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NFL owners approve new national anthem policy, will fine teams that allow players to kneel

Update 4:52 p.m. ET: U.S. vice president Mike Pence has responded to the NFL decision on Twitter, using the hashtag #winning.

Update 1:21 p.m. ET: The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) issued a statement on the new NFL policy:

“The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new “policy.” NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about.

“The vote by NFL club CEOs today contradicts the statements made to our player leadership by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Chairman of the NFL’s Management Council John Mara about the principals, values and patriotism of our League.

Our union will review the new “policy” and challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement.”

Original story: NFL owners approved a new policy Wednesday regarding players who wish to kneel during the national anthem, according to a statement by the National Football League

>> Read more trending news 

According to the NFL, individual teams will have the ability to fine players and other personnel who do not stand and, “show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”

The change will go into effect for the upcoming season, according to the Washington Post.

Players who choose not to stand during the national anthem may stay in the locker room or off-field while it is being played. 

The official statement from the National Football League states:

“The 32 member clubs of the National Football League have reaffirmed their strong commitment to work alongside our players to strengthen our communities and advance social justice. The unique platform that we have created is unprecedented in its scope, and will provide extraordinary resources in support of programs to promote positive social change in our communities. 

The membership also strongly believes that:

  1. All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
  2. The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the Anthem.
  3. Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed.
  4. A club will be fined by the League if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
  5. Each club may develop its own work rules, consistent with the above principles, regarding its personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
  6. The Commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”

In an official statement on the NFL website, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote:

“The policy adopted today was approved in concert with the NFL’s ongoing commitment to local communities and our country — one that is extraordinary in its scope, resources, and alignment with our players. We are dedicated to continuing our collaboration with players to advance the goals of justice and fairness in all corners of our society. 

The efforts by many of our players sparked awareness and action around issues of social justice that must be addressed. The platform that we have created together is certainly unique in professional sports and quite likely in American business. We are honored to work with our players to drive progress. 

It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. This is not and was never the case. 

This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem. Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room until after the Anthem has been performed.

We believe today’s decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it—and on our fans who enjoy it.”

Aaron Hernandez’s fiancee Shayanna Jenkins announces pregnancy

The late Aaron Hernandez's fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, announced Tuesday that she's expecting another child.

Jenkins took to Instagram to announce the pregnancy and didn't reveal who the father of the baby is.

>> Read more trending news 

"Many of you have had speculated that I may be expecting another miracle which is very accurate," Jenkins wrote in her Instagram post. "We are beyond excited about the new addition and chapter we will soon begin."

Jenkins revealed she'd be having another daughter, saying she "couldn’t be a luckier woman to have such a perfect little girl that’s prepared to become the best big sister, and even more blessed to welcome another baby girl to our home."

On Boston25News.com: 'He could've been saved,' Shayanna Jenkins tells Dr. Phil

The pregnancy comes just over a year after Hernandez's death, when he hanged himself in prison on April 19, 2017.

Hernandez's suicide note to Jenkins featured him calling her his "soul-mate" and saying she would be "rich" after his death.

Houston Texans star J.J. Watt visits Santa Fe High School shooting victims 

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt continues to make an impact in the wake of the mass shooting at a southeastern Texas high school, KTRK reported.

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Watt visited some of the victims injured in the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School on Monday and took photographs with them and their nurses at the hospital. He also visited several victims at their homes, KHOU reported.

A gunman opened fire Friday at the high school in Santa Fe, Texas, killing 10 and wounding 13.

Among the students Watt visited Monday was Chase Yarborough, who he visited at home; and Clay Horn, who remains in the hospital after suffering a gunshot wound.

Horn could undergo more surgery Tuesday, KTRK reported.

>> J.J. Watt offers to pay for funerals of Santa Fe victims

Last week, Watt offered to pay the funeral expenses for the people who were killed.

>> Exchange student, substitute teacher among those killed

Fans say Brandi Chastain's Hall of Fame plaque is a bust

American soccer legend Brandi Chastain is one of the most recognizable women athletes in the world. But sports fans were scratching their heads after viewing her plaque as she was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame on Monday night.

