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Nolan Arenado leaves Rockies game at San Diego with an apparent hand injury

September 24, 2017 - 3:55pm

SAN DIEGO — Nolan Arenado, the Rockies’ all-star third baseman, took a “funky swing” at a foul ball Sunday against the Padres and was removed from the sixth inning with a bruise on the palm of his right hand.

“I took a funky swing, I don’t know if I sprained my hand, but it got real swollen,” Arenado said. “It didn’t feel bad, but it didn’t feel great. They decided to take me out. I tried to stay in.”

Arenado was replaced by rookie Pat Valaika to start the seventh inning after walking to the clubhouse with head athletic trainer Keith Dugger. Valaika, pinch-hitting for pitcher German Marquez in the sixth, hit a bloop double to center field and a solo home run in the ninth in the Rockies’ 8-4 victory.

Arenado, who singled in the first inning, lined into an out off Padres starter Luis Perdomo after the injurious foul ball. But he fielded a soft line drive in the third off Yangervis Solarte, and threw out Christian Villanueva in the fourth on a ground ball.

He said throwing was not a problem. But his at-bat in the fifth, a groundout to third base, caused some pain. The Rockies consider him day-to-day.

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Arenado said he expects to play Monday to start a three-game series against the Marlins at Coors Field.

His 35 home runs this season were tied for the club high with Charlie Blackmon after Arenado pushed a solo shot to right field in a victory Friday at Petco Park. Blackmon hit his 36th homer in the ninth inning Sunday.

Arenado’s availability over the final week, with the Rockies in a tight chase for the National League wild card, will be crucial.

“I embrace it,” he said Friday. “We’re embracing the situation we’re in. We have a chance to do something, let’s do it. Let’s enjoy it.”

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Kiszla: 32 Broncos refuse to stick to sports and defy Trump during national anthem protest

September 24, 2017 - 3:33pm

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Let’s get this straight from the jump: The Broncos won’t fire nearly three dozen players who took a knee in protest during the national anthem, no matter how much President Donald Trump stomps his feet and whines like a petulant child.

Stick to sports? It was impossible Sunday, when a bigger story than Denver’s 26-16 loss to Buffalo was how 32 Broncos — including Von Miller, Demaryius Thomas and Brandon Marshall — defied the president with a powerful display of unity during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“What did you expect?” Broncos president Joe Ellis said. “A lot of people go to NFL games to get away from politics and the discourse, but when it gets inflamed the way it did (by the president), I understand why it happened.”

Trump picked a fight with NFL players, and it only steeled the Broncos’ resolve to protest.

“Times 32,” Ellis said.

In the minutes immediately after a disheartening loss that knocked Denver from the ranks of the undefeated, Ellis stood outside the visitors’ locker room, his back forced against a wall as an ambulance dismissed from emergency duty rolled slowly up the tunnel. Ellis had a flight to catch. But he stopped to talk with me about how the U.S. president had offended the Broncos with a profane tirade.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say: ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,’ ” Trump declared Friday night, during a speech in Huntsville, Ala.

I don’t know about you. But I find opening a conversation by calling somebody a SOB generally fails to establish common ground for problem solving.

“It was disappointing. … It was divisive,” said Ellis, who issued a formal statement of support for the Broncos on Saturday.  “I felt like we had to stick up for our players. I’m really proud of our players and everything they do. They’re a great bunch of guys. They’re not dividers, they’re uniters.”

Had Ellis chosen to side with Trump and fired players on the spot, the Broncos would not have been able to field a competitive team in Buffalo and probably would have been forced to forfeit the game. This is the NFL, Mr. President, not some half-baked reality television show.

Trump exhorted fans to walk out of NFL stadiums in response to anthem protests. As Broncos and Bills alike knelt, if any spectators headed for the exits of New Era Field, I didn’t see them. But Barbara Marshall, the mother of Denver’s inside linebacker, posted two photos on social media of her son and teammates protesting and saluted their courage.

She is a proud mother who raised her son to follow his heart and act. That’s America. Barbara Marshall’s son conducts himself with dignity and treats dissenting views with respect. Doesn’t everybody who loves the United States wish we could say the same about Mr. Trump?

“Wow. He would say somebody should be fired for exercising their First Amendment rights that’s part of the Constitution. Why should somebody be fired or taken off the field because of it? It’s utterly ridiculous,” Marshall said.

In a team meeting on game’s eve, the Broncos were deeply disturbed Trump described disobedient NFL players in harsher terms than neo-Nazis who recently instigated a tragic riot in Virginia.

“I felt like we all took it personally,” Marshall said. “Even the guys that haven’t kneeled before, and didn’t even really think about kneeling before, took it personal. And they wanted to demonstrate as well.”

What qualifies as acting presidential in 2017? Ellis should know. He’s proudly related to two former U.S. presidents, as a nephew of George H.W. Bush and a cousin of George W. Bush.

“I think there’s a certain dignity and integrity that people should have in that office,” Ellis said. “And I’ll leave it at that.”

Broncos defensive lineman Derek Wolfe stood proudly at attention for the anthem. And I respect him for the strength to show his love of country when the majority of teammates took a knee. I understand the social issues that caused Marshall to be among the first NFL players to protest a year ago. I also totally get how many military veterans and upstanding citizens take great offense at what’s perceived as disrespect for the flag. But isn’t a democracy based on civil debate?

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On an afternoon when Miller was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct at a critical juncture of the fourth quarter for extending a hand to fallen Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor only to pull it away, the one person the Broncos seriously clowned was the president of the United States.

Trump tried to bully NFL players into standing.

It backfired. If America watches football to escape politics, then why did Trump find it necessary to turn sports into another way to splinter an already angry, divided country?

When the president sticks his nose into sports, it guarantees athletes won’t stick to sports.

