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

A photo of a World War II veteran kneeling in solidarity with NFL players quickly went viral amid Sunday's national anthem protests.

>> Live updates: Trump slams players, NFL responds by taking a knee

>> PHOTOS: NFL takes a stand on football Sunday

According to the Kansas City Star, Brennan Gilmore tweeted the snapshot of his 97-year-old grandfather, John Middlemas of Willard, Missouri, early Sunday. By Monday morning, it had been shared more than 100,000 times.

>> See the tweet here

"Those kids have every right to protest," Middlemas said, according to Gilmore's tweet.

Gilmore added: "Grandpa has been an ally to the civil rights movement for many years. He's an amazing man always on the side of justice."

>> See the tweet here

In an interview with the Springfield News-Leader, Middlemas said he wanted to promote peace.

>> Read more trending news

"I wanted to communicate what I always told to my grandkids and everybody else: When they'd go to bed at night, we'd tell the kids we wanted to be like Jesus," he said, adding, "I'm trying to say that you have to love everybody. ... We don't kill people. We want to make people live."

Read more here or here.

No Cincinnati Bengals kneel for national anthem; many players, coaches lock arms

Unlike many players across the NFL, no Cincinnati Bengals kneeled during the national anthem Sunday in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Instead, many players and coaches stood with their arms locked.

>> On DaytonDailyNews.com: Marvin Lewis explains anthem display

The team released a statement shortly after kickoff:

>> PHOTOS: NFL takes a stand on football Sunday

>> Live updates: Trump slams players, NFL responds by taking a knee

“Football and politics don’t mix easily. Fans come to NFL games to watch great competition on the playing field and that’s where our focus should be.”

>> On DaytonDailyNews.com: Several Browns continue practice of kneeling during anthem

Demonstrations increased across the league Sunday following President Donald Trump’s comments on Friday. Speaking at a campaign rally for Alabama Sen. Luther Strange in Hunstville, Ala., Trump said “Wouldn’t you love one of the NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a [expletive] off the field right now. Out. He’s fired!’”

>> Read more trending news

Reaction to the comments was swift with numerous players chiming in on Twitter and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell releasing a statement that read, “The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”

Seahawks' Pete Carroll responds to Trump's condemnation of national anthem protests

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has responded to President Donald Trump's suggestion that NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. Trump also encouraged spectators to walk out in protest.

>> Trump withdraws White House invitation to Golden State Warriors

The statement from Carroll said:

>> Trump continues railing against protesting NFL, NBA players

"In this incredibly polarizing time, there’s no longer a place to sit silently. It’s time to take a stand. We stand for love and justice and civility. We stand for our players and their constitutional rights, just as we stand for equality for all people. We stand against divisiveness and hate and dehumanization. We are in the midst of a tremendously challenging time, a time longing for healing. Change needs to happen; we will stand for change. May we all have the courage to take a stand for our beliefs while not diminishing the rights of others as this is the beating heart of our democracy. As a team, we are united in a mission to bring people together to help create positive change. We can no longer remain silent. I will stand with our players."

>> Bruce Maxwell first MLB player to kneel during national anthem

The statement was released through Pete Carroll's Twitter account Saturday night: 

>> See the tweet here

In an extended riff during a freewheeling rally speech in Alabama on Friday night, Trump bemoaned that football games have become less violent.

>> Roger Goodell calls Trump’s attack on NFL players’ protests ‘divisive’

"They're ruining the game," he complained.

After Trump made his remarks, Seattle Seahawks players took to social media to respond. See the responses embedded below. 

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

“The behavior of the President is unacceptable and needs to be addressed,” Richard Sherman wrote. “If you do not Condemn this divisive Rhetoric you are Condoning it!”

Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett responded Saturday afternoon. 

>> Read more trending news

"My mom is a beautiful lady she has never been a (expletive)," Bennett wrote. 

His response comes after Trump said, "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you'd say, 'Get that son of a (expletive) off the field right now. Out! He's fired."