>> Read more trending news

In their minds, Chastain’s bust was, well, a bust.

Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle, who wrote inscription for the plaque, called the rendition “shameful” and tweeted that Chastain’s plaque makes Cristiano Ronaldo’s plaque “look perfect.”

“Brandi Chastain is one of the most beautiful athletes I’ve ever covered. How this became her plaque is a freaking embarrassment,” she tweeted.

Chastain was inducted during a ceremony at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. She has won two Olympic gold medals and two World Cup titles with the United States women’s soccer team.

Chastain was diplomatic about the plaque, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

“It’s not the most flattering,” Chastain said. “But it’s nice.”

On a lighter note, social media posters were having a field day. Some compared Chastain’s likeness to Gary Busey, Rex Ryan, Jimmy Johnson, Jerry Glanville, Peter King, Jerry Lewis, John Goodman, Bill Belichick and even Mickey Rooney. Others were comparing it to a hideous rendition of another soccer legend, Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Cristiano Ronaldo sculptor: Eh, this isn’t too bad. Brandi Chastain sculptor: Hold my chisel,” The Washington Post tweeted.

“I don’t know about Brandi Chastain, but they nailed Mickey Rooney,” Jason Davis tweeted.

There are no plans to redo the plaque, Andy Savick, the vice president of finance and administration for BASHOF told the Mercury News. He told the newspaper that images on the plaques are “representations” and not intended to be photographic likenesses. 

Chastain’s bust was on a more favorable view at the 1999 World Cup. She scored the game-winning penalty kick and celebrated by sinking to her knees, ripping off her jersey to reveal her sports bra while clenching her fists. The photograph of that moment has become an iconic moment of celebration in sports history.

There are no plans to redo the plaque, Andy Savick, the vice president of finance and administration for BASHOF told the Mercury News. He told the newspaper that images on the plaques are “representations” and not intended to be photographic likenesses. 

Chastain’s bust was on a more favorable view at the 1999 World Cup. She scored the game-winning penalty kick and celebrated by sinking to her knees, ripping off her jersey to reveal her sports bra while clenching her fists. The photograph of that moment has become an iconic moment of celebration in sports history.

Here are some other infamous renditions of athletes. How does the Chastain plaque measure up?

Sports gambling: NFL commissioner calls for congressional action

A week after the Supreme Court struck down a federal law prohibiting wagering on sports, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued “four core principles” the league would like to see addressed by Congress. 

>> Read more trending news

Goodell outlined the principles in a statement Monday:

  1. There must be substantial consumer protections; 
  2. Sports leagues can protect our content and intellectual property from those who attempt to steal or misuse it; 
  3. Fans will have access to official, reliable league data;
  4. Law enforcement will have the resources, monitoring and enforcement tools necessary to protect our fans and penalize bad actors here at home and abroad.

Additionally, Goodell said the league has “spent considerable time planning for the potential of broadly legalized sports gambling” and is prepared to address changes “in a thoughtful and comprehensive way.”

>> Supreme Court strikes down federal law prohibiting sports gambling

Whether or not lawmakers take these thoughts into advisement remains to be seen, though the first and last seem like common sense suggestions while two and three are more the responsibility of the league. 

The Supreme Court ruled by a 6-3 vote last week that, in 1992, Congress lacked the authority to pass the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The New York Post reported. The act banned states that did not already allow legal sports betting from sanctioning it.

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

NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell released from hospital

Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell confirmed on Twitter he was released after an overnight stay in the hospital for dehydration.

>> Read more trending news

According to TMZ, the 84-year-old Boston Celtics great was taken by ambulance from his Seattle-area home to a nearby hospital Friday night. 

Russell tweeted Saturday that he was doing all right, writing that “Yes, I was taken to the hospital last night and as my wife likes to remind me I don’t drink enough.”

Russell also dismissed earlier reports by TMZ about being admitted to the hospital because of heart problems, tweeting “As most of my friends know, I don’t have a heart to give me trouble.”

