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Bar blackout: Tavern boycotts NFL, holds veterans fundraiser instead

A New Jersey bar held a self-imposed NFL blackout over Veterans Day weekend, instead holding a fundraiser for veterans and their families after players continue their silent, kneeling protests during the playing of the national anthem this season.

>> Read more trending news 

Rob Johnson, co-owner of Woody’s Roadside Tavern in Farmingdale, New Jersey, had the idea after one of his customers who is a Vietnam vet said that he felt disrespected by pro football players taking a knee to protest police brutality, NJ.com reported.

>>Related: 3 NFL players take a knee on Veterans Day weekend

So Johnson decided to turn off the games for Veterans Day weekend. He also gave 20 percent of food sales to the Green Beret Foundation and Special Forces Chapter 19 to help veterans and their families, NJ.com and The Asbury Park Press reported.

The bar was filled with supporters during Sunday’s event. One hour after it started, waiters had run out of glasses, with 300 to 400 customers, The Press reported.

Over the patriotic weekend, only three NFL players knelt before the games.

Related video:

3 NFL players take a knee on Veterans Day weekend

Although it was noticed during the early NFL games on Sunday that no players had as of then decided to take a knee during the national anthem this Veterans Day weekend, that changed later in the day.

>> On Rare.us: Miko Grimes is slammed for saying Raiders allowed Derek Carr’s injury

Before the 4 p.m. game between the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers, players from both teams demonstrated. One of the Giants, Olivier Vernon, was seen kneeling behind a large American flag.

>> Read more trending news

Eric Reid and Marquise Goodwin with the 49ers, Colin Kaepernick's former team, also joined.

The NFL Players Association had asked all players to observe a two-minute moment of silence before games to honor veterans. Many players and teams did show support of the military.

Even players who have been protesting most of the season stood for the anthem this week, including the Seahawks’ Michael Bennett, who stood before Thursday night’s game. Titans receiver Rishard Matthews walked onto the field holding hands with soldiers and stood with teammates for the anthem for the first time since President Donald Trump criticized players for protesting.

Bennett in particular wanted to show that his participation in the protest was not about the military.

Regardless of how the players planned to act this week, many people were open about the fact that they would be boycotting the NFL this weekend, including Sarah Palin.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Report: 3 NFL owners to surrender emails, cell phones in Kaepernick case

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Houston Texans owner Bob McNair are among the NFL team owners that will be deposed in Colin Kaepernick’s collusion case against the NFL, according to a Friday report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. 

>> Read more trending news

Schefter reported the owners will be asked to turn over all cell phone records and emails in relation to the collusion case.

Others owners, teams and league officials also will be deposed, but Schefter reported they have not been confirmed as of Friday.

On Oct. 15, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL accusing owners of collusion and preventing him from being signed to another team, according to ESPN. 

Kaepernick, a second-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft, is one of the most accomplished free-agent quarterbacks on the market. The former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers led his team to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship in 2013 before opting out of his contract in March.

Kaepernick, who has not been re-signed by any NFL team, began taking a knee in protest of police brutality and social injustice during the playing of the national anthem last season.

Retired Navy officer refuses award from New Orleans Saints due to player protests

A retired U.S. Navy officer said he declined an award from the New Orleans Saints because of NFL players protesting the national anthem by taking a knee, WDSU reported.

>> Read more trending news

Cmdr. John Wells was selected for a Peoples Health Champion Award, which would have been presented at Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Superdome. The award is given to Louisianans who have “significant accomplishments” and have reached "senior citizen status.”

Wells, who is the executive director of Military Veterans Advocacy in Slidell, said he declined the award because of the ongoing controversy with the NFL and some players protesting during the national anthem.

“I am unable, in good conscience, to enter an NFL stadium while this discourtesy prevails,” Wells wrote to executives of Peoples Health and the Saints.

Wells said the award was “tainted with dishonorable actions” by the NFL and its players. He said accepting the award would be hypocritical, WDSU reported.

“I had hoped and prayed that the NFL would outlaw these disgraceful protests and wanted to give the commissioner and the owners a fair opportunity to do so” Wells told WDSU. “Their failure to act is a slap in the face to all of those who have served in uniform. Men and women have fought and died for the flag that the players are disrespecting.”

In a statement, the Saints said the team respects his decision and that “he has that right, and we thank him for his service to our country and his past efforts on behalf of the military and veterans.”

