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Missouri bar owner: Anti-Kaepernick doormat not a ‘race thing’

A Missouri bar owner is defending his use of two NFL jerseys, including Colin Kaepernick’s, as doormats outside his buidling’s front door.

>> Read more trending news

KOMU-TV reports the display outside the SNAFU Bar in Lake Ozark originally showed Marshawn Lynch’s Oakland Raiders jersey taped to the ground to the left of Kaepernick’s 49ers jersey.

After someone who saw the display complained on the bar’s Facebook page that the arrangement of the names could be construed as a message calling for violence against Kaepernick, the station reports bar owner Jason Burle switched the jerseys’ placement.

Burle tells the station he meant no personal harm by the display. He says the jerseys were put there to protest NFL players kneeling during the national anthem and insists “it’s not a race thing.”

Herschel Walker says ‘everyone needs to stand’ for national anthem

Former NFL star Herschel Walker says that, if he were commissioner, he would tell players to stand during the playing of the national anthem and he would protest beside them off the field.

In a Friday interview with TMZ Sports, Walker said he wasn’t trying to minimize the issues of race or police brutality, but the NFL is a business and needs to be treated as such.

>> Read more trending news

“If you want to protest, protest off the job,” Walker said. “Where was everyone before the season started? I didn’t see anyone protesting in front of the White House, protesting in front of Congress or protesting in front of police officers. Why did we wait until football season started then we start this again? 

“If you got to be behind it, you got to be behind it all the way.”

Such protests during the national anthem began to gain attention when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting, then kneeling, during the anthem at preseason NFL games.

Walker, who has been a Trump supporter, said after examples like Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett being wrongfully profiled and handcuffed by Las Vegas police, the country needs to be responsible.

“Everyone needs to stand. Everyone needs to be respectful,” Walker said. “And then what I’d do is, ‘Guys, during the offseason, if you want to go walk the picket line in front of Congress, I will be right there with you, because black lives do matter.”

The former Heisman Trophy winner said it’s time for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to get involved and make a league-wide rule outlawing protesting on the field and taking a knee during the national anthem. He also said that the blame can not be placed on Trump.

“The way he says things ... sometimes I disagree with him, but he’s still my leader,” he said.

Redskins Keith Marshall, Rob Kelly buy Xbox One for boy wearing Kaepernick jersey

Washington Redskins running backs Keith Marshall and Rob Kelley made one 10-year-old boy very happy during a chance meeting at an Ashburn, Virginia, Gamestop Tuesday.

The Washington Post reported that when Jaden Watts, 10, walked into the store to ask about the price of the Xbox One, Kelley and Marshall complimented him on his Colin Kaepernick 49ers jersey.

>> Read more trending news

According to Kelley, Marshall overheard the boy mention saving up for the gaming console and asked his teammate about pitching in to get it for him then and there.

“I was cool with it,” Kelley told the Post. “I wish someone would’ve done something like that for me when I was growing up. His family is probably able to do whatever they want, but everybody is not able to have the stuff that we have the luxury of having. … To make an impact on somebody, I have no problem with it.”

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Jaden ran to his grandmother, Saundra Watts, for permission. Watts was getting her makeup done nearby.

“He’s jumping up and down, saying, ‘Nana! Nana! Nana! These two guys want to buy me an Xbox. You’ve got to come right now,’” Watts said.

“The first thing I’m thinking is there’s some pedophile trying to buy my grandson an Xbox,” she said. “So I’m like, I’m going to bust up in there and bust his bubble.”

But the two had nothing but good intentions and bought Jaden the console and a copy of “NBA 2K18.”

“The next morning, he woke up and looked at me and said, ‘Nana, I had a dream that I was in a GameStop and two Redskins players bought me an Xbox.’ I said, ‘That wasn’t a dream, you dodo, that really happened,’” Watts told The Post. “It was un-be-lievable. Unbelievable. He’s just such a good kid and it was just such a blessing. It was just so wonderful, the experience of a lifetime.”

In a post on Facebook, Joey Snapp said he was also at the store and saw the players speaking to Jaden.

