NFL Week 3: Trump calls for NFL rule requiring players to stand for the national anthem


Welcome to The Times’ weekly NFL round up. If the opening game of Week 3 is any indication, it is likely to be a full day of protests by players following President Trump’s controversial comments.

The protests, which had largely died down in the NFL, come in the wake of Trump’s comments at a political rally Friday, when he challenged NFL owners to fire any player who didn’t stand for the anthem.

Here’s what you need to know:

More Trump tweets about the NFL and the national anthem

In addition to calling for an NFL rule requiring players to stand for the national anthem, President Trump also tweeted Tuesday morning about football ratings and on the Dallas Cowboys’ demonstration on “Monday Night Football.”


Trump calls for NFL rule to make players stand during the national anthem

President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to call for an NFL rule to stop players from kneeling during the national anthem.

There is a meme going around that gives the impression that the NFL already has such a rule in place.

But, according to some excellent research and reporting by the Indiana Star, that quote is not actually from the 2017 Official Playing Rules of the National Football League.

Instead, it’s a part of the league’s game operations manual, which is distributed to every NFL team. So, technically, “it’s policy, it’s not a rule,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Indiana Star.

“I think where people are getting confused is, rules, that’s like holding or defensive pass interference, that’s a rule. This is policy.”

McCarthy told the Indiana Star that players who didn’t take the field or protested during the anthem would not be penalized.

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart declined to comment on Trump’s tweet during a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning.


Pat Tillman’s widow asks that her husband’s service not be politicized for divisive purposes

Marie Tillman, the widow of former NFL player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman, says that her husband’s service “should never be politicized in a way that divides us.”

Marie Tillman released a statement to CNN on Monday after President Trump retweeted a post referencing Pat Tillman and using the hashtag #StandForOurAnthem. Trump has criticized NFL players for kneeling during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest police mistreatment of blacks and other social injustices. More than 200 NFL players knelt or sat during the anthem this weekend.

Tillman walked away from the NFL to join the Army after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.

“As a football player and soldier, Pat inspired countless Americans to unify,” Marie Tillman said. “It is my hope that his memory should always remind people that we must come together. Pat’s service, along with that of every man and woman’s service, should never be politicized in a way that divides us. We are too great of a country for that. Those that serve fight for the American ideals of freedom, justice and democracy. They and their families know the cost of that fight. I know the very personal costs in a way I feel acutely every day.

“The very action of self expression and the freedom to speak from one’s heart — no matter those views — is what Pat and so many other Americans have given their lives for. Even if they didn’t always agree with those views. It is my sincere hope that our leaders both understand and learn from the lessons of Pat’s life and death, and also those of so many other brave Americans.”


Cowboys rise up in the fourth quarter to beat the Cardinals 28-17

Dak Prescott threw two touchdown passes and flipped head over heels into the end zone on a 10-yard run for another and the Dallas Cowboys pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Arizona Cardinals 28-17 on Monday night.

The Cowboys (2-1), bouncing back from a 42-17 pummeling in Denver, began the game kneeling at midfield with owner Jerry Jones in a show of unity that followed widespread protests across the NFL of critical comments by President Trump over the weekend.

After they kneeled, they stood and walked to the sideline for the anthem.

Prescott, 13 of 18 for 183 yards, broke a 14-14 tie with a 37-yard scoring pass to Brice Butler with 11:52 to play.

Arizona, with a spectacular catch by Larry Fitzgerald for 24 yards on a third-and-18 play, moved downfield but the drive stalled. Phil Dawson’s 37-yard field goal cut the lead to 21-17 with 6:35 left.

Ezekiel Elliott, who gained 8 yards in nine carries against Denver and drew criticism for not hustling after a couple of late interceptions, was bottled up much of the game, but still gained 80 yards on 22 attempts, 30 on one play. He ran 8 yards for the final Cowboys touchdown.

The Cardinals (1-2), in their home opener, got a big game from Fitzgerald, who caught 13 passes for 149 yards, in the process moving ahead of Marvin Harrison into eighth in career receiving yards.

