Redskins Fire Jay Gruden As Coach After 0-5 Start

 

Jay Gruden was fired Monday as coach of the NFL’s Washington Redskins, ending his reign early in his sixth season after an 0-5 start, the club’s worst since 2001.

The winless Redskins lost their fifth straight game, matching Cincinnati for the worst start so far this season, with a 33-7 home defeat Sunday to unbeaten New England, the reigning Super Bowl champions.

“To make a decision like this was difficult, but it was necessary,” Redskins president Bruce Allen said. “Our 0-5 start is not just disappointing. We had much different expectations for the beginning of the season.”

Gruden, 52, is the younger brother of Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden. He was dismissed in a Monday meeting with team owner Dan Snyder and president Bruce Allen.

Gruden finished with a record of 35-49 and one drawn and only one playoff appearance, a first-round loss to Green Bay in the 2015 postseason.

The Redskins, looking at a third consecutive losing season after back-to-back 7-9 campaigns, named Bill Callahan, the assistant head coach and offensive line coach as interim head coach.

Callahan has coached for more than two decades in the NFL, starting as offensive line coach for the 1995 Philadelphia Eagles.

He served as an offensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders from 1998 to 2001 before taking over as head coach for two seasons when Jon Gruden left to coach Tampa Bay. Callahan was offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys from 2012 to early 2015 until he was hired away to join Jay Gruden at the Redskins.

Callahan’s first game as interim head coach will be next Sunday at winless Miami.

Under Gruden, the Redskins, who have had only five winning seasons this millenium, crept above .500 in 2015 and 2016, when Sean McVay, now coach of the Los Angeles Rams, served as Washington’s offensive coordinator.

This season, the Redskins began with Case Keenum as starting quarterback. Rookie Dwayne Haskins has struggled in limited action, throwing three interceptions in a relief role in a fourth-game loss to the New York Giants.

On Sunday, Gruden started Colt McCoy against New England but the attack continued to sputter.

Gruden also raised questions by benching veteran running back Adrian Peterson for the season opener.

Washington’s defensive unit is without tackle Trent Williams, the NFL’s only remaining contract holdout.

Trump Says NFL Anthem Protesters Shouldn’t Be Paid

US President Donald Trump.  Photo: JIM WATSON / AFP

 

United States President Donald Trump again goaded the NFL over its handling of controversial national anthem protests on Friday, a day after the league said it would hold off on enforcing a new policy.

“The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again – can’t believe it!,” Trump tweeted.

“Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!,” he wrote.

Protests in which players kneeled during the anthem — first launched by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 to highlight racial and social injustices — put America’s most popular sport at the centre of a political firestorm last year.

This came after Trump described players who took part as “sons of bitches” who were insulting the flag, the US military and the nation.

The remarks prompted a wave of kneeling protests across the league last September, angering some fans and placing several conservative, Trump-supporting team owners in an awkward position as NFL television ratings dropped.

In a bid to steer away from controversy in the upcoming season, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced in May that owners had agreed on a new policy requiring all players and team and league personnel on the sidelines to “stand and show respect for the flag and anthem” although it gave players the option of staying in the locker room instead.

Contrary to Trump’s tweet, there is nothing in the NFL collective bargaining agreement requiring players to stand. The league planned to fine teams if players violated the new policy, and teams could decide whether to penalise players.

The NFL Players’ Association filed a grievance, arguing the new rule was “inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights”.

The league and union agreed to confidential talks to try to resolve the issue, and issued a joint statement on Thursday night announcing a “standstill agreement” on the matter.

“No new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing,” the league and union said.

That announcement came hours after a leaked report of the Miami Dolphins conduct policy for the upcoming season said anthem protests were listed as “conduct detrimental to the club” punishable by fines or suspensions.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross insisted on Friday that the team had no plan in place to suspend players who protested during the anthem.

Ross said that the “one line sentence” on the anthem policy “was a placeholder” because the NFL required the team’s disciplinary policy at the start of training camp.

He said the Dolphins “haven’t made a decision on what we would do if anything” if players on the sidelines declined to stand for the anthem.

‘No understanding’ of issue

New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch told The Hollywood Reporter this week that the team wouldn’t penalise players who demonstrated.

He also criticised Trump’s comments on the issue.

“He has no understanding of why they take a knee or why they’re protesting,” Tisch said. “When the new season starts, I hope his priorities are not criticising the NFL and telling owners what to do and what not to do.”

But Trump’s latest tweet piles more pressure on the league and union to come up with a coherent policy acceptable to both.

The Dolphins were just one of the teams to open rookie training camp this week, and all 32 teams will have opened their full training camps by Friday, July 27.