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Cubs close in on NL Central title, Jose Quintana tops Brewers

September 24, 2017 - 3:11pm

By Andrew Gruman, The Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — Jose Quintana pitched a three-hitter for his second big league shutout, and the Chicago Cubs beat Milwaukee 5-0 Sunday to close in on a second straight NL Central title and damage the Brewers’ playoff hopes.

Coming off its first World Series title since 1908, Chicago (87-68) won three of four in the weekend series and opened a 5½-game lead over the second-place Brewers (82-73) with seven games remaining. Milwaukee began the day one game behind Colorado for the NL’s second wild card.

Quintana (7-3 with Cubs, 11-11 overall) struck out 10 and walked one in his second complete game in 182 starts. He threw 116 pitches, his most since Sept. 7 last year.

He allowed singles to Ryan Braun in the first, Hernan Perez in the third and Keon Broxton in the fifth, and retired his final 11 batters after Domingo Santana walked in the sixth. Broxton was the only Milwaukee runner to advance past first, stealing second base in the fifth before pitcher Chase Anderson struck out.

Quintana’s other shutout was a seven-hitter for the Chicago White Sox against Cleveland on July 24, 2015.

Anderson (11-4) gave up three runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. He had been 4-0 in five starts since losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 25.

Jon Jay singled lead off the fourth and scored on Kris Bryant’s double. Wilson Contreras reached on an infield single starting the seventh, a call that stood after a video review, and Ben Zobrist hit a two-run homer. Anthony Rizzo added a two-run double in the eighth against Carlos Torres.


Cubs: 2B Javier Baez was rested from the starting lineup after starting 16 of Chicago’s previous 17 games, then entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning.

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Brewers: C Manny Pina was out of the lineup for the third straight game after injuring his left thumb during a play at the plate Thursday. Manager Craig Counsell said Pina will be evaluated Tuesday to determine whether he will be able to catch again this season.


Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (11-8, 4.56 ERA) will start the opener of a four-game series in St. Louis on Monday. He has an 8.22 ERA over his last five starts, allowing seven earned runs in two of those outings.

Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (17-9, 3.84 ERA) starts a three-game series Tuesday at home against Cincinnati. Davies is 1-1 with a 2.30 ERA in three starts against the Reds this season.

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Pac-12 rewind: Beleaguered Colorado Buffaloes have bright spots, conference hierarchy taking shape

September 24, 2017 - 3:05pm

The University of Colorado fell 37-10 against No. 7 Washington on Saturday night at Folsom Field. Before the Buffaloes (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) travel West to face UCLA (2-2, 0-1), The Denver Post’s Kyle Fredrickson takes one last look back at Week 4 in college football, and what it means for CU moving forward.

The essentials

Game story: Colorado Buffaloes still searching for an identity

Featured: Growing pains hit Steven Montez hard

Box score

You might have missed that…

1. Phillip Lindsay is rewriting the CU record books: With five catches for 32 yards Saturday, he is now CU’s all-time receptions leader by a running back (96), surpassing Rodney Stewart (2008-11). Lindsay is also in pursuit of Stewart’s No. 1 all-purpose yardage mark (4,828), and after Week 4, Lindsay sits just 389 yards away from matching it.

2. The crowd impressed, considering the conditions: The recorded temperature at kickoff was 45 degrees — 40 with wind chill — in addition to 100 percent humidity and 8 mile-per-hour winds. And still, attendance was listed at 47,666. Only twice last season did CU exceed that total. Folsom was rocking on several first-half series before UW pulled away for good.

3. Drew Lewis is a tackle machine: In each of his first four career starts at CU, the sophomore jack linebacker has at least 10 tackles. His first stop was monstrous, too, as he dropped UW tailback Myles Gaskin for a four-yard loss. CU has plenty to answer for on defense, as the Buffs have lost by a combined score of 116-28 against their last three Power 5 opponents (Washington twice and Oklahoma State), but Lewis has certainly been a bright spot.

Around the Pac-12

1. Only four unbeaten teams remain: Washington, Washington State, USC and Utah. The list will shrink by at least one Friday night when the Trojans travel to WSU. There’s no surprise the Huskies and Trojans, preseason league favorites, top the Pac-12 hierarchy. How long might Washington State and Utah hang around? And might a one-loss Pac-12 champion still get in the playoff? Stay tuned.

2. Pump the breaks on Oregon: The Ducks defeated Nebraska (42-35) and Wyoming (49-13) and then rose to No. 24 in the polls, prompting early praise for first-year head coach Willie Taggart. But let’s not forget Oregon won just four games all of last year, and then Saturday, the Ducks fell 37-35 in their Pac-12 opener at Arizona State. Might be time to re-calibrate expectations.

3. Assessing quarterback play: The Pac-12 entered the year touting what many believed to be the deepest cast of talented passers in the Power 5. After four weeks, here are where several league quarterbacks rank nationally for three different statistical categories.

Quarterback rating: No. 9 Jake Browning (176.95), No. 11 Luke Falk (171.57), No. 13 Justin Herbert (169.79), No. 20 Josh Rosen (161.95).

Accuracy: T-No. 1 Luke Falk (76.9), No. 7 Tyler Huntley (73.3), No. 11 Steven Montez (70.3), No. 14 Jake Browning (69.7).

Touchdowns: No. 1 Josh Rosen (16), No. 2 Luke Falk (14), T-No. 19 Sam Darnold (9), T-No. 19 Jake Browning (9).

Bottom line for the Buffaloes

CU coach Mike MacIntyre was clearly frustrated as he began his postgame press conference Saturday, bristling reporters’ questions with short answers. But eventually, to MacIntyre’s credit, he loosened up to provide candid reaction to a gut-punch of a loss.