Read more here.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Former Heisman winner Ricky Williams arrested on traffic warrants

Former Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams was arrested in Texas on Tuesday on traffic warrants, records show.

>> Read more trending news 

Williams was pulled over for a traffic offense, then arrested on warrants, Austin police said.

He is no longer in the Travis County Jail, records show. 

Williams, who starred at the University of Texas and played seven seasons in the NFL, is currently a football analyst for ESPN's Longhorn Network. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1998 and was the second Longhorn to win college football’s top prize, and was also a two-time All-American.

Earlier this year, Williams said he was racially profiled while walking through a neighborhood in Tyler. A man called 911 when he "observed a black male, wearing all black, crouched down behind his wire fence," and Tyler police stopped and searched Williams, according to media reports

Williams was taken to the Travis County Jail 17 years ago, when he was playing for the New Orleans Saints, when he refused to sign a traffic ticket, according to previous media reports

8-year-old football players kneel during national anthem in protest

Every player from an 8-and-under football team in Belleville, Illinois, took a knee in protest during the national anthem before their game on Saturday, according to KTVI.

>> Watch the news report here

“One of the kids asked me if I saw (people) protesting and rioting in St. Louis. I said yes; I said, ‘Do you know why they are doing it?'” said Coach Orlando Gooden during a phone interview with the news station on Tuesday.

>> See a photo of the protest here

Gooden told the news station that one of the players responded, “Because black people are getting killed and nobody’s going to jail.”

Gooden, a former football player at the University of Missouri, said his players were aware of the recent Jason Stockley decision, which saw an ex-St. Louis officer acquitted in a fatal shooting of a black driver and led to numerous protests.

>> Elderly woman knocked to ground by police during St. Louis protest

“I felt like it was a good teaching moment for me to circle the team and have a meeting,” he said.

Gooden said he spoke with his team about that and other situations that have taken place recently in the United States and explained why free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick and others have knelt during the anthem in protest.

>> Read more trending news

“One of the kids asked, ‘Can we do that?’ I said, ‘As long as we know why we’re doing it, I don’t have a problem with any of it,'” he said.

According to the coach, the third-graders immediately took a knee as the anthem began, with their backs — unintentionally — away from the flag.

“What I teach my kids is love, integrity, honesty, fairness, respect and boundaries,” he said.

The players’ parents reportedly supported the coach’s decision to allow the team to take a knee; however, a Facebook post from his wife reveals that there has been some backlash from other residents in the area.

“As long as I have support of my parents and team, I’m perfectly fine, and I’m covered under the First Amendment to peacefully protest and assemble,” Gooden said.

Football players under 12 at high risk of brain injury, study finds

A new Boston University study published Tuesday found a single season of youth football can change a child's brain.

>> Watch the news report here

The findings focused on children 12 and under and, according to the study, those first 12 years of a child's life are critical to brain development.

That’s why any damage – no matter how small – could mean health concerns years later.

Youth football is a family tradition for many, but this new study out of BU has found the longer a child waits to play football, the better it is for their brain.

“There's really something specific about hitting your head over and over again at a young age and it is disrupting normal brain development,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Michael Alosco, said. 

>> On Boston25News.com: One youth football game results in five concussions

Researchers examined 214 amateur and professional football players and found those who started playing football before they were 12 years old were at higher risk for behavioral and cognitive problems.

“That's a critical period of brain development, especially in males,” said Alosco. 

According to the study, the risks for behavioral problems doubled and the risk for elevated depression tripled.

>> Read more trending news

Alosco told WFXT that their findings revealed any injury to a child's brain could result in permanent damage.

“We're talking about those tiny hits to the head, over and over repeatedly that don't necessarily result in symptoms, but we think are enough to cause injury to the brain,” he explained. 

Just earlier this summer, WFXT investigated the growing trend of youth flag football as many are families opting out of regular football because of health concerns.

“I just think it's a little too dangerous at their young age. They're so fragile,” parent Jeanine Hetzel said. 