Carson Palmer had a big first half, completed 15 of 18 for 145 yards and finished 29 of 48 for 325 yards and two scores. He was sacked six times, a career-high three by DeMarcus Lawrence.

The Cardinals dominated the first half statistically, but were deadlocked with the Cowboys at 7-7. Arizona had a 152-57 advantage in yards and dominated time of possession 19:34 to 9:41.

Arizona took the opening kickoff and went 82 yards in eight plays. Palmer was 5-for-5 on the drive, capped by a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Brown.

Before Dallas even had a first down, Arizona mounted a nearly nine-minute drive but a touchdown pass to Brown was negated by a holding penalty and Phil Dawson’s 36-yard field goal try was wide right. It was the third mid-range miss for the 41-year-old kicker this season.

And the miss left the door open for the Cowboys to get back in it.

Prescott scored on a 10-yard run, flipping head-first over the goal line to tie it at 7-7 with 3:33 left in the half.


Cowboys kneel before national anthem on Monday Night Football

Members of the Dallas Cowboys, including owner Jerry Jones, took a knee before the national anthem ahead of a Monday Night Football game against the Arizona Cardinals.
(Matt York / Associated Press)

The Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals put their own twist on recognizing the national anthem before their “Monday Night Football” game in Glendale, Ariz.

The Cowboys, joined by team owner Jerry Jones and his sons, interlocked arms and walked about 10 yards toward the middle of the field. They then took a knee collectively and were loudly booed. They then stood in unision, unlocked arms and returned to the sideline where they stood for the duration of the anthem.

The crowd booed loudly, then cheered as a field-sized American flag was unfurled.

The Cardinals, joined by owner Michael Bidwill, lined the back of an end zone and linked arms with members of the military.

In the wake of comments by President Trump last week that players who didn’t stand for the anthem should be fired, every NFL team responded with some type of show of unity or protest. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans stayed in their respective locker rooms during the flag ceremonies.

Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald locks arms with team president Michael Bidwill and coach Bruce Arians before a Monday Night Football game against the Dallas Cowboys.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

Steelers’ Alejandro Villanueva: ‘Every single time I see that picture of me standing by myself, I feel embarrassed’


Ben Roethlisberger on the Steelers remaining in tunnel for anthem: ‘I wish we approached it differently’

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looks at the scoreboard during a game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
(Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press)

The Pittsburgh Steelers decided as a team to remain in the tunnel during the national anthem before Sunday’s game to show unity and avoid being part of the political discussion about protests during the song.

On Monday, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger decided to go public with his feelings about the team’s decision and the national anthem in general.

“The idea was to be unified as a team when so much attention is paid to things dividing our country, but I wish we approached it differently,” Roethlisberger said in a statement. “We did not want to appear divided on the sideline with some standing and some kneeling or sitting.

“As a team, it was not a protest of the flag or the Anthem. I personally don’t believe the Anthem is ever the time to make any type of protest. For me, and many others on my team and around the league, it is a tribute to those who commit to serve and protect our country, current and past, especially the ones that have made the ultimate sacrifice.

“I appreciate the unique diversity in my team and throughout the league and completely support the call for social change and the pusuit of true equality. Moving forward, I hope standing for the Anthem shows solidarity as a nation, that we stand united in respect for the people on the front lines protecting our freedom and keeping us safe. God bless those men and women.”


No national anthem protests in NASCAR after warnings from executives

Race cars are lined up prior to the NASCAR Cup Series 300 auto race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., on Sept. 24.
(Charles Krupa / Associated Press))

President Trump tweeted he was proud of NASCAR because no drivers, crew or other team members protested during the national anthem Sunday prior to a race at New Hampshire Motorspeedway.

“So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won’t put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag - they said it loud and clear!” Trump tweeted Monday.

Several team owners and executives had said Sunday they wouldn’t want anyone in their organizations to protest. Richard Childress, who was Dale Earnhardt’s longtime team owner, said of protesting: “It’ll get you a ride on a Greyhound bus.”

Childress said he told his team that “anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America.”

