In a statement released on October 15, Colin Kaepernick’s lawyers wrote: “We can confirm that this morning we filed a grievance under the CBA on behalf of Colin Kaepernick.
“This was done 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 theatre imitating weeks ago – should not be punished and athletes should not be denied employment.
“Such a precedent threatens all patriotic Americans and harkens back to our darkest days as a nation. Protecting all athletes from such collusive conduct is what compelled Mr. Kaepernick to file his grievance.
“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.”
Some players from the 49ers again knelt during the anthem before their match on October 15.
They were playing for the first time since VP Mike Pence walked out of their game in Indianapolis, after several members of the team did not stand.
Several NFL players have joined Colin Kaepernick in protesting about racial inequality on the NFL’s opening weekend, which also marked the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem at the start of each game in pre-season has divided opinion.
While many have backed Colin Kaepernick, others say he is disrespecting the American flag.
However, several players raised fists or knelt to support Colin Kaepernick’s aim to highlight oppression of black people.
Four Miami Dolphins players – Arian Foster, Jelani Jenkins, Michael Thomas, and Kenny Stills – knelt as the Star Spangled Banner played. Their opponents, the Seattle Seahawks, locked arms as they stood.
Kansas City Chiefs players also locked arms to show unity while the player at the end of their line, Marcus Peters, raised a black-gloved fist – a gesture reminiscent of US sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos as they stood on the podium following their 200m final at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.
“It was our goal to be unified as a team and to be respectful of everyone’s opinions, and the remembrance of 9/11.
“It’s our job as professional athletes to make a positive impact on our communities and to be proactive when change is needed,” a statement from the Chiefs players after the game said.
Miami Dolphins player Jelani Jenkins said: “I chose to get involved to see if I could create change, raise awareness.
“I want to make it clear that there is no disrespect to the military or to police officers – I’m not about that.
“I would like to keep moving forward in the right direction with everybody: equal rights, equal opportunity. From my position, it doesn’t seem that it’s happening. That’s why I took a stand.”
Seattle Seahawks players and staff had been in talks before their game to discuss how best to show support, and wide receiver Doug Baldwin said they wanted to meet with the mayor of Seattle and local law enforcement.
“We know that there has to be change and progress, but you got to apply direction to change,” he said.
In the late game, New England Patriots’ Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty both held up their right arms, while team-mate Danny Amendola was seen to grab the unfurled American flag on the field during the anthem.
In September 8 season-opener between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, Denver linebacker Brandon Marshall knelt during the national anthem.
Colin Kaepernick’s team plays the Los Angeles Rams on September 12.
President Barack Obama has defended San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the national anthem.
He said Colin Kaepernick was exercising his constitutional right to make a point.
Speaking in China at the G20 meeting, Barack Obama said the NFL player had raised legitimate issues.
Colin Kaepernick stirred controversy when he sat during the national anthem to protest against racial injustice.
Some players have followed his example and sat or kneeled through the anthem.
Asked about the issue during a news conference at the G20 in Hangzhou, Barack Obama said it was tough for those in the military to understand why Colin Kaepernick might snub the national anthem.
However, President Obama said he did not doubt his sincerity to raise issues: “If nothing else, what he’s done is he’s generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about.”
The president added he would rather have young people engaged in the argument in a democratic process than “people who are just sitting on the sidelines and not paying attention at all”.
A week after staying seated during The Star-Spangled Banner, Colin Kaepernick quarterback kneeled during the anthem before a match on September 1.
Team-mate Eric Reid also kneeled, but they were booed by some in the crowd.
On September 4, US women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe knelt during the national anthem before the Seattle Reign’s game against the Chicago Red Stars in what she said was “a little nod”‘ to Colin Kaepernick.
Colin Kaepernick has said he will continue to sit out the national anthem until he sees improvements in US race relations.
Tom Brady breaks his silence on the Deflategate scandal by posting a statement on his Facebook page on September 4.
His statement comes a day after District Judge Richard M. Berman vacated the New England quarterback’s four-game suspension in the scandal.
Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots will open the season at home Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Photo Getty Images
“The regular season starts tomorrow morning and I can’t wait to fully commit my energy and emotion to focus on the challenges of the 2015 NFL season,” he said in the statement.
“I want to thank my family, my friends, all of the fans, past and current players and my teammates for the support they have given me throughout this challenging experience. I also want to thank Judge Berman and his staff for their efforts to resolve this matter over the past five weeks. I am very grateful. My thanks also to the union’s legal team who has fought so hard right along with me.