>> On Boston25News.com: Despite new helmets, doctors warn of concussion risk for football players

WFXT asked Alosco whether he would recommend parents not let their child play youth football. He said more research needs to be done, but he did say one thing. 

“You just have to ask yourself: Do you really want your young kid to go out there and start hitting their head at such a young age – not even just football – in anything?” said Alosco. 

Woman claims Delta paid her $4,000 to give up seat on overbooked flight

How much money is a single football game worth to you?

For a plane full of University of Georgia fans heading to South Bend, Indiana, to watch their team play Notre Dame last weekend, that number is pretty high.

>> Read more trending news

WSB-TV sports director Zach Klein was on a full Delta Air Lines flight Friday morning leaving from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

The plane was overbooked and when the crew realized it was overbooked, they started offering money for someone to give up their seat.

“Offers started at $2,200. Then it was $2,800. Later it got to $3,000,” Klein said.

Tracy Jarvis Smith eventually took the offer when the crew bumped the amount to $4,000.

“$4,000 was my magic number,” Smith later tweeted.

According to Klein, Smith was bumped for a 7 p.m. flight that day.

“Not one fan wanted to get in late,” Klein said.

Klein posted a photo with the Georgia fan who took Smith’s seat.

Smith also tweeted later that day. She said she got in about eight hours later than she had planned, making it worth the money.

The Georgia Bulldogs went on to beat the Fighting Irish 20-19.

>> Related: Delta will now pay passengers up to $9,950 to give up seats

 

Hurricane Irma: Tim Tebow works with Florida Gov. Rick Scott in preparing for storm

Tim Tebow is doing charitable things once again.

>> Click here for complete Hurricane Irma coverage from the Palm Beach Post

Per "The Paul Finebaum Show," the former Florida Gators quarterback is working alongside Gov. Rick Scott in helping the Sunshine State prepare for Hurricane Irma, which is supposed to arrive this weekend.

>> Hurricane Irma: Live updates

Irma already has caused the cancellation of several college football games, including the Gators hosting Northern Colorado on Saturday. Miami decided not to travel to Arkansas State, and South Florida vs. Connecticut also was postponed.

>> PHOTOS: Hurricane Irma approaches Florida

Scott has been asking Florida citizens to volunteer to assist those who are in need as the disastrous storm heads their way.

>> Read more trending news

People willing to volunteer can go to VolunteerFlorida.org to sign up.

Michael Bennett speaks out about Las Vegas police ‘excessive use of force’

UPDATE Sept. 6 7:12 PM:  NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement on Michael Bennett’s letter about Las Vegas police.

According to the statement, the Las Vegas police will respond to the letter later Wednesday evening.

“Our foremost concern is the welfare of Michael and his family...,” the statement said. “We will support Micahel and all NFL players in promoting mutual respect between law enforcement and the communities they loyally serve and fair and equal treatment under the law.”

ORIGINAL STORY:

In an open letter posted on Twitter, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett says Las Vegas police ordered him to the ground at gunpoint, put a gun near his head and threatened to shoot him after hearing gunshots were fired nearby.

Bennett detailed the incident that was captured in a brief video posted by TMZ Sports on Aug. 26 when he was in Las Vegas to watch the Mayweather-McGregor fight.

Bennett said after the match, while he was heading back to the hotel that night, people heard gunshots fired and he, like others, tried to flee. 

>> Read more trending news

According to Bennett's statement, police ordered him to the ground at gunpoint, jammed a knee into his back and handcuffed him so tightly that his fingers went numb.

The video, which is reportedly shot outside of Drai’s Nightclub on the Las Vegas Strip, shows Bennett asking why he was being detained. 

“I wasn’t doing nothing, man,” Bennett is heard saying in the video. “They told us to get out and everybody ran.”

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, parts of Drai’s Nightclub were evacuated early Sunday for shooting reports that turned out to be false. The police department found that large statues were knocked down onto the tile floor during a fight, which caused panic and prompted reports of a shooting. 

