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Drew Brees faces backlash from teammates, others in NFL and around sports for anthem protest comments

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It’s not often that an NFL receiver will publicly call out his quarterback for something, but that’s exactly what Michael Thomas did to Drew Brees on Wednesday. The Saints receiver clearly wasn’t happy after seeing an interview that Brees did with Yahoo Finance. During the interview, the Saints quarterback was asked what his thoughts were on the subject of players potentially kneeling again during the national anthem for the 2020 season. 

Brees then made it very clear that he’s against that form of protest because he views it as disrespectful to the American flag. 

“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” Brees said. “Let me just tell you what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played, and when I look at the flag of the United States. I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corp. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place.”

Brees also added that standing with your hand over your heart is an equally good way of showing unity. 

“Every time I stand with my hand over my heart, looking at that flag, and singing the national anthem, that’s what I think about, and in many cases, it brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed,” Brees said. “Not just those in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the ’60s, and everyone, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point. And is everything right with our country right now? No, it’s not. We still have a long way to go, but I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better and that we are all part of the solution.”

Since making the comments, Brees has faced some major backlash, including some that came from two of his own teammates: Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.  

Sanders just signed with the team back in March after reaching the Super Bowl with the 49ers last season. 

As for Thomas, although he called Brees out, he also gave his quarterback the benefit of the doubt. 

Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins posted a very emotional video on Instagram in response to Brees’ comments and said that if he didn’t understand what was wrong with what he said, then he is “part of the problem.”

LeBron James was one of many athletes who were surprised by Brees’ comments. 

Back in the NFL, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers posted a photo of himself linking arms with his teammates, saying, “A few years ago we were criticized for locking arms in solidarity before the game. It has NEVER been about an anthem or a flag. Not then. Not now. Listen with an open heart, let’s educate ourselves, and then turn word and thought into action.”

Richard Sherman, like Jenkins, added that Brees’ comments are “part of the problem.”

Tyrann Mathieu, Damon “Snacks” Harrison, Jamal Adams and Hall of Famer Ed Reed, who grew up just outside of New Orleans, weighed also weighed in. (NSFW language in Reed’s video) 

A few hours after making his comments, Brees attempted to clarify his remarks.

“I love and respect my teammates and I stand right there with them in regards to fighting for racial equality and justice,” Brees said, via ESPN.com. “I also stand with my grandfathers who risked their lives for this country and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis.”

Brees was asked about the possibility of players kneeling because there’s a chance that some NFL players could end up making the decision to kneel during the national anthem this season as a way to protest racial injustice and police brutality against minorities.

Colin Kaepernick started the protest in 2016 and his actions have been lauded by some NFL coaches and players around the league following the death of George Floyd in May. The African-American man was killed in Minnesota last week after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. 



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Twins Relieved Buxton’s Left Foot Injury Just a Sprain | Sports News

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton has a sprained left foot but no structural damage, further testing revealed Tuesday following his injury in an intrasquad game.

The Twins said Buxton’s status would be evaluated on a day-to-day basis. While tracking a fly ball at Target Field on Monday night, Buxton lost his balance in the outfield grass. Medical staff immediately tended to him, and he was taken off on a cart. Despite the discomfort he experienced, the diagnosis was a relief for Buxton and the Twins.

Buxton’s promising career has been curtailed by a long list of injuries. Last September, the second overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft had surgery to repair a damaged labrum in his left shoulder. Only once in five years has Buxton played more than 92 games for the Twins.

Minnesota is scheduled to open the season July 24 in Chicago against the White Sox.

More AP MLB coverage: https://apnews.com/MLB

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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The Latest: SEC Postpones Start of Three Fall Sports | Sports News

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The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

The Southeastern Conference is postponing the start of volleyball, soccer and cross country competition through at least the end of August because of COVID-19.

The league says that provides more time to prepare for a safe return to competition on an adjusted timeline. The decision includes all exhibition and non-conference games.

Each school will be responsible for any rescheduling of non-conference contests impacted by the postponement.

The league hasn’t made any announcement on the football season. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have opted to only play conference games.

The SEC’s 14 athletic directors convened Monday at league headquarters in Alabama to discuss fall sports.

The New England Patriots have joined a growing list of NFL teams who hope to play home games this season in front of a significantly reduced number of fans to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The team announced Tuesday that it plans to play in front of about 20% of Gillette Stadium’s capacity, if approved by state and local officials. The stadium’s capacity is just under 66,000.