“While I am pleased to be eligible to play, I am sorry our league had to endure this. I don’t think it has been good for our sport — to a large degree, we have all lost. I am also sorry to anyone whose feelings I may have hurt as I have tried to work to resolve this situation. I love the NFL. It is a privilege to be a member of the NFL community and I will always try to do my best in representing my team and the league in a way that would make all members of this community proud.
“I look forward to the competition on the playing field and I hope the attention of NFL fans can return to where it belongs — on the many great players and coaches who work so hard every week, and sacrifice so much, to make this game great. Most importantly, I look forward to representing the New England Patriots on Thursday night in our season opener. I hope to make all of our fans proud this year … and beyond!”
NFL legend and broadcaster Frank Gifford has died aged 84.
Frank Gifford died at his home in Connecticut of natural causes, his family said.
He won the 1956 NFL title with the New York Giants and was inducted into the American Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
After his playing career Frank Gifford moved into TV commentary, working for ABC’s Monday Night Football from 1971 to 1997.
Giants President John Mara said: “Frank Gifford was the ultimate Giant. He was the face of our franchise for so many years.”
Photo Getty Images
Bob Iger, chairman of ABC’s owner, the Walt Disney Company, described Frank Gifford as “an exceptional man who will be missed by everyone who had the joy of seeing his talent on the field, the pleasure of watching his broadcasts, or the honor of knowing him”.
Frank Gifford made 367 catches for 5,434 yards with 43 touchdowns, whilst also running for 3,609 yards and 34 touchdowns.
He was the MVP in 1956 and was an eight-time selection to the Pro Bowl.
In a statement released to NBC News, the Gifford family said: “We ask that our privacy be respected at this difficult time and we thank you for your prayers.”
Frank Gifford married Kathie Lee Gifford, a host on NBC’s Today show, in 1986.
In a Twitter post, Kathie Lee Gifford said: “Deeply grateful to all 4 ur outpouring of grace. We r steadfast in our faith and finding comfort in knowing where Frank is.”
Ex-NFL lineman Damion Cook has died on June 26 at the age of 36 after suffering an apparent heart attack.
He was an undrafted offensive lineman who went on to play in parts of seven NFL seasons.
Damion Cook, a Nashville native, appeared in 26 NFL games at guard and made 10 starts from 2001-09 after a college career at Bethune-Cookman, which confirmed his death Friday, June 26, via Twitter.
He signed with the Ravens out of college and spent the 2001 season with the Bears. After joining the Dolphins during the 2002 offseason, he returned to Baltimore. In 2004, he joined the Browns and started four games.
After another stint with the Dolphins, Damion Cook joined the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the CFL and the Tampa Bay Storm in the Arena League before capping his career with the NFL’s Lions in 2008-09.
NFL fans may remember Damion Cook for the impression of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis captured by HBO’s Hard Knocks during training camp.
Former Chicago Bears defensive end Ray McDonald has been arrested for the second time this week.
He was arrested on May 27 for violating a restraining order by being at a residence in Santa Clara, the Santa Clara Police Department said.
The restraining order was issued after a domestic violence incident on May 25 in Santa Clara in which Ray McDonald allegedly broke down a bedroom door to get to his former fiancée and their infant.
Ray McDonald, 30, was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and child endangerment, but was free on bail. The Chicago Bears released the lineman hours after that arrest.
On May 27, Santa Clara detectives found Ray McDonald at a Togo’s Sandwiches in Santa Clara, where they arrested him without incident. He was booked into Santa Clara County Jail on $5,000 bail.
Ray McDonald’s attorney, Steve DeFilippis, told the San Jose Mercury News that neither he nor his client had been notified about the restraining order.
Steve DeFilippis told the newspaper McDonald had gone to the residence on May 27 to meet with a defense investigator, who had spoken to the woman who lived there. She told him she would not be home.
The 49ers released Ray McDonald in December citing a “pattern of poor decision-making”.
That move came just a month after Santa Clara County prosecutors declined to file charges against Ray McDonald in a separate domestic violence investigation stemming from an arrest on August 31, 2014, while celebrating his 30th birthday at his home. Prosecutors cited conflicting versions of what happened, a lack of verifiable eyewitnesses and a lack of cooperation by the alleged victim, Ray McDonald’s fiancée, in explaining their decision.
NFL boss Roger Goodell has said he “got it wrong” in dealing with the violence scandals that have plagued the American football league.
In his first public statement in a week, Roger Goodell apologized for his mistakes and pledged to implement new personal conduct policies.