After one Pac-12 game, it doesn’t appear CU is a league-title contender. It got ugly against the Huskies. Good news for the Buffs? Plenty of games left to play. CU has put together magnificent performances on offense and defense during stretches of games. Now, it must find a way to put it all together at once.

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Oakland’s Bruce Maxwell kneels during anthem for 2nd straight day

September 24, 2017 - 2:57pm

OAKLAND, Calif. — Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell pressed a hand against his chest and took to a knee for the national anthem for the second straight day, part of the protest movement that has been criticized by President Donald Trump.

On Saturday, the 26-year-old rookie became the first major league baseball player to kneel during “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the A’s played Texas. For the second straight day, teammate Mark Canha put a hand on Maxwell’s shoulder in a show of support Sunday.

Maxwell said he plans to continue the protest.

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Pittsburgh Steeler and former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva stands for anthem by himself

September 24, 2017 - 2:54pm

After President Trump made comments over the weekend that players should be “suspended or fired” for protesting the national anthem, the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to sit out the national anthem.

Head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters before Sunday’s game in Chicago against the Bears that his team wouldn’t be participating in the anthem because

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“(It’s) not to be disrespectful to the anthem, but it’s to remove ourselves from the circumstance. People shouldn’t have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate for the anthem, he shouldn’t have to be forced to choose sides,” Tomlin told CBS.

During the anthem, Tomlin and a handful of coaches stood on a largely empty Pittsburgh sideline without any players. However, one Steeler emerged from the locker room in order to stand for the national anthem.

Alejandro Villanueva stood in the tunnel to the Pittsburgh locker room with his hand over his heart while the “Star Spangled Banner” played.

Read the full story at

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Kyle Busch gets NASCAR playoff win in New Hampshire

September 24, 2017 - 2:53pm

LOUDON, N.H. — Kyle Busch earned a berth in the second round of NASCAR’s playoffs with a dominant victory Sunday at New Hampshire Motorspeedway.

Busch slipped through smoke from a multi-car crash on the backstretch that knocked out Martin Truex Jr.’s run at a second straight win and won in the No. 18 Toyota for the third time this season.

Busch, who won from the pole, put together a complete effort and joined Truex in the next round of the playoffs. The field is cut from 16 drivers to 12 following next week’s race at Dover International Speedway.

Truex, who won the playoff opener at Chicagoland, led 112 laps early until he was caught up in a wreck that ended his shot at a sixth win.

The playoff standings were shaken up in the wake of massive multi-car wreck that sent playoff drivers Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick to the garage. Harvick’s car was hit by Austin Dillon on the last lap of the second stage. Harvick spun and smoke billowed over the track, leaving drivers almost blinded to the traffic ahead. Busch, Harvick’s teammate at Stewart-Haas Racing, slammed into Harvick. Truex backed up to straighten himself out and instead suffered left-rear damage when he smacked another car.

Kurt Busch, the Daytona 500 champion, will likely have to win next week at Dover to advance to the second round.

“It’s all-in. We’ll go there with everything we’ve got like we have been,” Busch said.

Harvick, the 2014 series champion, had accumulated enough playoff points that one DNF shouldn’t cost him a spot in the top 12.

“I couldn’t really tell where I was with all the smoke and everything that was happening, but just got hit from behind and spun out,” he said.

Playoff drivers filled the top five spots: Kyle Larson was second, followed by Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski and Truex.

“We had damage and had to fight from the back of the pack the rest of the day,” Truex said.

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Kyle Busch, who had his shot at victory at Chicagoland end because of pit road miscues, survived the wreckage and took his customary victory bow toward the cheering fans.

“That was pretty intense,” Busch said. “That was some ‘Days of Thunder’ stuff over there. You couldn’t see anything.”

Other items of note at New Hampshire:


It appeared no drivers, crew or other team members participated in a protest during the national anthem. Several team owners and executives had said 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.”

Hall of Fame driver Richard Petty’s sentiments took it a step further, saying: “Anybody that don’t stand up for the anthem oughta be out of the country. Period. What got ’em where they’re at? The United States.”

When asked if a protester at Richard Petty Motorsports would be fired, he said, “You’re right.”

Another team owner, Chip Ganassi, said he supports Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s comments. Tomlin said before the Steelers played on Sunday that players would remain in the locker room and that “we’re not going to let divisive times or divisive individuals affect our agenda.”

NASCAR said 2016 champion Jimmie Johnson had not been invited to the White House for recognition as he had in the past, but that it necessarily wasn’t out of the ordinary because of the change in office.


New Hampshire is called the Magic Mile and NASCAR made its fall race disappear. This was the last time the track will hold two Cup races as the September date will move in 2018 to fellow Speedway Motorsports, Inc., track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway.


The first cutoff race is held at Dover. Truex won this race last season. Johnson’s win in the spring race this year was his 11th at the track.

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Longmont City Council to consider DACA support resolution

September 24, 2017 - 2:36pm

Longmont’s City Council on Tuesday night will consider urging President Donald Trump’s administration to keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in place.

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A resolution proposed for council consideration would further call on Trump and Congress — including Longmont’s congressional delegation, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck and Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner — “to demonstrate your commitment to the American economy and the ideals of our nation by continuing DACA until Congress modernizes our immigration system and provides a more permanent form of relief for these individuals.”

On Sept. 5, Trump announced his decision to phase out the five-year-old program that has protected undocumented immigrants from deportation if they entered the United States before they turned 16.

The resolution, which Councilwoman Polly Christensen suggested earlier this month be drafted and placed on Tuesday’s regular-meeting agenda for a council vote, also encourages “all governmental, business and nonprofit agencies in Longmont” to join the council in supporting DACA.