Snapp’s post was covered by the Redskins Blog and shared on the team’s Twitter page

Read more at The Washington Post.

Alabama football coach Nick Saban: NFL protests not meant to disrespect veterans, military

The question came off as a loaded one.

A fan, who identified himself as a retired veteran, called in to the weekly Nick Saban radio show on Thursday to ask the University of Alabama football coach for his opinion on the NFL protests and whether Saban’s former players who have protested would be welcome back in the locker room or on the sideline.

>> Read more trending news

As Saban did during his Monday news conference, he began his response with the “I’m just a football coach” line.

“I don’t have all the answers to the problems that we have in society,” he said.

>> Related: Donald Trump says NFL anthem protesters should be ‘off the field’ and fired

The topic of football players kneeling in protest during the national anthem has dominated the sports landscape since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first took a knee last year in protest of police brutality against minorities. Scrutiny intensified after President Donald Trump last week called the protests disrespectful and suggested that players who don’t stand during the anthem should be fired.

“The one thing that’s a little disappointing to me is something that has always been real unifying … is no longer that way,” Saban said Thursday. “That is a little bothersome to me. I don’t think that what these people are doing is in any way, shape or form are meant to disrespect a veteran or somebody like yourself, who has worked so hard, fought so hard and sacrificed so much for all of us to have the quality of life that we want to have.

>> Related: Steelers fans burn memorabilia over national anthem stance

“But one of the things that you also fought for and made sacrifice for was that we all could have the freedom to have choice in terms of what we believe, what we did and what we said. This is not something -- look, I respect people’s individual rights. I have my opinion in terms of what I would do and how I would do (it). I would not want to ever disrespect the symbols that represent the values of our country. But, I also respect individual differences that other people have. I think they have the right to express those. Whether it’s our players or somebody else, whether I agree or disagree, I think they have the right to do that.”

>> Related: WWII veteran, 97, kneels in support of NFL's national anthem protests

College football players stay in the locker room during the national anthem.

No. 1 Alabama hosts Ole Miss on Saturday at 9 p.m. EDT.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

NFL national anthem singer quits job due to 'fans who attack players for protesting'

An Army veteran and member of the Maryland Army National Guard who was also the national anthem singer for the Baltimore Ravens announced Tuesday night that he is quitting his job because he feels he “do(es) not belong there,” The Baltimore Sun reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Joey Odoms posted on Instagram that he was resigning “as the Official National Anthem Singer of the Baltimore Ravens” because “the tone/actions of a large number of NFL fans in the midst of our country’s cultural crisis, have convinced me that I do not belong there.”

Odoms said he didn’t feel welcomed because of “fans who attack players for protesting.”

>> Related: ‘Get off your knees’ widow of ‘American sniper’ Chris Kyle tells NFL players

“Fans who attack players for protesting -- a right in which I fought to defend -- but are simply not interested in understanding why, is the reason I am resigning,” he wrote. “Someone once told me to always ‘go where you’re welcomed.’ This is not an emotional reaction to recent events, rather an ethical decision that part of me regrets but my core knows is the right choice.”

According to The Washington Post, Odoms served tours in Afghanistan. The Ravens accepted his resignation, saying, “We greatly appreciate the work Joey did for us, and we thank him.”

Odoms had been singing the national anthem for the Ravens since 2014.

Deshaun Watson gives first NFL paycheck to stadium workers affected by Hurricane Harvey

Houston Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson donated his first NFL game check Wednesday afternoon to three team employees who lost everything during Hurricane Harvey.

>> Watch the video here

The three employees Watson helped work in the team cafeteria at NRG Stadium. With a base salary of $465,000 in 2017, the former Clemson star and 2017 first-round pick is set to earn $29,062.50 per game. Because of Watson’s generosity, each of the women received close to $10,000.

>> How to help Hurricane Maria victims: Where to donate, how to volunteer and more

“For what y’all do for us every day, and never complain. I really appreciate y’all,” Watson told the employees, according to HoustonTexans.com. “I wanted to give my first game check to y’all to help y’all out in some type of way. Hopefully that helps you out and helps you get back on your feet. Anything else y’all need, I’m always here to help.”