Read More


Trump continues to tweet about NFL protests on Monday morning

President Trump said Monday his criticism of football players who kneel during the national anthem “has nothing to do with race.”

The president said on Twitter that the issue is “about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!”

The president tweeted that many people “booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total). These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!”

He also pointed with pride to his supporters among NASCAR fans and owners, writing, “They won’t put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag - they said it loud and clear!” Some NASCAR owners said over the weekend they would fire employees who protest the national anthem.

About football 200 players decided to stand, kneel or raise their fists during the national anthem at NFL games on Sunday in response to Trump’s calls for players to be fired.


Tom Brady on Trump’s remarks about NFL protesters: ‘I certainly disagree with what he said’

Tom Brady (12) links arms with teammates Phillip Dorsett (13), Matthew Slater, second from right, and David Harris (45).
(Steven Senne / Associated Press)

During a radio interview Monday morning, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addressed President Trump’s controversial comments about NFL players protesting during the national anthem.

“I certainly disagree with what he said,” Brady said on WEEI in Boston. “I thought it was just divisive.”

During a political rally in Alabama on Friday night, Trump challenged NFL owners to fire players who refuse to stand for the anthem. The number of players who protested in some form multiplied from just a handful in previous weeks to 200-plus this weekend.

Brady stood with one hand over his heart and the other arm linked with teammates in a show of unity while the “Star-Spangled Banner” played before the Patriots’ game against the Houston Texans.

“I just want to support my teammates. I’m never one that says, ‘Oh, that’s wrong or that’s right,’ ” said Brady, a longtime friend of Trump’s. “But I do believe in what I believe in, and I believe in bringing people together and respect and love and trust. Those are the values that my parents instilled in me and that’s how I try to live every day.

“I’ve been blessed to be in a locker room with guys from all over the United States over the course of my career. Some of my great friends are from Florida, Virginia, New York, Montana, Colorado, Texas. I think one thing about football is that it brings so many guys together, guys that you would never have the opportunity to be around, whether it was in college and all the way into the pros. We’re all different. We’re all unique. That’s what makes us all so special.”


Bob Costas on NFL protests: ‘Patriotism comes in many forms’

Veteran sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on CNN Monday morning and tried to offer some perspective on the NFL protests this weekend which followed President Trump’s call for team owners to fire players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.

“Patriotism comes in many forms.” Costas said. “And what has happened is it’s been conflated with kind of a bumper sticker kind of flag waving and with the military only, so that people cannot see that in his own way, Colin Kaepernick, however imperfectly, is doing a patriotic thing. And so, too, are some of these other players.”

Costas also commented on the fact that the number of players protesting jumped dramatically after Trump made his remarks.

“What’s happened here is that what was already an issue raised primarily by Colin Kaepernick, has expanded beyond the specific point that Kaepernick was trying to make, which is a very valid point,” Costas said, “and now it’s become near universal disgust with the president’s insulting remarks.”


Chargers can’t overcome Rivers’ miscues in 24-10 loss to Chiefs

Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt breaks through the line for a 69 yard touchdown run to ice a 24-10 win over the Chargers.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Philip Rivers took the glove off his non-throwing left hand and tossed it into the air. He snapped off his chin guard and took off his helmet, looking into the sky with exasperation on his face.

The glove fell directly onto the grass at StubHub Center Sunday afternoon. Thankfully, no Kansas City Chiefs were around or they would’ve probably intercepted it too.

Rivers threw three interceptions -- with a few more nearly picked -- in the Chargers’ 24-10 defeat, dropping them to 0-3 for the season.

Of the 25,386 fans, an announced sellout, plenty in red had chances to roar at Rivers’ miscues.

Rivers finished 20-of-40 passing for 237 yards. Alex Smith, his counterpart, only had five incomplete passing attempts all game.

The Chargers’ first two drives of the game ended with Rivers’ interceptions, and each time Kansas City answered with four-play touchdown drives.

Speedster Tyreek Hill took advantage of a mismatch on a 30-yard touchdown run, and Albert Wilson scored on a nifty shovel pass from Alex Smith.