Read the full article at

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Christian McCaffrey has first 100-yard game in Panthers’ loss to Saints

September 24, 2017 - 2:15pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Drew Brees shredded the league’s top-ranked defense, throwing for 220 yards and three touchdowns as the New Orleans Saints defeated the previously unbeaten Carolina Panthers 34-13 on Sunday.

Brees led six scoring drives and threw TD passes to Michael Thomas, Brandon Coleman and ex-Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. as the Saints avoided an 0-3 start. Rookie Alvin Kamara put the game away with a 25-yard TD run with 4:42 left.

Carolina had only allowed six points in its previous two games.

The Saints’ defense, which came in ranked 32nd in the league, intercepted Cam Newton three times and sacked him four times before he was replaced late in the fourth quarter. Many of Newton’s throws were either too hard or high as the seventh-year quarterback continued to struggle with his rhythm following offseason shoulder surgery.

The Panthers, who were already without injured Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen, lost wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin in the first quarter to a knee injury; his leg got bent back awkwardly after being dragged down from behind. Carolina’s only real offense came from rookie running back Christian McCaffrey, who had 101 yards receiving on nine catches.

The Saints led 17-6 when Ginn beat cornerback James Bradberry down the middle of the field for a 40-yard touchdown reception to break it open. It was the same type of big play Ginn provided for the Panthers in previous seasons.

Brees was sharp all day, completing 22 of 29 passes.


Brees has thrown for 1,252 yards and 12 touchdowns with three interceptions in his last four games against the Panthers. Newton entered the game with 19 career touchdown passes and seven interceptions against the Saints. This marked the first time he’s ever thrown more than one interception in a game vs. New Orleans.

GANO STAYS PERFECT: Panthers kicker Graham Gano entered training camp in a battle for his job, but the veteran added two more field goals on Sunday and is 8 for 8 on the season.

NO DOUBTING THOMAS: Carolina had no answer early on for Thomas, who caught five passes for 50 yards and a touchdown on the Saints’ opening drive. Thomas finished with 87 yards receiving on seven catches.

DICKSON A NONFACTOR: Ed Dickson replaced Olsen at tight end for the Panthers, but was a nonfactor in the passing game. Instead, most of Newton’s underneath passes went to McCaffrey. Olsen’s streak of playing in 160 straight games came to an end due to a broken foot.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: At least a dozen Saints players sat on the bench for the national anthem. None of the Panthers players on the sideline sat or kneeled in protest.


Saints: DT David Perry, added to the 53-man roster this week, left with a left leg injury in the first half.

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Panthers: In addition to Benjamin, LB Thomas Davis left briefly with a rib injury, but did return.


Saints: They head across the ocean to face the Miami Dolphins in London next Sunday.

Panthers: They travel to New England next Sunday.

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Donald Trump’s long, stormy and unrequited romance with the NFL

September 24, 2017 - 1:57pm

President Donald Trump’s criticism of NFL players and the league itself at a political rally Friday evening, which he followed up with a series of tweets Saturday, marked the latest entry in his long-running dalliance with the NFL, which, in some ways, is like a super-elite country club whose membership Trump has never been able to attain.

In 1983, when the going rate for an NFL team was about $80 million, Trump spent $6 million to buy the New Jersey Generals of the rival U.S. Football League, which played its seasons in the spring.

In interviews after the real estate magnate announced his acquisition at a news conference in the atrium of Trump Tower, Trump claimed he decided to buy into the rival league because he wanted a challenge.

“I could’ve bought an NFL team if I wanted to. … But I’d rather create something from scratch,” Trump said. “I feel sorry for the poor guy who is going to buy the Dallas Cowboys. It’s a no-win situation for him, because if he wins, well, so what, they’ve won through the years, and if he loses … he’ll be known to the world as a loser.”

As owner of the Generals, Trump went on a spending spree that drew the ire of NFL owners. He landed Herschel Walker, the Heisman Trophy-winning running back at the University of Georgia, with what was then the richest contract in the history of professional football: $5 million over three years. A year later, Trump signed another Heisman Trophy winner — quarterback Doug Flutie out of Boston College — to a five-year deal worth $7 million. He tried to sign star linebacker Lawrence Taylor away from the New York Giants, forcing the Giants to give Taylor a raise.

Trump tried to lure coach Don Shula away from the Miami Dolphins and then claimed the discussions ended because Shula asked for one thing Trump would not offer: a free apartment in Trump Tower.

“Money is one thing, gold is another,” Trump said.

Shula denied this and said he ended the negotiations because Trump kept publicizing them. Dolphins owner Joe Robbie derided Trump as “engaged more in ballyhoo … than in a serious effort to build a franchise completely by sound professional management.”

In 1986, Trump convinced his fellow USFL owners to launch what amounted to a hostile takeover attempt: They moved the league’s schedule to the fall to compete directly with the NFL, then sued the NFL, alleging antitrust violations. Trump predicted to his fellow USFL owners that the lawsuit would result in a massive judgment — hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in damages from the NFL — that would force the NFL to offer to merge the leagues.

In the trial, NFL attorneys framed their case around Trump, arguing that the lawsuit was a charade orchestrated by Trump as a way to get into the NFL on the cheap. The argument worked.

“I thought he was extremely arrogant and I thought that he was obviously trying to play the game,” juror Patricia Sibilia recalled in a telephone interview last year. “He wanted an NFL franchise. … The USFL was a cheap way in.”

The jury ruled that the NFL had violated antitrust law but concluded that the USFL’s financial struggles were of its own making and awarded only $1 in damages. In antitrust cases, damages are tripled, so Trump’s legal assault on the NFL won a grand total of $3. The USFL folded.

“Only Donald Trump could somehow turn the behemoth of the NFL into an underdog,” said Michael Tollin, director of the ESPN documentary “Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?”