“We strongly condemn and will punish behavior that is totally unacceptable,” he said.
He has faced calls to resign after a series of assaults involving players.
The commissioner said on Friday he had not considered stepping down and that he had the support of the team owners.
“We will get our house in order,” Roger Goodell said at a press conference in New York.
Roger Goodell announced the NFL plans to set up a new personal conduct committee and draft new rules for the league’s players and staff, which he hoped would be in place for the Super Bowl in early 2015.
The NFL, and Roger Goodell in particular, have been criticized over their handling of an abuse case involving running back Ray Rice from the Baltimore Ravens.
Roger Goodell has said he got it wrong in dealing with the violence scandals that have plagued the NFL
Roger Goodell initially banned Ray Rice for two games after video emerged of him punching his then-fiancée in the face and knocking her out in a lift in Atlantic City in February.
It was only after the video was posted online in August that Ray Rice was cut by the Ravens and banned from the league indefinitely by Roger Goodell.
“I got it wrong in the handling of the Ray Rice matter,” he said on September 19.
“But now I will get it right and do whatever is necessary to accomplish that.”
The NFL has also come under fire for its handling of other abuse cases, including Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who has been charged with child abuse in Texas after allegedly whipping his four-year-old son.
In recent days, some NFL sponsors have made public statements urging it to do more to address the issue.
On September 19, Procter & Gamble announced it was dropping an on-field breast cancer awareness promotion it had been planning with the NFL.
“Domestic violence is completely unacceptable and we have strongly urged the NFL to take swift and decisive action to address this issue,” said a spokesman.
“Our decision to cancel this on field activity was related to this ongoing issue.”
Other sponsors like PepsiCo and Anheuser-Busch have expressed concern. Women make up about 35% of the average television audience of games.
Roger Goodell said NFL staff would be required to undergo training on the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault starting within 30 days.
Roger Goodell said the league will partner with the National Domestic Violence Hotline and National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
Arizona Cardinals’ running back Jonathan Dwyer has been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, police have said.
Jonathan Dwyer, 25, facing charges of aggravated assault and preventing someone from calling 911, has been suspended from the team.
The charges are from two altercations at his home in July involving a woman and an 18-month-old child.
Jonathan Dwyer’s arrest comes after a recent spate of high profile assault incidents involving American football players.
Earlier this month Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely after a video emerged of him knocking out his then-fiancée.
After Ray Rice was suspended, Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson was indicted on child-abuse charges.
Critics have been calling on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to step down after Ray Rice initially received just a two-game ban for his assault.
Earlier this week the league announced it is hiring four women as advisers on domestic violence.
Arizona Cardinals’ running back Jonathan Dwyer has been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence (photo USA Today)
Across the country, outrage has been palpable.
Many fans have announced they are turning their backs on the NFL.
Fantasy leagues have been disbanded.
Even the league’s own television outlets, such as Fox, CBS and ESPN, have been sharply critical.
One of the counts against Jonathan Dwyer was “aggravated assault causing a fracture” against the 27-year-old woman.
Another count was for aggravated assault against a minor, said Phoenix Police Sergeant Trent Crump.
Sergeant Trent Crump said police were called to Dwyer’s home on July 21 after neighbors reported a row.
They discussed the incident with the woman, but did not talk to Jonathan Dwyer, who was hiding in the home, said Sergeant Trent Crump.
The second physical altercation happened at Jonathan Dwyer’s home the following day.
After the woman was assaulted, Jonathan Dwyer took a shoe and threw it at the couple’s 18-month-old child, said the police officer.
The victim and the child have subsequent “fled the state” because of safety concerns, he added.
The Cardinals reacted to the arrest by announcing that Jonathan Dwyer has been suspended for this week’s games against the 49ers.
“We became aware of these allegations this afternoon when notified by Phoenix police and are cooperating fully,” the team said in a statement.
“Given the serious nature of the allegations we have taken the immediate step to deactivate Jonathan from all team activities. We will continue to closely monitor this as it develops and evaluate additional information as it becomes available.”
Radisson is suspending its sponsorship of Minnesota Vikings after Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse in Texas.
Adrian Peterson hit his 4-year-old son last May with part of a branch.
The Vikings have reinstated the player after dropping him.
“Radisson is suspending its limited sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings while we evaluate the facts and circumstances,” the company said.
It added it “takes this matter very seriously, particularly in light of our long-standing commitment to the protection of children”.