Minus the turnover problems -- and that’s not a small deduction -- the Chargers seemingly did enough to win their first game this season.

The Chargers responded with a long, nine-play, 89-yard drive that ended with Melvin Gordon’s 11-yard run to cut the Chiefs lead in half.

From there, the defense took over, holding Kansas City to just three points -- and those came after a special teams penalty wiped out a missed kick, extending a drive and giving Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos a second chance.

The Chargers, though, couldn’t get into the end zone, seeing drives flame out all over the field.

Rivers threw a third interception and nearly had a fourth pass picked off, as officials overturned the original call on the field.

But thanks the defense, and largely Melvin Ingram’s three sacks, the Chargers had their chances to force a tie. Rivers couldn’t author a happy ending, though, taking a brutal sack from Justin Houston that forced the team to punt.

And on the first play of the two-minute warning, rookie Kareem Hunt broke free for a 69-yard touchdown run to put the game out of reach.

Read More


Trump tweets about NFL player protests again, saying league should change its policy

President Trump answers questions from reporters on Sunday at the White House.
(Olivier Douliery / Getty Images)

President Trump waded back into the issue of NFL players protesting during the national anthem Sunday afternoon, after his earlier comments sparked demonstrations at football games from London to Los Angeles.

Some fans tailgating Sunday at StubHub Center, home to the L.A. Chargers, disagreed with Trump’s earlier statements.

“Our president should be spending his time on more important things,” Tobin Ellis, 43, told The Times’ Hailey Branson-Potts. “He’s basically politicized the game. I’m here to watch football, not worry about manufactured rhetoric.”

But Chargers fan Tim O’Boyle, 32, of Irvine took a stance closer to the president’s.

“I’m not a racist. I’m a Trump supporter. I have a lot of friends that are black. ... A lot of people don’t know what older generations have gone through to protect this country. It’s their right to take a knee, but I think it’s disrespectful.”


Tailgating and politics: Debate over Trump’s comments finds its way into Chargers stadium parking lot

Chargers fan and Trump supporter Tim O'Boyle of Irvine.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The debate over President Trump’s criticism of NFL players who don’t stand during the national anthem spilled over Sunday into the parking lot of the StubHub Center in Carson, where Los Angeles Chargers fans were gathered to watch the team battle the Kansas City Chiefs.

Tobin Ellis, 43, was sitting with a group of friends a few hours before the game, tailgating in the parking lot outside the stadium. They were drinking beers and grilling carne asada on a small charcoal grill.

Ellis said he heard Trump’s comments and has been following the response.

“Our president should be spending his time on more important things,” he said, sitting in a lawn chair in front of a black SUV with a giant TV propped in its tailgate tuned to football. “He’s basically politicized the game. I’m here to watch football, not worry about manufactured rhetoric.”

His friend, Greg Gilmer, 43, grinned.

“I second that!” he said.

But their friend Ryan Higgins, 41, disagreed. Higgins said he voted for Trump. He said he finds the president’s willingness to speak his mind refreshing.

Read More


Chargers owner says players ‘have every right to speak their mind’


Chiefs 17, Chargers 10: Koo makes field goal before the half

Younghoe Koo drilled a 29-yard field goal to bring the Chargers within a touchdown on the final play of the first half.

Despite three Philip Rivers interceptions, the Chargers only trail 17-10. Kansas City will begin the second half with the ball.


Chiefs 17, Chargers 7: Kansas City gets a field goal after another Rivers interception

It was rookie Rayshawn Jenkins’ turn to make a major mistake.

After Philip Rivers’ third interception, the Chargers defense got a stop and forced a long field goal try that Kansas City missed.

However, Jenkins dove, trying to block the kick and hit the Chiefs kicker, Cairo Santos, who missed the kick. Jenkins got flagged, the drive got extended and Santos put three on the board with a 34-yard field goal. Kansas City leads 17-7 with 4:30 left in the second quarter.


Chiefs 14, Chargers 7: Melvin Gordon gives L.A. its first points

Melvin Gordon capped a strong response drive from the Chargers with an 11-yard touchdown run to make it 14-7 on the way to the second quarter.