Trump lost an estimated $22 million on the New Jersey Generals. The Dallas Cowboys team — which Trump said he considered buying in 1983 but did not because you could succeed only “laterally” in the NFL — was sold in 1989 to Jerry Jones for $140 million. According to Forbes, the team, still owned by Jones, is now worth an estimated $4.8 billion, making it the world’s most valuable sports franchise.

After the USFL folded, Trump’s name arose periodically in discussions about NFL ownership. In 1988, he made a bid for the New England Patriots but ultimately bowed out. In 2014, Trump said he offered $1 billion for the Buffalo Bills, but he was bested by a $1.4 billion offer.

In early 2016, Trump told an Associated Press reporter that if his bid had won him the Bills, he never would have run for president.

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“I did it a little tentatively,” Trump told the AP of his attempt to purchase the Bills. “When I put the bid in for the Buffalo Bills, I always was a little concerned if the NFL would remember how I knocked the hell out of them.”

For once, however, Trump expressed contentment with defeat.

”This is more exciting,” he said of running for president. ”And it’s a lot cheaper.”

Some of the material in this story was adapted from “Trump Revealed,” a 2016 biography by Marc Fisher, Michael Kranish and a team of Washington Post reporters.

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Weld Central officials deny reports of racism, Confederate flag display during football game

September 24, 2017 - 1:43pm

A day after officials with Manual High School in Denver accused the Weld Central High School football team of using racial slurs during a game and displaying a Confederate flag, Weld Central officials denied the claims.

Photo provided by The Greeley TribuneThis January file photo depicts Weld Central Middle School’s mascot. The mascot, which is the same one used by Weld Central High School, has come under fire recently after a national debate erupted about civil war monuments and homages.

The Confederate flag, flown during the game between the two teams, touched off tense conflict on and off the field Friday night, and three players from Manual High School were injured, the Manual principal said in a community letter Saturday.

Players from Manual also told coaches that students on the visiting team, Weld Central High School, taunted them with racial slurs during tackles, according to principal Nick Dawkins’ letter.

Weld Central, in Keenseburg, has a Rebel as a mascot. Dawkins said the team displayed the Confederate flag during the first quarter of the game, offending players from the Denver high school.

Read the full story at The Greeley Tribune.

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Opposition from GOP senators grows, jeopardizes health bill

September 24, 2017 - 1:33pm

WASHINGTON — Republican opposition to the GOP health care bill swelled to near-fatal numbers Sunday as Sen. Susan Collins all but closed the door on supporting the last-ditch effort to scrap the Obama health care law and Sen. Ted Cruz said that “right now” he doesn’t back it.

White House legislative liaison Marc Short and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of the measure’s sponsors, said Republicans would press ahead with a vote this week. But the comments by Collins and Cruz left the Republican drive to uproot President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act dangling by an increasingly slender thread.

A showdown must occur this week for Republicans to prevail with their narrow Senate majority. Next Sunday, protections expire against a Democratic filibuster, bill-killing delays that Republicans lack the votes to overcome.

Already two GOP senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona, have said they oppose the legislation. All Democrats will vote against it. “No” votes from three of the 52 GOP senators would kill the party’s effort to deliver on its perennial vow to repeal “Obamacare” and would reprise the party’s politically jarring failure to accomplish that this summer.

Collins cited the bill’s cuts in the Medicaid program for low-income people and the likelihood that it would result in many losing health coverage and paying higher premiums. The Maine moderate also criticized a provision letting states make it easier for insurers to raise premiums on people with pre-existing medical conditions.

“It’s very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill,” said Collins.

The conservative Cruz also voiced opposition, underscoring the bill’s problems with both ends of the GOP spectrum.

“Right now, they don’t have my vote,” Cruz said at a festival in Austin, Texas. He suggested the measure doesn’t do enough to reduce premiums by allowing insurers to sell less comprehensive coverage than Obama’s law allows.

Cruz said he doesn’t think fellow conservative Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, backs the GOP bill. Lee spokesman Conn Carroll said Lee wants “technical changes” but hasn’t finalized his position.

The growing opposition leaves the White House and party leaders desperate to rescue their promise to repeal Obama’s law with one immediate option: changing opponents’ minds.

Republicans have said they’re still reshaping the bill in hopes of winning over skeptics. Collins said sponsors were making last-minute adjustments in the measure’s formulas for distributing federal money to states.

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“So yes, we’re moving forward and we’ll see what happens next week,” Graham said.

Paul said even though the bill transforms federal health care dollars into block grants states would control, the GOP bill left too much of that spending intact.

“Block granting Obamacare doesn’t make it go away,” Paul said.

McCain has complained that Republicans should have worked with Democrats in reshaping the country’s $3 trillion-a-year health care system and cited uncertainty over the bill’s impact on consumers.

A chief target of GOP leaders is Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, whose state has unusually high health care costs because of its many remote communities. Collins and Murkowski were the only Republicans who voted “no” on four pivotal votes on earlier versions of the GOP legislation in July.

Murkowski has remained uncommitted, saying she’s studying the bill’s impact on Alaska. Her state’s officials released a report Friday citing “unique challenges” and deep cuts the measure would impose on the state.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he intends to have a vote this week but has stopped short of firmly committing to it. If party leaders expected to lose, they would have to choose between conservatives demanding no surrender and others seeing no point in another demoralizing defeat.

The White House’s Short said he expects a vote Wednesday.

Major health industry organizations including America’s Health Insurance Plans representing insurers and the American Hospital Association released a statement Saturday urging the legislation’s rejection. They said it would “drastically” weaken individual health insurance markets and “undermine safeguards” for seriously ill people.

Recent polls have also shown a public preference for retaining Obama’s law over scrapping it.