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

For those who have followed Watson’s football career, this act of kindness should come as no surprise.

>> Read more trending news

Watson has settled in nicely as Houston’s starting quarterback. He had an impressive performance in his second career NFL start against the New England Patriots in Week 3, and his play will likely be the deciding factor in whether the Texans return to the postseason in 2017.

Steelers’ Maurkice Pouncey: ‘We’ll all be standing for the national anthem’

Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey said the team will stand united during the national anthem Sunday before its game against the Baltimore Ravens.

“I think the bigger message was we were trying to stay out of it. That we should (have) united inside,” Pouncey told reporters after practice Wednesday. “It was all about the flag. It was just a big misunderstanding. Trust me, I’m very sorry to anyone who feels the way they do. I care about the flag dearly. Trust me, this team will be out there standing Sunday.”

>> Read more trending news

The Steelers made national headlines earlier this week when they stayed in the tunnel during the national anthem before their game against the Chicago Bears. 

Offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva was seen standing several feet in front of the rest of the team, which led to speculation about whether the players were divided.

Pouncey addressed that as well.

“That’s something that happened after the whirlwind of the meeting. It was a shock to all of us. We feel just as bad. Trust us. We keep telling you guys ... We gotta make it right, and I honestly think we will go out and make it right.”

Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Heyward addressed the controversy Monday, trying to make it clear that the team supports our country and our troops. Pouncey reiterated that message.

“I promise you one thing this week, we’ll all be standing out there for the national anthem,” Pouncey said. “Trust me. We respect our flag and we respect the military."

Protests during the anthem in the NFL gained attention last year when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting, later kneeling during the anthem. Since then, players in different sports have kneeled during the anthem to draw attention to racial inequality, police brutality and general social injustices in the United States.

Restaurants, bars stop airing NFL games in the midst of protests

A Virginia restaurant and bar is vowing to stop showing NFL games until players stop kneeling for the national anthem.

>> Read more trending news 

“Enough is enough,” Fat Tuesday’s in Fairfax, Virginia, wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post to customers. “As proud parents of an active duty member of the US Army and a veteran of Afghanistan, we stand on the side of our brave men & women in uniform not the men in sports costumes that take a knee and disrespect our country, our National Anthem, our military and our veterans.”

“We place a much higher value on our great country than any sporting event,” the announcement continued. “Therefore, we will not be showing any NFL games at Fat Tuesday’s until there is a stop to this foolishness.”

Owner RL Butler said he and his wife came to the decision after this weekend’s NFL games, which saw whole teams protesting during the national anthem and a number of head coaches and team owners linking arms with them in solidarity. While he doesn’t have an issue with athletes using their platforms to protest and bring awareness to issues, he doesn’t think it should be done during the anthem.

“It’s not about protesting as much as it’s the way they’re doing it,” he told Rare.us. “You can protest all you want any other time and place, but when that song starts playing, you stand.”

So far, they’ve received a mixture of positive and negative feedback from patrons and Facebook users alike. The Butlers don’t plan on reversing the new policy anytime soon.

David McCraw, a former veteran and owner of Palmetto Restaurant and Ale House in Greenville, South Carolina, has also vowed to stop showing broadcasting NFL games until league members stop kneeling.

“NFL will never be played at Palmetto Alehouse until all players pay respect to our flag and our country,” McCraw told WHNS.

McCraw, who called the kneeling players entitled, arrogant and disrespectful, also said “people who’ve attained celebrity status should not be telling people what or what not to do because they don’t share the same struggles as people who live normal lives,” WHNS reported.

“I do not support anyone that thinks that our country or our flag is not worth standing for,” McCraw told WHNS.

He continued: “Our president is our president, but I don’t stand in unity with everything he says. This is a country of one people and we need to stand for our flag. There are issues in this country that need to be addressed, but disrespecting our flag and our country is not the way to do it.”

McCraw said he will show other sports on TVs at his restaurant.

Firefighter relieved of duty after saying NFL anthem protesters should be 'shot in the head'

A former Earle, Arkansas, firefighter was relieved of his duties after commenting on NFL players kneeling for the national anthem.