The drive was keyed by a 44-yard connection between Philip Rivers and Travis Benjamin, with the Chiefs also being flagged for roughing the passer.


Chiefs 14, Chargers 0: Rivers’ second interception leads to another touchdown

Another Philip Rivers interception — this time he got picked by Marcus Peters — lead to points for visiting Kansas City.

With a short field after Peters’ return, the Chiefs scored on a shovel pass to Albert Wilson four plays later to go up 14-0 with 5:33 left in the first quarter.


Chiefs 7, Chargers 0: Kansas City strikes first at StubHub

The Chargers’ first drive ended when a poor pass from Philip Rivers was easily intercepted, and Kansas City quickly made them pay.

Alex Smith hit Tyreek Hill for a 30-yard touchdown four plays later, putting Kansas City up 7-0 with 12:03 left in the first quarter.


Some Chargers and Chiefs sit, take knees during national anthem

Chargers players lock arms during the national anthem before a game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

No players on the field for the national anthem at Seattle Seahawks-Tennessee Titans game

As teams and players around the league chose to kneel, lock arms and skip the national anthem, the Seattle Seahawks and Tennesse Titans both opted for the latter before their afternoon matchup.

As the national anthem played, no players stood on the field.

Both teams had released statements announcing their actions beforehand.

“As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country,” the Seahawks said in a statement. “Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work towards equality and justice for all.”

The Titans expressed similar feelings.

“As a team, we wanted to be unified in our actions today. The players jointly decided this was the best course of action,” the Titans said. “Our commitment to the military and our community is resolute and the absence of our team for the national anthem shouldn’t be misconstrued as unpratriotic.”


Trump tweets about ‘solidarity’ during the national anthem at NFL games


Nick Kyrgios took a knee before his match with Roger Federer at the Laver Cup


President Trump boasts Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins will visit White House

Pittsburg Penguins center Sidney Crosby holds the Stanley Cup after his team's victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
(Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)

Though President Trump has rescinded his offer to the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to visit the White House, the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins will make the traditional trip to Washington.

Trump announced the Penguins’ visit on Twitter between tweets about NFL player protests on Sunday afternoon.

The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots made their visit to the White House in April, although star quarterback and Trump supporter Tom Brady wasn’t in attendance.

The World Series champion Chicago Cubs actually pushed up their White House trip to January they could meet with then-President Obama. The Cubs made a second visit to D.C. in June to meet with Trump.

However, the 2017 NCAA champion North Carolina men’s basketball team announced Saturday they will not meet with Trump.

“We are not going to the White House this year, The team was fine with going, but we could not find a date that worked for both the basketball team and the White House,” the team said in a statement.


Have you seen the great Tony Romo predict the future?

Have you seen the amazing Tony Romo?

The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback-turned-broadcaster might be the most interesting NFL commentator out there because of his ability to see into the future.

Romo has called two regular-season games (Raiders-Titans and Patriots-Saints) and is on the call once again Sunday at the Cincinnati Bengals-Green Bay Packers game at 1:25 p.m. PDT

Once tasked with reading a defense and running an offense, Romo — who spent 13 years in the NFL, earning four Pro Bowl nods — has a particular sets of skills that allows him to identify plays and check-downs better — I dare say — than anyone else.

Check out these highlights of Romo doing his thing.

Let me know @mattwilhalme if Romo does it again this week.


Trump voters at Chargers-Chiefs game react to NFL player protests


Oh, no! Bears player celebrates too early and blows a touchdown return in insane end to first half

No. Don’t do that. Stop. Too late.

Ah, the old celebrating-too-early-and-blowing-a-touchdown-return play.

The Chicago Bears nearly stole a touchdown from the Pittsburgh Steelers before halftime on a blocked kick returned for a touchdown.

But stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Bears cornerback Marcus Cooper, who came up with the ball after the block, slowed down and lost the ball before he crossed the plane into the end zone.

The play prompted a lengthy official review before it was ruled an illegally batted ball and play resumed with the Bears on the 1-yard line and no time left on the clock.