The Patriots also informed season ticket holders that if fans are allowed at the stadium, they will be asked to adhere to physical distancing of at least six feet. Tickets will be arranged in blocks of 10 seats or fewer, with the first eight rows of the stadium not in use. Face coverings will also be required at all times, parking for home games will be free at all Gillette Stadium lots, and all tickets will be mobile.

Patriots season ticket holders will have the first opportunity to purchase individual game tickets. Any remaining ticket inventory will go on sale to the general public.

The U.S. Tennis Association has canceled several amateur events scheduled in August because of the coronavirus pandemic but is still planning to hold the U.S. Open starting Aug. 31.

USTA National Championships in certain junior age groups for singles and doubles are being scrapped.

That includes boys’ 18s in Orlando and girls’ 18s in San Diego in singles; boys’ 16s in Rome, Georgia, and girls’ 16s in Mobile, Alabama, in singles; and boys’ and girls’ 12s through 18s doubles in Orlando.

Men’s and women’s USTA National Grass Court Championships in Newport, Rhode Island, are also among the tournaments eliminated.

The USTA says “there was an inherent risk associated with hosting large numbers of individuals at one site, at one time, and would make risk mitigation difficult.”

The group says the sort of COVID-19 testing and universal housing planned for the U.S. Open “would logistically and financially be incredibly difficult to create” at these national events.

All sanctioned tennis has been suspended since March because of the pandemic. Competition is scheduled to resume in August.

The Swiss Indoors tennis tournament has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers say it would be “irresponsible and logistically difficult to go ahead” amid uncertainty about public health and the economy.

Tournament head Roger Brennwald says “social distancing or matches played behind closed doors were out of the question for us from the start.”

Roger Federer is a 10-time champion at the tournament in his hometown of Basel but he was set to miss the 50th edition of the event. He is skipping the rest of the 2020 season to let his right knee recover from two surgeries.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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Council approves changes in senior center building | News, Sports, Jobs

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ISHPEMING — A fire suppression system will be included in the Ishpeming Senior Center facility currently under construction on Greenwood Street.

After some discussion on Wednesday, the council unanimously approved the $48,000 project to install a wet pipe fire sprinkler system in the structure. The unbudgeted cost will be funded, in part, with a $26,000 annual net asset distribution from the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority. The remaining $22,000 would be funded with $21,000 in previously budgeted site-plan-review funds and up to $1,000 from the city’s general fund balance.

The initial classification on the building permit for the structure did not require the fire suppression system to be installed, Ishpeming City Manager Craig Cugini said, which accounts for the unplanned but necessary expense.

“There is no requirement by permit, they could actually occupy that building without a fire suppression system,” Cugini said. “(But) the city owns the facility… and I personally would have concerns that a senior center that the city owns would not have a fire suppression system.”

Mayor Mike Tonkin said he understood the need for the system, but questioned the need for city dollars to fund it.

“I remember going into this, the city was not going to invest city money in the project,” Tonkin said. “We had to make major cutbacks to make this happen. So hopefully the senior people realize, that as the people who started this, that they were going to be responsible for … anything else that pops up.”

Tonkin also expressed concern about adding an expense so early in the project.

“I don’t see a problem with this, but this project has just started, what else is coming down the road?” he said.

Cugini said the fire suppression system is the only added expense that has been found in preparation for the construction project.

“That’s (the fire suppression system is) the only thing that came out of the site plan review that seemed like a miss. I think so far we are on a positive track with the senior center, not a negative track,” Cugini said. “I have seen very quickly things can turn negative on a project. They were planning to connect to the sewer system, which we thought ended in the road. But we found out it was not in the road right of way, which means we do not have to dig into the road and repave the road.”

The city plans to apply for a Risk Avoidance Program grant from MMRMA to offset the cost of the fire suppression system installation, according to agenda supplements provided by city staff.

The construction project will be funded by a $1.9 million Community Development Block Grant administrated by the Michigan Strategic Fund and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which was awarded to the city in May.

The 10% match will be provided by the Ishpeming Area Commission on the Aging. The city will own the new structure and lease it to the organization for $1 per year.

The project cost includes demolishing the former senior center facility at 320 S. Pine St., which was condemned in September. The senior center has been leasing space in the Phelps Square on Third Street since moving from the old facility.

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