This summer’s setback infuriated the GOP’s core conservative voters and prompted President Donald Trump to unleash a series of tweets blaming McConnell for the failure. In recent days, Trump tweeted that any GOP senator opposing the bill would be known as “the Republican who saved ObamaCare.”

The bill would repeal much of the 2010 law, including its tax penalties on people who don’t buy insurance and on larger employers not offering coverage to workers. States could loosen coverage requirements under the law’s mandates, including prohibiting insurers from charging seriously ill people higher premiums and letting them sell policies covering fewer services.

It would eliminate Obama’s expansion of Medicaid and the subsidies the law provides millions of people to reduce their premiums and out of pocket costs, substituting block grants to states.

Collins was on CBS’ “Face the Nation” and CNN’s “State of the Union,” Graham appeared on ABC’s “This Week” and Paul was on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and Short was on CBS, NBC and “Fox News Sunday.”


Associated Press writer Catherine Lucey in Somerset, New Jersey, contributed to this report.

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Broncos felled by penalties, mistakes on the road in loss to Bills

September 24, 2017 - 1:24pm

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Broncos were told all last week it was a trap game. They were told that two impressive victories at home to open the season meant little when they traveled to Buffalo.

Those who said so were proven right.

The same Broncos (2-1) that contained Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and shut down Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott lost to Buffalo, 26-16, here Sunday.

Quarterback Trevor Siemian completed 24-of-40 passes for 259 yards, but threw two costly interceptions in the second half leading to Buffalo taking a lead it would not relinquish.

BOX SCORE: Bills 26, Broncos 16

The Broncos’ defense that came out swinging with a pair of first-quarter sacks struggled to clean up the offensive miscues and penalties that plagued Denver.

Denver got on the board first as Siemian engineered a 12-play, 53-drive that was aided by a pair of defensive pass interference calls and ended with a 38-yard field goal by Brandon McManus. The Broncos have led after the first quarter in all three games this season, a marked change from a year ago when they did so only twice.

Buffalo responded with a nine-yard touchdown catch by Andre Holmes, but a string of defensive penalties limited its time in the lead. A 32-yard run by the Broncos’ C.J. Anderson, plus a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty by Bills safety Micah Hyde put the Broncos in scoring territory. An incomplete pass by Siemian was given a do-over and free 13 yards after a roughing-the-passer penalty by defensive end Jerry Hughes. On the next play, running back Jamaal Charles waltzed into the end zone for a 12-yard score — his first as a Bronco, for a 10-7 lead.

But flags that held back the Bills early did the same to the Broncos. There was an illegal formation penalty on a punt that cost them 37 yards of field position in the second quarter and, along with an illegal block in the back, helped the Bills tie it up, 10-10, with a 49-yard field goal.

The Broncos’ defense was gashed in the final 41 seconds of the first half as it allowed 38 yards before Steven Hauschka nailed a 55-yard, game-tying field goal, making it 13-13 at the half.

In the third quarter, Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor came alive and picked up 56 yards on a pair of deep passes, then found tight end Charles Clay in the end zone for a touchdown and a 20-16 lead.

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Poor field position killed the Broncos. So did penalties, critical turnovers and questionable decisions.

A fake Broncos punt at the end of the third — running back De’Angelo Henderson was tackled for a gain of one yard on 4-and-2 — set the Bills up at Denver’s 31. The Bills went backward but Hauschka drilled a 53-yard field goal to extend the Bills’ lead to 23-16.

The shared mistakes would continue to the end. Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was flagged on a pick play, then Buffalo’s Adolphus Washington was flagged for illegal hands to the face on a third down, giving Denver a golden opportunity to bounce back. But Siemian threw his second pick, and Von Miller was later flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for faking to help up Taylor following a hit. That costly penalty on third down extended Buffalo’s last drive, with Hauschka sealing the game with his fourth field goal.

The Broncos got trapped.

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Pittsburgh Penguins announce they will attend White House Stanley Cup celebration

September 24, 2017 - 12:48pm

While the sports world focused Sunday on the NFL and its reaction to recent statements by President Donald Trump, the Pittsburgh Penguins inserted themselves into the sporting world’s ongoing political discussion by issuing a statement that the team would visit the White House as part of their Stanley Cup celebration.

The Penguins, on the heels of their second consecutive Stanley Cup win this past June, still plan to visit Trump, though a date has not yet been confirmed. The Penguins released the statement at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, right as a handful of professional athletes and owners continue to denounce recent comments and tweets Trump has issued regarding the NFL, national anthem protests and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry’s now-rescinded invitation to visit the White House with his team.

“The Pittsburgh Penguins respect the institution of the Office of the President, and the long tradition of championship teams visiting the White House,” the Penguins’ statement reads. “We attended White House ceremonies after previous championships – touring the historic building and visiting briefly with Presidents George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama – and have accepted an invitation to attend again this year.

“Any agreement or disagreement with a president’s politics, policies or agenda can be expressed in other ways. However, we very much respect the rights of other individuals and groups to express themselves as they see fit.”

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After Curry indicated he would not go to the White House, Trump responded with this tweet on Saturday morning:

“Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”

This was amid a flurry of tweets regarding the sporting world’s intersection with political and social issues, and Trump continued Sunday morning by tweeting, “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!” This makes the timing of the Penguins’ statement curious, as NFL players and coaches have spent Sunday contesting Trump’s recent comments and sharing messages of unity.

Sunday started with many players demonstrating during the national anthem ahead of the Ravens-Jaguars game in London, with players kneeling or linking arms on both sidelines. There is expected to be a major increase in national anthem demonstrations as nine more games kick off at 11 a.m.

Athletic protests of current social and political issues have mostly been concentrated in the NFL and NBA across the last two years. The Warriors have responded to Trump’s tweet about Curry by saying they will not be attending the White House at all. The Penguins, however, followed that by saying they have every intention to.