The Steelers had already retired to the locker room while officials debated the call on the field, and the players had to jog out to the field for the final two plays.

The first was ruled a false start. On the second play, Connar Barth made a 24-yard field goal to give the Bears a 17-14 lead over the Steelers at halftime.


Texans’ Clowney lives on the edge after Gronk spike on touchdown recovery

Jadeveon Clowney isn’t messing around with the New England Patriots.

The Houston Texans defensive end picked up a Tom Brady fumble during the second quarter of a game in Foxborough, Mass. Sunday afternoon and returned it for a touchdown.

After strolling into the end zone, Clowney performed Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski’s signature celebration, the “Gronk Spike.”

Poking the bear, the Texans haven’t beat the Patriots since 2010.

But Clowney does deserve a bit of forgiveness for his disrespect, after spending most of his career injured, the score was his first NFL touchdown.

The former No. 1 overall pick didn’t record a touchdown in college at South Carolina either.


Wow, the New York Jets take their first lead of the season

It only took 9 1/2f quarters, but the New York Jets have finally done it.

Gang Green posted its first lead of the season today, a 3-0 lead over the Dolphins in the second quarter.

The Jets (0-2) have been outscored by their first two opponents -- the Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders -- 66-32.

The Dolphins (1-0) edged the Chargers 19-17 in their opener after their Week 1 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was postponed until Week 11 because of Hurricane Irma.

The Jets posted a record of 5-11 last season, though they showed a bit more promise in 2015, when they finished 10-6.


As his teammates stayed in locker room, former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva stood outside for anthem

Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger, stands outside the tunnel during the national anthem before a Sept. 24 game against the Bears in Chicago.
(Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)

With most of his players staying in the locker room as part of the protest sweeping the NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin stood alone on the field as the national anthem played before the team’s game Sunday against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

But he wasn’t actually alone, offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan before getting his taste of the NFL, stood outside the tunnel for the anthem.

Villanueva, who played college football at Army, failed to crack the Eagles’ regular-season roster in 2014, but eventually caught on with the Steelers in 2015, making 10 starts at left tackle and appearing in all 16 games.

He started all 16 games for the Steelers last season.

Read Villanueva’s explanation for how he ended up on the field>>


Treasury secretary tells NFL players to do free speech on their own time

(John Locher / Associated Press)

The battle between President Trump and the National Football League is as much a referendum on free speech as it is about how one should honor their country.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin weighed in Sunday with his interpretation of the 1st Amendment and where it applies.

Mnuchin suggested on ABC’s “This Week” that NFL players have “the right to have the 1st Amendment off the field. … They can do free speech on their own time.”

In fact, contract law, in which a participant willingly enters into an agreement, does supersede constitutional law. However, the collective bargaining agreement between the players and the league does not address standing or kneeling during the national anthem.

“The president was trying to unify the country because the national anthem is about unification,” Mnuchin said.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) took issue with Mnuchin’s comments on his personal Twitter account.

“I am beginning to think that in govt, you are stupid as a rock,” Lieu wrote. “US Constitution also applies to NFL players. Get it?”


Watch: NFL releases unity ad amid anthem protests around the league


NFL protests: Images from sidelines during national anthem

There was a mix of locking arms and kneeling during the singing of the national anthem before Sunday’s NFL games, in the wake of recent comments by President Trump that league owners should fire players who Trump feels aren’t showing respect to “our Flag & Country.”

The majority of the players, including stars such as the Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt and the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, locked arms with their teammates. A handful of players around the league also took a knee during the anthem.

The Pittsburgh Steelers decided as a team to not come out of their locker room during the anthem. Coach Mike Tomlin attributed that decision to not wanting to play politics with the anthem.

Left tackle Anthony Villanueva, an Army veteran, did exit the locker room and stood in the tunnel during the national anthem.

In Detroit, the singer of the national anthem, Rico Lavelle, took a knee at the very end of the song.


Miami Dolphins players wear “#IMWITHKAP” T-shirts in warmups

Several Miami Dolphins players wore shirts with “#IMWITHKAP” onto the field before the start of their game against the New York Jets.

