark Geragos, one of Kaepernick's attorneys, said in a statement posted on Twitter on Sunday that he filed the grievance "only after pursuing every possible avenue with all NFL teams and their executives."

"If the NFL (as well as all professional sports leagues) is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful political protest -- which the owners themselves made great theater imitating weeks ago -- should not be punished," Geragos said in the statement, "and athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the executive branch of our government. Such a precedent threatens all patriotic Americans and harkens back to our darkest days as a nation."

San Francisco safety Eric Reid, Kaepernick's former teammate, has been kneeling during the anthem before games, including Sunday's 26-24 loss at the Washington Redskins.

"I'll have to follow up with him," Reid said after the game. "It sure does seem like he's being blackballed. I think all the stats prove that he's an NFL-worthy quarterback. So that's his choice and I support his decision. We'll just have to see what comes of it."

The NFL players' union said it would support the grievance, which was filed through the arbitration system that's part of the league's collective bargaining agreement.

"Colin Kaepernick's goal has always been, and remains, to simply be treated fairly by the league he performed at the highest level for and to return to the football playing field," Geragos said.

Jake Elliott's photo after unforgettable finish a major breath of fresh air

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Jake Elliott's photo after unforgettable finish a major breath of fresh air

"A picture is worth a thousand words."

The saying is attributed to Frederick R. Barnard, but there is some debate who coined the phrase. We’ll let historians debate the origin. Fast-forward some 90-odd years later to a hot Sunday afternoon in South Philadelphia and the visual of Jake Elliott triumphantly being carried off the field on the shoulders of Mychal Kendricks and Kamu Grugier-Hill.

It was a fitting close to a crazy game. Elliott had just buried the longest field goal in franchise history. The sixth-longest ever in the NFL. Sixty-one yards of pure bliss for Eagles fans. All courtesy of a player who was not even on the team two weeks ago. A guy most had never heard of prior to that, including his now teammates, being given the ultimate escort. A kicker nonetheless. The still photo now serves a screen saver or backdrop for countless Eagles fans. A reminder of yet another wild finish between these two old rivals. But the image also represents something much deeper.

Sunday was dominated by images of the sidelines during the national anthem, as players responded to the President Trump's comments. The Eagles, along with their owner, Jeffrey Lurie, stood arms locked along with Philadelphia police during the national anthem. Others around the league sat or kneeled. Some teams never came out of the locker room. Some went the traditional route of standing with their hand over their heart to honor our flag. But unlike Colin Kaepernick’s protests last year or Malcolm Jenkins' clenched fist, this was a much broader protest being made by NFL players.

That this a complex, polarizing issue, no one will argue. The overriding message or theme from the players who took part in the demonstrations was it was done in response to the president’s cry Friday that NFL owners who see players “disrespecting the flag” should say “get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired.” The protests were also done to raise awareness of the racial inequalities in our country. There are those who find any action other than standing at attention for the anthem to be disrespectful to our country regardless of the reasoning behind it.

Sports has long been the cocoon that allows fans to escape "real world" problems. Attend or turn on a game and you could get a two-three hour respite from work or politics or family issues. Those days are gone. The two worlds have collided, and, like it or not, there is no untangling the two forces.

But there was something about the shot of Elliott, a white man being carried off the field by two African-American men. It was unbridled joy by three human beings from differing backgrounds. But the only color you see is green. No division, race, class or politics. And that's what's still beautiful about sports. Pollyanna perhaps. Individuals of all races and ethnicities and backgrounds working together for a greater good.

Kind of the way it’s supposed to be in that "real world." Picture that.

National Anthem Notebook: Steelers, Titans and Seahawks no-shows

National Anthem Notebook: Steelers, Titans and Seahawks no-shows

The Tennessee Titans are joining the Seattle Seahawks in deciding not to come out for the national anthem.

The Seahawks announced nearly 30 minutes before kickoff that they would not stand for the national anthem because they "will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country."

The Titans followed 10 minutes later by saying they will remain in the locker room during the national anthem. They posted a statement on their website noting they want to be unified as a team with the players deciding jointly that staying inside was the best course of action.

The team also said their commitment to the military and community is "resolute" and that "the absence of our team for the national anthem shouldn't be misconstrued as unpatriotic."

Seattle has been one of the more outspoken teams in professional sports on social issues, led by Michael Bennett, Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin.

NFL to re-air unity ad
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a tweet that the league will re-air a unity television advertisement Sunday night that it first ran during February's Super Bowl.

The one-minute spot called "Inside These Lines," will be shown during the Sunday night game between the Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins.

Over images and video of NFL players embracing one another on the field, the narrator says "Inside these lines, we don't have to come from the same place to help each other reach the same destination."

Goodell said that President's Trump's remarks about the NFL demonstrated "an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL."

Steelers stay in locker room for anthem
The Pittsburgh Steelers have decided to stay in their locker room for the national anthem before their game against the Chicago Bears, coach Mike Tomlin has told CBS.

The move was apparently in reaction to President Donald Trump's suggestion that NFL owners fire players who kneel for the national anthem.