Radisson’s sponsorship includes a banner visible to viewers watching Vikings’ news conferences.
The Minnesota Vikings said it had “respectfully honored Radisson’s request”, a team spokesman said.
Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse after hitting his 4-year-old son with part of a branch
Adrian Peterson stands accused of using part of a tree branch to spank his four-year-old son. The player says he was using a form of discipline his father used on him as a boy.
“I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser,” Adrian Peterson said in a statement.
“I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury.”
The Vikings dropped Adrian Peterson for Sunday’s game but then reinstated him on Monday.
The team’s general manager, Rick Spielman, said: “I understand that this is a very difficult thing to handle. But we also feel strongly as an organization that this is disciplining a child.
“Whether it’s an abusive situation or not, or whether he went too far disciplining, we feel very strongly that that is the court’s decision to make, but we also understand the seriousness of abusing children as well.”
The charges against Adrian Peterson come just days after another NFL star, Ray Rice, had his contract terminated after a video emerged in which he appeared to punch his wife.
Ray Rice’s wife, Janay Palmer Rice, says she is “hurt beyond words” over how her husband has been treated after the NFL star was sacked for punching her.
Ray Rice has been released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL after a video emerged of him hitting his then-fiancée.
The CCTV footage shows them in a lift at the Revel casino in Atlantic City.
They hit each other before Ray Rice knocks her “unconscious” with a punch.
The video, released by the Associated Press, was shown to them on Monday night by a law enforcement official. The pair can be heard swearing and shouting at each other and it looks like Janay Palmer spits at Ray Rice just before he hits her.
Janay Palmer falls to the floor, and he then drags her from the lift, where he is met by hotel staff.
One of them can be heard saying: “She’s drunk, right?”
And then: “No cops.”
Ray Rice does not seem to respond.
A video of Ray Rice pulling Janay Palmer from the lift first emerged months ago on TMZ. It didn’t show the full attack.
Janay Palmer and Ray Rice have since married.
In a post on Instagram, Janay Rice says it feels like a “horrible nightmare” and seemingly defends her husband.
She blames the media and public outcry for taking “something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all his life”.
After suggesting the pair regret the incident she said it has left them feeling hurt, embarrassed, alone and without happiness.
“THIS IS OUR LIFE… Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is!”
Ray Rice has been released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL after a video emerged of him hitting his then-fiancée Janay Palmer (photo AP)
Things are continuing to get worse for Ray Rice – Nike have confirmed they have dropped him as one of their sponsored athletes and EA Sports are removing him from their 2015 version of the NFL game Madden.
Meanwhile, local businesses in Baltimore have begun offering discounted goods in return for Ray Rice jerseys.
Hersh’s pizzeria posted their offer on Facebook: “Come trade your Ray Rice Ravens Jersey in for a free pizza at Hersh’s. These jerseys will save us money on toilet paper this week.”
Their neighbors, the No Idea Tavern responded on Twitter with their own offer – a ten dollar bar tab for every jersey handed to them.
The latest from the Baltimore Ravens came in a one-sentence press release on September 8.
“The Baltimore Ravens terminated the contract of RB Ray Rice this afternoon,” it said.
Earlier in the day the team had claimed to have never seen the video.
“It’s something we saw for the first time today, all of us,” said Coach John Harbaugh.
“It changed things, of course. It made things a little bit different.”
He said he had spoken with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, team president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome after they saw the video and they then decided to fire Ray Rice.
Back in July, after the shorter video emerged, Ray Rice was suspended for two games for domestic violence. He said his actions were “inexcusable”.
At the time Ozzie Newsome said: “We respect the efforts Ray has made to become the best partner and father he can be.
“That night was not typical of the Ray Rice we know and respect.
“We believe that he will not let that one night define who he is, and he is determined to make sure something like this never happens again.”
Ray Rice was also arrested over the incident and an Atlantic City police summons stated that he caused “bodily injury to Janay Palmer, specifically by striking her with his hand, rendering her unconscious”.
He was charged with felony aggravated assault, but in May he was accepted into a pretrial intervention program that allowed him to avoid jail.
Coach John Harbaugh said at the time: “The thing I appreciate about it is how Ray has handled it afterward by acknowledging it was wrong and he’ll do everything he can do to make it right.
“That’s what you ask for when someone does a wrong thing. So, I’m proud of him for that.”
The NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced that, based on the new video evidence, Ray Rice has been suspended indefinitely.
“We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said on Monday morning.
“That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.”
