NFL announces new policy on players' anthem protests

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NFL announces new policy on players' anthem protests

ATLANTA  — NFL owners approved a new policy Thursday aimed at addressing the firestorm over national anthem protests, permitting players to stay in the locker room during the "The Star-Spangled Banner" but requiring them to stand if they come to the field.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said the change was approved unanimously by the owners at their spring meeting in Atlanta, but it was met with immediate skepticism by the players' union.

"We want people to be respectful of the national anthem. We want people to stand," Goodell said. "That's all personnel, and to make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion. That's something that we think we owe. We've been very sensitive on making sure that we give players choices, but we do believe that moment is an important moment and one that we are going to focus on."

In a sign that players were not part of the discussions, any violations of the policy would result in fines against the team — not the players.

The NFL Players Association said it will challenge any part of the new policy that violates the collective bargaining agreement.

The owners spent several hours addressing the contentious issue — which has reached all the way to the White House.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, a quiet but powerful protest against police brutality and racial inequities in the justice system.

Other players took up the cause, and the gesture carried on during the 2017 season even after Kaepernick left the 49ers and failed to land a job with another team.

President Trump turned the anthem protests into a campaign issue, saying the NFL should fire any player who takes a knee during "The Star-Spangled Banner." The NFL hasn't gone that far, but Kaepernick has yet to land another job and one of his former teammates and fellow protesters, safety Eric Reid, is also out of work.

Both have filed collusion grievances against the NFL.

While the owners touted the change as a compromise and noted it was approved unanimously, the players' union made it clear it was not part of the discussions.

"The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new 'policy,'" the NFLPA said in a statement. "NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about."

The statement added, "The vote by NFL club CEOs today contradicts the statements made to our player leadership by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Chairman of the NFL's Management Council John Mara (co-owner of the New York Giants) about the principles, values and patriotism of our League."

© 2018 by The Associated Press.



Patriots defense make NFL history with performance through two games

Patriots defense make NFL history with performance through two games

The New England Patriots defense has played very well to start the season. In fact, they are performing historically well.

So far through two contests, the Patriots have allowed a minuscule three points in two games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins. According to the ESPN Stats and Info Twitter account, that's tied for the fewest points allowed through two games during the Super Bowl era.

Of the three teams listed along with the Patriots, two made the playoffs but none of them made it to the Super Bowl. The Patriots will look to change that.

The Patriots have faced 22 drives this season and only one has ended in a score. Of the other drives, nine have ended in 3-and-outs and five have ended on interceptions (two of which were returned for touchdowns).

It's unlikely that the Patriots' success will continue on at this rate for the foreseeable future. But even if they regress a bit, they will still be one of the most powerful teams in the entire league and will sport one of the NFL's fiercest defenses. Either way, the Patriots defense is a strength and will surely give the Patriots a chance to make it to their fourth consecutive Super Bowl.

CURRAN: Josh Gordon becoming a Patriots success story>>>

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NFL odds Week 3: Early spread for Patriots vs. Jets, all other games

NFL odds Week 3: Early spread for Patriots vs. Jets, all other games

The New England Patriots will be favored by more than two touchdowns for the second consecutive game when they take on the New York Jets in Week 3.

The Patriots destroyed the Miami Dolphins on the road Sunday in a 43-0 Week 2 win. New England's defense had seven sacks and four interceptions, while the offense was bolstered by the debut of newly signed wide receiver Antonio Brown. The 31-year-old veteran caught four passes from Tom Brady, tallying 56 receiving yards and one touchdown.

Oddsmakers pegged the Patriots as 18.5-point favorites against the Dolphins, and the defending Super Bowl champions easily covered the spread. With the Pats ready to host the Jets on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium, oddsmakers again are making New England a massive favorite entering Week 3. The Jets also are expected to start backup quarterback Trevor Siemian against the Patriots because starter Sam Darnold is battling mono.

Here are the early spreads for every Week 3 game (via the Westgate Superbook):

The most notable spread on that list is the Dallas Cowboys being favored by 20.5-points over the Dolphins. The Cowboys are 2-0, and their high-powered offense led by Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott should easily be able to move the ball against a Dolphins defense that's given up 102 points over the first two weeks of the season.

The Dolphins have played so poorly that the Westgate Superbook is taking prop bets on them to finish the season 0-16 (the book also has odds on the Patriots going 16-0).

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