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The breakdown of NFL players who protested during the anthem

September 24, 2017 - 12:43pm

The Associated Press observed more than 130 players around the NFL kneeling or sitting during the national anthem in the league’s first nine games on Sunday morning and early afternoon.

The highest total was 35 protesters at the Denver at Buffalo game, while no one sat or knelt at the Pittsburgh at Chicago game, although the Steelers stayed in the tunnel.

Here’s a breakdown at each game, as observed by AP reporters:

Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts: About 24.

— New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles: At least three (and three other players raising their fists).

Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills: About 35, including Bills RB LeSean McCoy and about half of the Broncos’ roster.

— Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings: At least two, including Bucs WRs Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson.

Houston Texans at New England Patriots: About 16.

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets: At least four, including Dolphins WR Kenny Stills and OT Laremy Tunsil.

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers: About 12, including Saints RB Adrian Peterson.

Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions: About 10, including Lions RB Ameer Abdullah.

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Pittsburgh Steelers at Chicago Bears: The Steelers stayed in the tunnel, although Army veteran Alejandro Villanueva stood outside the tunnel with his hand over his heart.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars in London: About 24, including Ravens LB Terrell Suggs and Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette.

Total: 130

The amount of protests around the NFL ballooned this weekend in the wake of President Donald Trump’s criticism of players who protest during the national anthem. Only four players were observed kneeling or sitting last weekend, and two others raised their fists.

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AP College Football Poll: Georgia, TCU jump into top 10 in Week 5

September 24, 2017 - 11:43am

No. 7 Georgia and No. 9 TCU jumped into the top 10 of The Associated Press college football poll for the first time this season and Florida State dropped all the way out of the rankings for the first time since 2011 after starting 0-2.

Alabama remained No. 1 and won back some of the support it lost last week to No. 2 Clemson. The Crimson Tide received 52 first-place votes Sunday, up seven from last week, after beating Vanderbilt 59-0 on Saturday.

Clemson received eight first-place votes, down seven from last week, after taking more than three quarters to pull away from Boston College. No. 3 Oklahoma got the remaining first-place vote.

Penn State held at No. 4. Southern California was No. 5, followed by Pac-12 rival Washington.

Georgia followed Michigan, TCU and Wisconsin rounded out the top 10.



What a strange start to the season for Florida State, which had a streak of 105 straight poll appearances snapped. The Seminoles were No. 3 in the preseason poll, lost to Alabama in a marquee opener and lost quarterback Deondre Francois to a season-ending injury in that game, too.

Then Florida State’s season was put on hold for two weeks because of Hurricane Irma. That cost the ‘Noles what figured to be a good game against Louisiana-Monroe to break in freshman quarterback James Blackman, and delayed its game against Miami.

Finally back on the field against North Carolina State, the Seminoles lost 27-21 to drop to 0-2 for the first time since 1989. Florida State also became the first team to start the season ranked in the top three of the AP poll and begin its season with two losses since 1984, when No. 3 Pitt began 0-4 and finished 3-7-1.

— Oregon dropped out after one week ranked, following a 37-35 loss at Arizona State.

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The current longest streaks of consecutive poll appearances.

168 — Alabama. Last time unranked was final poll of 2007 season.

103 — Ohio State. Last time unranked was final poll of 2011 season.

55 — Clemson. Last time unranked was Nov. 16, 2014.


Welcome back, No. 22 Notre Dame and No. 23 West Virginia. The Fighting Irish had a one-week stint in the poll earlier this month and the Mountaineers are back after being in the preseason poll.


— No. 9 TCU jumped seven spots after one of Saturday’s most impressive victories, 44-31 at Oklahoma State. The Horned Frogs won 44-31 in Stillwater for the first time since they joined the Big 12 in 2012.

— No. 7 Georgia moved up four places after routing Mississippi State 31-3.


— No. 11 Ohio State was nudged out of the top 10 when Georgia and TCU moved in, snapping the Buckeyes streak of 42 straight polls ranked in the top 10.

— No. 15 Oklahoma State dropped nine places after its first loss of the season


SEC — 6

Big 12 — 4

Pac 12 — 4

Big Ten — 4

ACC — 4

American — 1

Mountain West — 1

Independent — 1


No. 2 Clemson at No. 12 Virginia Tech. The Tigers make their first trip to Lane Stadium since 2011.

No. 5 USC at No. 16 Washington State, Friday. Pullman, Washington, for a short-week road game. What could possibly go wrong for the Trojans?

No. 24 Mississippi State at No. 14 Auburn. Third straight ranked opponent for the Bulldogs. So far, 1-1.

Rankings School Record Points Pvs 1. Alabama (52) 4-0 1,515 1 2. Clemson (8) 4-0 1,458 2 3. Oklahoma (1) 4-0 1,397 3 4. Penn State 4-0 1,304 4 5. USC 4-0 1,247 5 6. Washington 4-0 1,188 7 7. Georgia 4-0 1,136 11 8. Michigan 4-0 1,088 8 9. TCU 4-0 1,028 16 10. Wisconsin 3-0 1,023 9 11. Ohio State 3-1 1,016 10 12. Virginia Tech 4-0 828 13 13. Auburn 3-1 701 15 14. Miami (Fla.) 2-0 693 14 15. Oklahoma State 3-1 665 6 16. Washington State 4-0 551 18 17. Louisville 3-1 502 19 18. South Florida 4-0 406 21 19. San Diego State 4-0 365 22 20. Utah 4-0 356 23 21. Florida 2-1 342 20 22. Notre Dame 3-1 246 – 23. West Virginia 3-1 212 – 24. Mississippi State 3-1 148 17 25. LSU 3-1 92 25 Others receiving votes:  NC State 87, Duke 79, Texas Tech 40, Florida St. 35, Memphis 26, Iowa 16, Stanford 8, California 7, Colorado 5, UCF 4, Minnesota 3, Kansas St. 3, Oregon 3, Tennessee 1, Wake Forest 1.