In his letter, Bennett called it an excessive use of force, simply because he was a “black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.” He said one officer placed a gun near his head and warned him if he moved he would “blow his (expletive) head off.”

Bennett said officers refused to answer him when he asked, “What did I do?” He said he feared for his life.

According to TMZ Sports, citing unnamed sources it says are connected to the investigation, police ordered everyone to get down and not move. When Bennett ran, an officer stopped him at gunpoint and ordered him to get on the ground.

Eventually, after sitting in the back of a police car “for what felt like an eternity,” he was released after they realized he “was not a thug, common criminal or ordinary black man, but Michael Bennett, a famous professional football player.”

Bennett, who has been sitting in protest during the national anthem in recent games, gave his reasoning for the protest in the letter.

“(E)quality doesn’t live in this country, and no matter how much money you make, what job title you have or have much you give, when you are seen as a ‘(racial slur)’ you will be treated that way.”

Bennett spoke more about the letter at a news conference Wednesday, calling the police confrontation a “traumatic experience.”

“Do I think every police officer is bad? No,” Bennett said. “Do I believe some people judge people on the color of their skin? I do believe that.”

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said at the same news conference he and the team “stand in support of him and anyone facing inequalities.”

“May this incident inspire all of us to respond with compassion when inequalities are brought to light. And allow us to stand up for change, because we can do better than this,” Carroll said.

ESPN reported that Bennett said he was considering filing a civil rights lawsuit. His letter said he has hired Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris.

The full letter can be read on Bennett’s Twitter page.

NFL moves Miami Dolphins’ game vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Nov. 19

The Dolphins-Buccaneers season opener won’t be an opener after all. The NFL decided Wednesday morning to move the game at Hard Rock Stadium to Nov. 19, the bye week for both teams, because of Hurricane Irma.

>> Read more trending news 

The decision was reached after the league, in consultation with officials from both teams and government agencies, had deliberated since Monday on the best course of action.

The Dolphins canceled practice Wednesday.

The Dolphins’ new season-opener will be at 4:05 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Bucs game originally was scheduled for Hard Rock Stadium at 1 p.m. Sunday, when Irma would be too close to South Florida for anyone to be outside. The league finally admitted as much Tuesday afternoon, when it issued a statement saying the game would not be played in South Florida this week.

“In the interest of public safety in light of the current state of emergency, the NFL, in consultation with state and local officials as well as both clubs, has decided that playing an NFL game in South Florida this week is not appropriate,” the league said in a statement.

Among the options considered were moving to a neutral site or playing it later in the season. Both teams had a bye Nov. 19, but this now means the Dolphins will play 16 consecutive weeks, something Dolphins players were reluctant to do.

But there were no options that would please everybody. Scheduling it upstate this weekend, perhaps Orlando or Jacksonville, was risky because Irma could affect those cities, too. Moving it out of state would mean taking the players away from their families when some may be experiencing a hurricane for the first time.

“I’m definitely concerned about the community in South Florida, really the whole state, especially with our State of Emergency,” defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said. “Luckily my family doesn’t like me, so they’re up in Portland, Ore., and Detroit and up north. They’re safe for the most part. Myself, we’ll figure something out.”

Quaterback Jay Cutler, who arrived a month ago from Nashville, said, “I’m in a different situation than most of these guys because my family’s not here. A lot of these guys have a lot on their plate, moving their families and your house and your cars.

“I’m one of the few lucky ones that I’ve got a car here and a bag full of clothes, and that’s kind of it. You’ve got a lot of guys in that locker room that are going through a lot of things in their head, and we’ve got to be mindful of that and kind of help them in any way possible.”

Moving the Bucs game out of Hard Rock would have meant only six true home games this season, since the game against New Orleans will be in London.

This is the second time in recent history that weather affected a Dolphins opener. In September 2004, the opener vs. Tennessee was shifted from Sunday to Saturday because of concerns about Hurricane Ivan.

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