Russell later posted a tweet that included a photo of him holding a glass of water

The Celtics legend was also hospitalized in 2014 after collapsing at a speaking engagement.

Russell made it home in time Saturday to watch the Celtics lose 116-86 to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics lead the series 2-1.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens told ESPN that he was relieved to hear that Russell was all right.

"Yeah, that was obviously scary news, and happy to hear that he's doing better and he's been released from the hospital,'' Stevens said in Cleveland before Game 3. "He's the ultimate basketball winner. The way he impacted winning, the unselfishness of a teammate, what he stood for off the floor -- everything about him.” 

Russell won 11 titles with the Celtics and was named the NBA’s most valuable player five times. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975.

Photos: 2018 Preakness Stakes

Former Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel signs with CFL team

Johnny Manziel is taking his football career north of the border.

>> Read more trending news 

The former Texas A&M star quarterback who had two disappointing seasons with the Cleveland Browns marred by off-the-field antics has signed a two-year-deal with the Canadian Football League.

Manziel will play for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the league announced Saturday. Manziel confirmed his decision on Twitter. "I believe this is the best opportunity for me moving forward and I’m eager for what the future holds," Manziel wrote.

Manziel last played professional football in 2015. He has a 74.4 career quarterback rating in the NFL.

Manziel has been working on a comeback since being released by the Browns in 2016. Known for his excessive partying off the field, Manziel says he is now sober and has been receiving treatment for bipolar disorder. 

Ohio golfer, 93, scores hole-in-one in final round of career

It was a great way to cap off a long golf career.

>> Read more trending news

Ben Bender, 93, who has been playing golf for 65 years, played his final round at Green Valley in Zanesville, Ohio, last month. He went out in style, scoring his first hole-in-one, the Times Recorder of Zanesville reported.

Plagued by hip bursitis that caused him to cut his round short, Bender used a 5-wood to score an ace at the third hole at Green Valley.

"I'd come close to some hole-in-ones, but this one was level on the green before it curved towards the hole and went in," Bender told the Times Recorder. "I was in awe watching it. I played a few more holes, but my hips were hurting and I had to stop. It seemed the Lord knew this was my last round so he gave me a hole-in-one."

Green Valley manager Steve Galloway said that Bender got off to a rocky start, shooting at least a 7 on the other five holes he played.

"(Ben) shot 8 on 1 and 7 on 2 so you guessed it, a hole-in-one on 3," he said. "What an amazing feat by Ben (in his final round)."

Bender, a former 3-handicapper who has played since he was 28, played six days per week when he lived in Florida.

When he retired, Bender moved back to Zanesville and regularly played Green Valley, the Times Recorder reported.

"I was lucky to play golf this long, but I never expected (a hole-in-one)," Bender told the newspaper. "It was the last time I was able to play, and I think God had a hand in this. I loved the game and hate to give it up, but I can't play forever.”

Texans defensive end J.J. Watt offers to pay for funerals of Santa Fe victims

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has offered to pay for the funerals of all the victims in Friday morning’s mass shooting at Santa Fe High School, KRIV reported.

>> Read more trending news

“Absolutely horrific,” Watts tweeted Friday in response to the shooting, which left 10 people dead and 10 others injured at the high school located southeast of Houston. 

The Texans confirmed Friday night that Watt will pay for the funerals, KTRK reported.

Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, a student at the school, was arrested and charged with capital murder and aggravated assault of a peace officer in the shooting in which 10 people were killed and 10 others were injured. 

>> Santa Fe High School shooting: 10 dead, 10 injured

Watt has been honored for his philanthropic efforts. He was named the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year in 2017, along with Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, for his work in helping Houston recover after Hurricane Harvey. Watt helped raise $37 million through the Houston Flood Relief Fund.

Watt was also given the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award during Super Bowl LII weekend.

On Facebook, Chris Allen of Crowder Funeral Home wrote that Mount Olivet Cemetery was offering free plots for the victims, KHOU reported.

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