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WATCH: Jamaal Charles rumbles 12 yards for Broncos touchdown against Bills

September 24, 2017 - 11:12am

INCREDIBLE blocking by the @Broncos.

And @jcharles25 takes care of the rest.

END ZONE! #BroncosCountry

— NFL (@NFL) September 24, 2017

Jamaal Charles may be 30, but he showed he still has gas in the tank.

The Broncos running back rumbled 12 yards through the Bills defense early in the second quarter for a touchdown.

The score gave the Broncos a 10-7 lead.

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Walker Stapleton, Colorado’s treasurer, jumps into crowded GOP primary race for governor

September 24, 2017 - 11:00am

Walker Stapleton, Colorado’s treasurer, made official his expected bid for governor Saturday night, jumping into the crowded Republican primary contest for the job.

2018 candidates for Colorado governor

Who is running for governor of Colorado in 2018? (And who is on the fence?)

“As Governor, I will demand that Colorado’s government serves the taxpayers of Colorado, not special interest groups and government bureaucrats,” Stapleton said in a statement to announcing his campaign. “Our Department of Transportation is spending $150 million of your money on new offices, instead of putting that money towards much needed roads. Actions like this have left taxpayers stuck in traffic, while bureaucrats enjoy brand new offices. That is not government putting taxpayers first.”

An independent expenditure committee called Better Colorado Now and backing Stapleton has been raising money for months.

Stapleton, 43, is in his second term as Colorado’s treasurer and has ties to the Bush family.

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Already in the race on the Republican side are co-chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in Colorado Steve Barlock, 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler, Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter, former Parker Mayor Greg Lops, former state lawmaker and businessman Victor Mitchell and former investment banker Doug Robinson.

There are also a host of candidates running as Democrats, including businessman Noel Ginsburg, former state Sen. Mike Johnston, former treasurer Cary Kennedy, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis.

State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has been mulling a run for governor but has yet to say whether she will get into the race or when she will decide.

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PHOTOS: The Denver Broncos play the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field

September 24, 2017 - 10:38am

The Buffalo Bills host the Denver Broncos on Sept. 24, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y.

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Von Miller among 32 Broncos players who take a knee for national anthem

September 24, 2017 - 10:12am

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Thirty-two Broncos players took a knee during the national anthem Sunday ahead of their game against the Buffalo Bills. Star outside linebacker Von Miller was among them, and locked arms with inside linebacker Brandon Marshall.

Rookie left tackle Garett Bolles stood next to Miller and placed his hand on Miller’s shoulder. Kicker Brandon McManus and outside linebacker Kasim Edebali did the same as teammates knelt next to them.

Cornerback Chris Harris took a knee and raised his left hand in the air. Outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett and tight end Virgil Green both stood with their fists raised.

Head coach Vance Joseph and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy stood for the anthem.

Joseph broached the subject of protest directly and succinctly during the team’s Saturday night meeting. He told his players he supported them. He encouraged them to stick together and emphasized a focus on the game ahead, against the Bills. However they wished to address the matter, he would have their backs.

In the near-36 hours since President Donald Trump called on NFL owners to fire “son of a bitch” national anthem protesters, then doubled down on his stance via social media, NFL executives, owners, coaches and players responded with strong comments in support of their game and their athletes.

Broncos president/CEO Joe Ellis issued a statement to reiterate the team’s support of its players and “admiration for their dedication to making our team the absolute best it can be.” He didn’t name Trump, nor did he mention the president’s comments. General manager John Elway also spoke to Joseph and has been involved in the team’s discussions and handling of the matter internally.

Many other teams convened Saturday evening to decide what they would do before their games Sunday, be it a protest or show of unity or nothing at all. Before the Jacksonville’s game against the Ravens in London, Jaguars owner Shadid Khan, who donated $1 million to Trump’s presidential campaign, stood with his arms locked with tight end Marcedes Lewis and linebacker Telvin Smith. Dozens of players from both teams kneeled during the anthem.

“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, our teammates and our coaches during our anthem,” Khan told reporters after the game. “Our team and the National Football league reflects our nation, with diversity coming in many forms — race, faith, our views and our goals. We have a lot of work to do, and we can do it, but the comments by the president make it harder. That’s why 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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Over the past year, as many have taken Colin Kaepernick’s lead and kneeled for the national anthem in protest of social injustice and police brutality, not all players across NFL locker rooms have agreed with the protests.

Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe was among those who stood for the anthem Sunday. He made it clear he believes in standing out of respect for service men and women. But he’s also offered his support of his teammates who have decided to protest. Marshall kneeled for seven games last season and lost a pair of endorsement deals and received numerous hate-filled and threatening messages from fans.

“Him getting hate mail like that, that’s also disgusting,” Wolfe told The Post. “Why do you want to take a step back as a human race? We’re all the same. We’re all human beings. It’s OK to be different.”

In a statement to ESPN’s Josina Anderson on Sunday morning, Wolfe said: “I stand because I respect the men who died in real battle so I have the freedom to battle on the field. Paying tribute to the men and women who have given their lives for our freedom is why I stand. But everyone these days likes to find a reason to protest and that’s their right. It’s America and you are free to speak your mind. I just feel it’s disrespectful to the ones who sacrificed their lives and it’s maybe the wrong platform. But like I said to each their own it’s AMERICA! The greatest country in the world and if you don’t think we are the greatest country in the world and you reside here, then why do you stay? A lot worse places in the world to call home. Proud to be an American.”

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