Several players from the Jaguars and Ravens decided to kneel in the first NFL game of the day in London. Then Tomlin said his players would not be on the sideline at Soldier Field in Chicago for the anthem.

Tagliabue lashes out at Trump
Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue called President Donald Trump's comments on NFL players "insulting and disgraceful."

Tagliabue, who was in Charlotte, North Carolina, as a guest of Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, spoke to the media before Carolina's game against the New Orleans Saints.

"For me to single out any particular group of players and call them SOB's, to me, that is insulting and disgraceful," Tagliabue said. "So I think the players deserve credit for what they do. And when it comes to speech they are entitled to speak. And we are entitled to listen. We are entitled to agree or disagree. But we're not entitled to shut anybody's speech down. Sometimes you don't like what you hear and that is true in life in lots of contexts, but you can't shut people down and be disgraceful when you are doing it."

Richardson is not making a statement on the Trump's remarks, per team spokesman Steven Drummond.

Dolphins players support Kaepernick
A handful of Miami Dolphins players are wearing black T-shirts supporting free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick during pregame warm-ups.

The shirts have "(hash)IMWITHKAP" written in bold white lettering on the front.

Kaepernick was the first athlete to refuse to stand during the national anthem as a protest. This season, no team has signed him, and some supporters believe NFL owners are avoiding him because of the controversy.

Among the players sporting the shirts before their game against the New York Jets are wide receiver Kenny Stills, running back Jay Ajayi and offensive linemen Laremy Tunsil and Ja'Wuan James. Stills, also a team captain, posted a photo on Twitter of himself wearing the shirt , along with the post: "In case you didn't know!"

Bills fans speak out
Outside the Buffalo Bills' New Era Field, fans were tailgating as normal with no signs of protests or indications of support.

Last season, vendors here sold anti-Colin Kaepernick jerseys -- including one with him pictured in the crosshairs of a target -- before the San Francisco 49ers game at Orchard Park on Oct. 16. Kaepernick was jeered once the game began.

Kaepernick was the first player to refuse to stand during the national anthem.

"If they do this as a whole team, I will want my money back as a season-ticket holder and I'll never come back to a game again," fan Mike Ragyna said when asked about the prospect of players protesting during the anthem.

"There's no reason they can't stand for the national anthem and get up on a soapbox afterward and do it then," Ragyna said.

Jags owner stands with players
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan calls it a privilege to stand arm-in-arm with players during the national anthem in London.

Khan stood between tight end Marcedes Lewis and linebacker Telvin Smith at Wembley Stadium and then released a statement to express his support for players. Coaches and other team personnel from both teams did the same before the game against the Ravens.

About two dozen players on both teams kneeled, something President Donald Trump has said owners should fire players for.

"It was a privilege to stand on the sidelines with the Jacksonville Jaguars today for the playing of the U.S. national anthem at Wembley Stadium," Khan said. "I met with our team captains prior to the game to express my support for them, all NFL players and the league following the divisive and contentious remarks made by President Trump, and was honored to be arm in arm with them, their teammates and our coaches during our anthem."

Treasury Secretary defends Trump
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is defending President Donald Trump's attacks on football players who kneel during the national anthem.

Speaking on ABC's "This Week" Sunday morning, Mnuchin says the National Football League enforces other types of rules and Trump thinks "owners should have a rule that players should have to stand in respect for the national anthem."

Mnuchin adds that "they can do free speech on their own time."

Trump suggested during a speech Friday night that NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. A handful of NFL players have refused to stand to protest several issues, including police brutality.

White House responds
A White House adviser says the president lashed out at NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem because he stands with Americans who want the anthem respected.

Marc Short is director of legislative affairs. He argues on NBC's "Meet the Press" that President Donald Trump believes NFL players have First Amendment rights, but that owners should have the right to fire them.

Trump seemed to disinvite the NBA champion Golden State Warriors from the White House because of star Stephen Curry's public opposition to him.

Asked why Trump is inflaming tensions, Short says the Warriors started it. He says players "were the ones that first went out ... and began criticizing the president."

Ravens owner supports players
Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti says he "100 percent" supports his players' decision to kneel during the national anthem ahead of Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley.

At least seven Ravens players and more than a dozen Jaguars players took a knee during the anthem while the rest of the players stood locked arm-in-arm in an apparent response to President Donald Trump, who said this week that NFL owners should fire those who disrespected the American flag.

But the Ravens issued a statement from Bisciotti minutes after kickoff, saying: "We recognize our players' influence. We respect their demonstration and support them 100 percent. All voices need to be heard. That's democracy in its highest form."

Jaguars owner Shad Khan stood arm-in-arm with his players during the anthem.

Ravens, Jags players kneel
About two dozen players, including Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before the start of the teams' game at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Other players on one knee during the performance included Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, wide receiver Mike Wallace and safety Lardarius Webb as well as Jaguars linebacker Dante Fowler, defensive tackle Calais Campbell, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Players on both teams and Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who were not kneeling, remained locked arm-in-arm throughout the playing of the national anthem and "God Save The Queen," the national anthem of Britain.

No players were kneeling during the playing of the British national anthem.

President Donald Trump had a suggestion on Saturday for National Football League owners whose players decide to take a knee during the national anthem: fire them.