The shirts are a reference to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was the first to take a knee during the national anthem last season in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers during the offseason and has not been picked up, despite many pundits’ belief that he is better than some starting quarterbacks and backup quarterbacks around the league.

The Dolphins’ shirts during pregame warmups coincided with seperate national anthem protests around the league in the wake of President Trump’s recent attacks on the league and its players.


Pete Carroll: ‘It’s time to take a stand’


Terry Bradshaw defends NFL players’ right to protest, says president doesn’t understand rights

NFL legend and Fox Sports analyst Terry Bradshaw took some time from discussing Sunday’s games to address President Trump’s comments about the league’s players kneeling in protest during the national anthem.

In a minute-long commentary, Bradshaw said that although he doesn’t agree with the players kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, he does support their right to do it.

He also chided Trump for his understanding of the players’ ability to express their beliefs.

“I’m not sure if our president understands those rights, that every American has the right to speak out and also to protest,” Bradshaw said.

You can watch the full clip below.


Watch the ‘Fox NFL Sunday’ crew react to President Trump’s attacks on the NFL


New Orleans Saints and Pelicans issue joint statement


After third straight win in London, maybe the Jaguars should move there

Jaguars outside linebacker Telvin Smith (50) returns a fumble by Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) during the second half of a game at Wembley Stadium in London on Sept. 24.
(Matt Dunham / Associated Press)

Maybe the Jaguars should relocate to London?

Jacksonville now has a three-game win streak at Wembley Stadium after trouncing the Baltimore Ravens 44-7 on Sunday morning.

To put that into perspective, the Jaguars haven’t won three straight regular-season games since 2013.

Who’s to say they couldn’t replicate that success regularly if they faced travel-worn opponents every week?

Last year, the Jaguars beat the Colts 30-27. In 2015, they beat the Buffalo Bills 34-31.

Their last loss in London came in 2014 to the Dallas Cowboys 31-17.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan already owns a football team in Britain, Fullham. The trouble is that team has been relegated to the Championship division, below the Premier League, since the 2013-14 season.

So, maybe let’s not rush. For now, the Jaguars are signed up for a home game in London through the 2020 season.


Rams owner Stan Kroenke releases statement supporting players on anthem protests

Rams executive Kevin Demoff, left, talks to owner Stan Kroenke before a preseason game at the Coliseum on Aug. 13.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

“The Los Angeles Rams, our fan base and our city are all comprised of people from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs. When we recognize that this diversity is our strength and seek to understand different perspectives, we are more enlightened and empathetic human beings. Our organization is committed to celebrating diversity, inclusion and respect, values that help define Los Angeles. We are proud of the work that our players and all NFL players do to make our communities better places to live. We believe in the tenets of the national anthem, which is a pillar of this country; just as freedom of speech is another pillar and a constitutional right. We will continue to support our players’ freedom to peacefully express themselves and the meaningful efforts they make to bring about positive change in our country.”

-- Rams owner/chairman Stan Kroenke


Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says his team won’t be participating in the national anthem


As President Trump continues his attacks, NFL players protest by kneeling or locking arms

Members of the Jacksonville Jaguars lock arms with owner Shad Khan while some kneel before the start of a Sept. 24 game in London against the Baltimore Ravens.
Members of the Jacksonville Jaguars lock arms with owner Shad Khan while some kneel before the start of a Sept. 24 game in London against the Baltimore Ravens.
(Tim Ireland / Associated Press)

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.

— Jaguars owner Shad Khan

Many players from the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars knelt in protest during the national anthem before kickoff of their game in London on Sunday morning. Those who didn’t linked arms in solidarity.

The protests, which had largely died down in the NFL, came in the wake of President Trump’s comments at a political rally Friday, when he challenged NFL owners to fire any player who didn’t stand for the anthem.

Last week, just six of the approximately 1,600 active players didn’t stand for the anthem as part of the protests, originally intended to call attention to police shootings of unarmed black men and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Among those linking arms was Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who contributed $1 million to Trump’s presidential campaign.