“We will not allow Mr. Wells’ decision and subsequent media appearances to distract our players and organization from continuing to honor and support our military and veterans. We, as an organization, have decided to move on from this sad and divisive discourse and focus our attention on supporting our military and veterans,” the statement said.

The Saints added that all of their players have stood for the national anthem for every game since their inception in 1967, with the exception of a few players during a game this season at Carolina.

The practice of players kneeling or sitting during the national anthem has grown since former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began doing it last season to protest racial injustice and police brutality. 

Wells’ group is a national organization based out of Slidell. Military Veterans Advocacy works in the interest of veterans and active-duty military personnel.

During his career, Wells has testified before Congress in support of veterans' benefits and has litigated benefits issues in several federal courts. He was recently award the Distinguished Military Honor Award by Folds of Honor, WDSU reported.

Colin Kaepernick's lawyer says he will be signed in next 10 days

After being a free agent for over seven months, Colin Kaepernick could finally sign with an NFL team.

In an appearance on “The Adam Carolla Show” on Tuesday, Kaepernick’s attorney, Mark Geragos, said he expects the quarterback to be signed within the next 10 days.

>> Read more trending news

"I think within the next 10 days somebody will sign him," Geragos said. "I think somebody's going to sign him. I think the NFL has to come to their senses and realize every day that goes by just proves the collusion case even more."

Kaepernick, a second-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft, is one of the most accomplished free-agent quarterbacks on the market after leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship in 2013.

>> Related: Colin Kaepernick not invited to annual owners and NFLPA meeting

Despite his accomplishments in the league, Kaepernick has been unsigned since he opted out of his contract in March. He began taking a knee in protest of police brutality and social injustice during the playing of the national anthem last season.

In response, Kaepernick filed a grievance on Oct. 15 accusing NFL owners of collusion and preventing him from being signed to another team, according to ESPN.

In six season with the 49ers, five as starter, the former Nevada quarterback threw for 12,271 yards and 72 touchdowns and rushed for 2,300 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Texans owner Bob McNair apologizes for ‘inmates running the prison’ comment

NFL owners met on Oct. 18 and one of the topics on the agenda was whether the league should step in with some kind of mandate involving decorum during the national anthem. ESPN The Magazine revealed one bombshell from Houston Texans owner Bob McNair.

“We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” McNair said when discussing player protests during the national anthem.

>> Read more trending news

While the more commonly-used phrase is “inmates are running the asylum,” the reaction has already been sweeping to this statement.

Within the confines of the piece, ESPN notes one unspecified owner as saying, “The majority of owners understand this is important to the players and want to be supportive, even if they don’t exactly know how to be supportive.” 

According to ESPN, NFL executive Troy Vincent said he was offended by McNair’s use of the term “inmates” in referring to players. 

“Vincent said that in all his years of playing in the NFL -- during which, he said, he had been called every name in the book, including the N-word -- he never felt like an ‘inmate,’” ESPN reported

Later, McNair privately spoke to Vincent and apologized, which Vincent reportedly appreciated.

The “inmates running the prison” quote didn’t sit well with at least some Texans players. ESPN reported that about 10 players, including wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, left the Texans practice space. Most returned and other were talked out of protesting by coaching staff, according to an unnamed ESPN source.

"When it happened, there's a thousand emotions going through your mind," left tackle Duane Brown said. "Obviously, one of the emotions is to leave the building immediately. (But) we decided to go to work. The situation’s not over. It’s something that we’ll reconvene and talk about again, but we had practice today.”

Texans coach Bill O’Brien said he stands with the players, and the team will come together when it plays the Seattle Seahawks Sunday.

“I’m 100 percent with these players,” O’Brien said. “I love these players, I love this coaching staff. We will show up in Seattle and play. We will play very hard. Seattle is a great football team with a great coaching staff. But we will be there when the ball is kicked off in Seattle.”

By Friday morning, McNair issued a statement apologizing for his comment.

The Texans issued a further statement from McNair on its Twitter account Saturday.

Dolphins' Ndamukong Suh puts hand on Baltimore QB Ryan Mallett's throat

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh explained why he put his hand on the throat of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Ryan Mallett during the fourth quarter of Thursday’s night’s 40-0 loss.

>> Read more trending news

“He came at me,” Suh said. “Tried to attack me. And I’m protecting myself. Regret what? No, I’m never going to regret protecting myself.”

Suh was penalized for unnecessary roughness in the third quarter when he pushed down hard on a lineman’s arm down at the end of a play.

Suh was also penalized for unnecessary roughness in the fourth quarter, though that penalty was declined.