>> Watch the news report here

In a Facebook post, Jonathan Marotti wrote:

"U want my honest opinion about these worthless piece of c**p professional football basketball and baseball wannabe players i think trump should post snipers at every game and each player that takes a knee or sits in the lockeroom should b shot in the head i have no sympathy for them and no respect and as for the rest of u obama lovin snowflakes out here protesting and makin idiots out of urselves u should b shot on sight to if u disagree with me then dont let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya."

>> Pennsylvania fire chief out of a job after racial slur directed at Steelers' Tomlin

The post has since been removed or made private.

The Earle Fire Department relieved Marotti of his duties indefinitely for the inappropriate comments.

Mayor Sherman Smith said the post is not representative of the city of Earle.

>> Live updates: Trump slams NFL players for national anthem protests, athletes react

“I hope the people don't connect that with the attitude or tone of the city of Earle because it certainly does not display it in any way,” Smith said.

When asked whether the city has a current social media policy, he said, "No," adding he will now look to initiate one.

>> PHOTOS: NFL takes a stand on football Sunday

“Especially with it being the thing of the day and people really relying on that to a large degree, I think it would be a good move to go ahead and adopt one,” Smith said.

While Marotti apologizes to those who he offended, those who live in Earle agree with the right to free speech but in this case disagree with how it was carried out.

>> Read more trending news

“There's enough stuff going on out here already,” said resident William Davis. 

Marotti issued the following public apology Tuesday: 

"This is jonathan marotti id like to take this time to apologize to everyone i offended with my facebook post it was wrong and childish and i made a mistake that i cant erase id like to apologize to my family and my friends and most of all to the earle fd and the city of earle and to fire fighters all over this great land im truely embarrassed about this and i hope u all can forgive me."

Pennsylvania fire chief out of a job after racial slur directed at Steelers' Tomlin

The Cecil Township Board of Supervisors in Pennsylvania has removed Paul Smith as fire chief of the Muse Volunteer Fire Company.

>> Watch the news report here

In a statement, the board said, "Effective immediately, Paul Smith is no longer the volunteer fire chief in Muse."

>> Live updates: Trump slams NFL players for national anthem protests, athletes react

Firefighters who want to remain anonymous told WPXI that it's not been an easy day for them; they have been receiving threats at the other two fire stations in town, as well.

>> Photos: NFL takes a stand on football Sunday

Several Washington County firefighters contacted WPXI, saying they weren't comfortable with a comment made by the Cecil fire chief on Facebook during Sunday’s Steelers game.

>> Villanueva regrets being the lone Steelers player to stand for the national anthem

On Monday, WPXI reached out to Cecil Township's board of supervisors, who said they are deeply disturbed by the comment.

>> WWII veteran, 97, kneels in support of NFL's national anthem protests

"The Cecil Township Board of Supervisors is deeply disturbed by the comments made by volunteer Chief Smith, and in no way, shape or form condone his comments,” said the township manager.

>> On WPXI.com: Pittsburgh Steelers lineman, veteran Alejandro Villanueva's jersey listed as top seller

Smith was commenting on a post about the Steelers’ decision not to participate in the national anthem on the field and wrote, "Tomlin just added himself to the list of no good [N-words]. Yes I said it.”

>> Tom Brady calls Trump's comments on national anthem protests 'divisive'

Smith was captain of Cecil Township Volunteer Fire Department No. 2 in Muse. He is currently out of the country on vacation, but said he regrets the statement.

>> LeBron James again calls Trump a 'bum,' salutes NFL national anthem protests

"I am embarrassed at this," he told WPXI. "I want to apologize. I was frustrated and angry at the Steelers not standing for the anthem. ... This had nothing to do with my fire department. I regret what I said."

>> Cowboys, coach Jason Garrett, owner Jerry Jones take a knee before national anthem in Phoenix

Dylan Parseo, who is the son of the former police chief of Muse Fire Company No. 2, believes Smith crossed the line.

>> Read more trending news

"I'm completely upset. Especially for a town like this, coming from the fire chief. That's disrespectful in my eyes," Parseo said. 

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