“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,” Shad said in a statement. “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 . …

“It was important for us, and personally for me, to show the world that even if we may differ at times, we can and should be united in the effort to become better as people and a nation.”

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Jaguars and Ravens owners issue statements after players kneel and lock arms during national anthem


Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs: How they match up

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers congratulates tight end Antonio Gates after his 112th career scoring reception.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)


When Chargers have the ball

It’s a little baffling that the Chargers have been unable to get Melvin Gordon and the rushing attack into a rhythm through the first two games, considering coach Anthony Lynn’s pedigree. Against Miami, the Chargers took to the air to get Gordon involved, and maybe that forces Kansas City to thin out up front. When Philip Rivers goes back to pass, he’ll have to keep an eye on Justin Houston, one of the best pass rushers in the league. Houston has three sacks already and should be a big test for the Chargers’ offensive line, which will miss backup tackle Chris Hairston. A consistent rushing attack should keep Kansas City from being able to unleash the defense at Rivers. Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry had nearly 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns combined in the team’s most recent meeting, and Lynn would love to have them play a big role in the game plan. Keenan Allen could be the X-factor, as he’s made it no secret that he enjoys matching up against Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters. Before suffering a knee injury against the Chiefs in the season opener last season, Allen got the better of the Pro Bowl corner.

When Chiefs have the ball

It might not be hyperbole to say that the Kansas City offense is the toughest to defend right now. With the talent they have — elite skill and speed at receiver, tight end and running back — and a quarterback playing with dead-eye accuracy and tremendous confidence, calling them the best in the league doesn’t seem crazy. In wins over Philadelphia and New England, the Chiefs have put everyone on notice. Rookie running back Kareem Hunt has been a touchdown machine through two weeks. Tight end Travis Kelce is one of the best at his position and wide receiver Tyreek Hill is powered by jet fuel. But the big difference with this Kansas City team is Alex Smith. The former No. 1 overall pick is off to a tremendous start in his 12th season, completing nearly 80% of his passes and averaging almost 10 yards per attempt — a career best. The test for Gus Bradley’s defense will be to keep the Chiefs from putting together any huge plays.

When they kick

The Chargers decided to stick with rookie Younghoe Koo after he missed two kicks a week ago, including one that would have won them the game. Though the waters have been choppy early in his career, Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos has been perfect in 2017. Santos has hit both of his field goals and all nine of his extra points. Kansas City is just as stable with the punting game, where Dustin Colquitt has had the job since 2005. A great way to try to equalize matters against a great team such as the Chiefs would be for Travis Benjamin or Austin Ekeler to make a big play on special teams. Special teams plays have cost the Chargers in the first two weeks; they need to flip that script.

Dan Woike’s prediction

Thought the Chargers’ pass rush would be too much for the Denver Broncos, and thought they’d steal a road win. They didn’t. Thought the Chargers’ defense would expose Jay Cutler, riding the emotion of their first game at StubHub Center to a victory. It didn’t happen.

Needing a win, can the Chargers upset the hottest team in the division, the best team in the conference, the top team in the league? Nope.

Kansas City 32, Chargers 23


NFL Week 3: Scores and schedule

Thursday’s result
RAMS 41, at San Francisco 49ers 39

Sunday’s results
at Jacksonville Jaguars 44, Baltimore Ravens 7 (London)

at Buffalo Bills 26, Denver Broncos 16

at Chicago Bears 23, Pittsburgh Steelers 17, OT

Atlanta Falcons 30, at Detroit Lions 26

at Indianapolis Colts 31, Cleveland Browns 28

at Minnesota Vikings 34, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17

at New England Patriots 36, Houston Texans 33

at New York Jets 20, Miami Dolphins 6

at Philadelphia Eagles 27, New York Giants 24

New Orleans Saints 34, at Carolina Panthers 13

at Tennessee Titans 33, Seattle Seahawks 27

at Green Bay Packers 27, Cincinnati Bengals 24, OT

Kansas City Chiefs 24, at CHARGERS 10

at Washington Redskins 27, Oakland Raiders 10

Monday’s result
Dallas Cowboys 24, at Arizona Cardinals 17