On the same play, defensive lineman William Hayes was penalized for unnecessary roughness after he appeared to poke at a players’ eye.

Suh defended Kiko Alonso, who was penalized for an unnecessary roughness penalty in the second quarter, when he knocked out Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco with a blow to the quarterback’s head as he slid.

“I didn’t see it, but I know Kiko’s not a dirty player,” Suh said.

As for the overall chippiness in the game, Suh said: “I don’t know about all that. I am always going to play hard, no matter what the score is.”

Miami coach Adam Gase added: “We have to keep our composure better than we did tonight.”

 

NFL wide receiver walks to work after bike is stolen

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is now walking to practice because he said someone stole his bike.

>> Read more trending news

Smith-Schuster took to Twitter on Tuesday to post a video letting his followers know that his bike was stolen and he was walking to practice.

The tweet was followed by another showing him riding his bike Monday while wearing his Steelers helmet.

Smith-Schuster, the NFL’s youngest player at 20 years old, is known for riding his bike to work.

Teammate Antonio Brown tweeted his support in helping Smith-Schuster find his bike. Brown is offering two tickets to a Steelers home game for whoever returns the bike.

Trump says there's 'no leadership in NFL'

President Donald Trump on Monday lamented what he called a lack of leadership in the NFL days after the league’s commissioner said no plans are in place to force football players to stand during the national anthem.

>> Read more trending news

“Two dozen NFL players continue to kneel during the National Anthem, showing total disrespect to our Flag & Country,” Trump tweeted on Monday morning. “No leadership in NFL!”

NFL commissioner Roger Goddell said last week that he believes players “should” stand for the anthem, but that team owners and other officials are focused on understanding the issues that are prompting the protests. He said that players will not be penalized if they choose to kneel during the anthem.

"I think our clubs all see this the same way -- we want our players to stand, we're going to encourage them to stand and we're going to continue to work on these issues in the community," Goodell said Tuesday at a news conference following the Fall League Meeting in New York.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first started kneeling during the anthem last year, to protest police violence against minorities. The protest got mixed reactions, but other NFL players -- and players in other sports -- have since followed Kaepernick’s lead, to protest inequality.

>> Related: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants players to stand during national anthem, memo says

“They're talking about criminal justice reform,” Goddell said last week. “They're talking about changes that, I think, will make our communities better -- that there's bipartisan support for and that need focus. … They're talking about equality issues, making sure we're doing everything we possibly can to give people an opportunity, whether it's an education or economic and what we can do to try to effectuate that. And we believe, with the players, that we can help them, we can support them. And those are our issues, national issues, American issues that are all important."

Trump suggested last month that NFL team owners should fire players who refuse to stand during the anthem, telling a crowd in Alabama that “that’s a total disrespect for our heritage.”

Goddell said last week that players “are not doing this in any way to be disrespectful to the flag, but they also understand how it's being interpreted, and we're dealing with those underlying issues."

Homecoming queen kicks game-winning field goal

It was a great week for a Texas high school student. She was named homecoming queen last week, and on Friday she kicked five extra points and the game-winning field goal for her football team.

>> Read more trending news

Claire Jeffress was the clutch kicker for Dawson High School on Friday, converting a 30-yard field goal with 1:08 to play to snap a tie and give the Eagles a 38-35 victory against Pearland.

“Homecoming queen knocks it through, Dawson wins,” Dawson head coach Eric Wells told the Houston Chronicle. “You have to love that.”

Wells said Dawson “doesn’t get rattled” during games. 

“There wasn’t even a question that she was going to kick it,” he said.

Besides, it wasn’t even Jeffress’ first game-winning kick. She made a go-ahead extra point on Oct. 5 to give Dawson a 14-13 victory against George Ranch.

Jeffress has been playing football since she was a seventh-grader. She told TMC News in January that she felt she needed to prove herself to play on the boys squad.

“I didn't want to make the team because I was a girl -- I didn't want it to be some special factor," she told TMC News. “I wanted to make it because I deserved to be on the team. They understood that.”

On the night she was crowned homecoming queen -- her homecoming dress was adorned with a football -- Jeffress was 6-for-6 on extra points as Dawson defeated Brazoswood 51-16. 

So kicking a game-winner on Friday was not a pressure situation, she said.

“I just wanted to do what I've always done and not think of it as any big deal,” Jeffress told the Chronicle. “My team had faith in me, and they were going to block for me, and the snap and the hold were going to be good, so I just had to do my job.”

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