This echoes what Roger Goodell said on August 1 during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend, when he claimed they were still “evaluating” the situation.
“I’m not going to go into what he told us or anything or if it matches or if it doesn’t,” Ravens receiver Torrey Smith said.
“That doesn’t matter. What matters is what you see. It wasn’t a pleasant site at all.”
The White House has also released a statement saying: “The President is the father of two daughters.
“And like any American, he believes that domestic violence is contemptible and unacceptable in a civilized society.
“Hitting a woman is not something a real man does, and that’s true whether or not an act of violence happens in the public eye, or, far too often, behind closed doors.”
So far Ray Rice’s lawyer, Michael Diamondstein, has declined to comment
Ray Rice hasn’t spoken often to the media, but on July 31 he said it was “something I have to live with the rest of my life”.
Former running back Rodney Thomas has died at the age of 41 after a 7-year NFL career.
Rodney Thomas played for Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons.
Rodney Thomas played for Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons (photo AP)
He died Saturday at the home in Groveton, a small East Texas town where he grew up, that he bought for his mother after signing his first professional contract, Groveton Funeral Home owner Terry Cartwright said Sunday.
The cause of death wasn’t known and an autopsy was underway, Terry Cartwright said.
Rodney Thomas had been living in Spring, near Houston, with his wife and 4-year-old child, and that he often visited Groveton on business and to see his mother and other relatives who live in town.
Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez has been charged with a 2012 double murder, while still facing a previous murder charge.
Prosecutors say Aaron Hernandez drove up alongside the vehicle of two men with whom he had a “chance encounter” at a club earlier and shot and killed them.
Aaron Hernandez was arrested last June for allegedly killing Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro player found near his home.
Aaron Hernandez has been charged with a 2012 double murder, while still facing a previous murder charge
His lawyers did not have any immediate comment on the new charges.
But last August, lawyer Michael Fee, speaking about the Odin Lloyd murder charges, had said there had been “an incredible rush to judgment in this case”.
On Thursday, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, the victims in the 2012 shootings, were “ambushed and executed” as they were driving in Boston, Massachusetts on July 16, 2012.
Daniel Conley says they and Aaron Hernandez had had an “encounter” at a nightclub earlier in the evening and the former NFL player was the gunman.
Those details mirror the alleged motive in Odin Lloyd’s death. According to authorities, Aaron Hernandez and two friends picked up Lloyd at home in the early hours of June 17, 2013.
Aaron Hernandez allegedly told Odin Lloyd he was upset about an incident at a nightclub days before.
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said that Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, both Cape Verdean nationals, were “two young, innocent victims”, according to the Boston Globe.
A former tight end for the Boston-based New England Patriots, Aaron Hernandez was dropped from the Patriots – and his $40 million contract – shortly after his arrest in June.
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu has been fined by NFL with $10,000 for using the cell phone from the sidelines after brutal hit during the game.
Troy Polamalu was forced to leave Sunday’s game against the Jaguars after stopping Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew to help preserve a 17-13 Pittsburgh win.
Fearing his wife Theodora probably saw the hit on TV, Troy Polamalu was handed a cell phone by the team doctor to call and say he was all right.
Troy Polamalu has been fined by NFL with $10,000 for using the cell phone from the sidelines to call his wife Theodora after brutal hit during the game
Troy Polamalu, who was the defensive player of the year in 21010, has a history of concussions in his nine-year NFL career, and wanted to ease his wife worries.
But the NFL did not appreciate Troy Polamalu’s gesture, slapping him with a $10,000 fine.
According to NFL rules, phones are prohibited in the bench area before and during games.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision to fine Troy Polamalu came as a surprise, at least to his coach.
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin quickly came to his player’s defense, saying: “He wasn’t checking on his bank account.”
Commissioner Roger Goodell’s history with Pittsburgh Steelers is a long story.
Roger Goodell issued a four-game suspension to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and $100,000 in fines for hits by James Harrison in 2010.
However, Troy Polamalu did not appear to be affected by the $10,000 fine.
Besides his NFL salary, Troy Polamalu earns a plenty of money from his shampoo commercials.
But Troy Polamalu’s case is not a singular one, also Joe Horn pulled out a phone after scoring a touchdown for the New Orleans Saints in 2003 and calling from the end zone to tell his wife and kids about it.
That gesture – part of a string of over-the-top touchdown celebrations that the NFL promptly cracked down on – cost Joe Horn $30,000 and may have been the most expensive phone call ever.
Troy Polamalu will play today against Arizona after passing a series of concussion tests.