The pre-season kicks off on August 2 with the Hall of Fame Game between the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears and the regular season begins on Thursday, September 6 when the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles take on the Atlanta Falcons.

AFP

On Vacation, Trump Again Feuds With NFL And The Big Baller

US President Donald Trump pardons the turkey, Drumstick, as his son Barron (R) looks on during the turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House in Washington, DC on November 21, 2017. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP

President Donald Trump enjoys playing golf — but his favorite contact sport is Twitter.

And though Trump is an avowed sports fan, athletes are among his preferred opponents on his now 280-character bullhorn.

Since entering the White House, Trump has tangled with American football players and basketball superstars in a series of recurring feuds.

“Great disrespect!” he barked at the NFL’s Marshawn Lynch, who protested during the US national anthem at a game in Mexico.

As for LaVar Ball, the Los Angeles entrepreneur with three basketball prodigy sons who calls himself the “Big Baller” — and whose middle child LiAngelo was arrested in China for shoplifting — Trump labeled him an “Ungrateful fool!”

Some critics have criticized Trump’s repeated attacks for alleged racial overtones; others say it’s just part of his no-holds-barred style — and totally in character for the outspoken former television reality star.

– ‘Disrespectful’ protests or free speech? –
Trump, whose own efforts to buy a National Football League team were rebuffed three years ago, has urged NFL owners to fire any “son of a bitch” who stages a protest during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the protests by kneeling during the anthem last year to draw attention to police brutality and racial injustice.

Trump insists that the protests are “disrespectful” to the anthem, flag and country, and his call for a boycott of the league has drawn some support.

In September, the president again courted controversy, this time with the National Basketball Association (NBA) — popular not only in the US but worldwide.

He withdrew a White House invitation for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors after star guard Stephen Curry, a critic of Trump’s policies, said he was reluctant to make the traditional visit.

And now, Trump’s latest sports foil? Ball.

Trump has blasted the outspoken father for not adequately thanking him for helping get LiAngelo returned to the United States from China, where he was arrested along with two UCLA teammates for shoplifting designer sunglasses.

“It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence – IT WAS ME,” Trump tweeted Wednesday from his Thanksgiving vacation in Florida.

– ‘Ungrateful fool!’ –

“LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair,” Trump added in a reference to the flamboyant, electric-haired boxing promoter.

“Just think LaVar, you could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you,” Trump continued.

“But remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It’s a really big deal, especially in China,” Trump said, before calling the Ball patriarch an “Ungrateful fool!” in a parting shot.

After a brief lull, Trump also returned this week to his war of words with the NFL over protesting players.

Lynch “stands for the Mexican Anthem and sits down to boos for our National Anthem,” Trump tweeted on Monday.

“Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down,” he tweeted.

Trump also went after the NFL again on Wednesday following a report the league may keep teams in the locker room next season during the playing of the national anthem.

“That’s almost as bad as kneeling!” he tweeted. “When will the highly paid Commissioner finally get tough and smart? This issue is killing your league!”

Most of the NFL players who have taken part in the protests are African-American, and Trump’s repeated attacks against them have drawn sharp fire.

“Donald Trump’s favorite sport is attacking black athletes on Twitter,” Tommy Vietor, a former National Security Council spokesman for President Barack Obama, tweeted on Wednesday.

After the Warriors were disinvited to the White House, NBA superstar LeBron James took to Twitter to call Trump a “bum.”

“@StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going! So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to the White House was a great honor until you showed up!” James tweeted.

James, who campaigned for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, went on to accuse Trump of using sports to divide Americans.

“For him to try to use this platform to try to divide us even more is not something I can stand for and is not something I can be quiet about,” the Cleveland Cavaliers star added.

Jemele Hill, a host on the ESPN sports channel, went so far as to brand Trump a “white supremacist,” prompting the White House to call for her firing and Trump to attack her personally.

James may be Trump’s most prominent critic in the NBA but he is far from the only one.

Two NBA coaches — Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs and Steve Kerr of the Warriors — have been biting in their criticism of Trump but have yet to be the target of his Twitter ire.

Popovich blasted Trump last month as a “soulless coward” who was “unfit intellectually, emotionally and psychologically” to be in the White House.

Facebook To Show NFL Game Recaps Worldwide

facebook
File Photo

Facebook and the National Football League announced plans Tuesday to offer video highlights of NFL games to worldwide users of the leading social network.

“NFL Game Recaps” and highlights from all 256 regular season games as well as the playoffs and Super Bowl will be available to users globally on Facebook, according to a joint statement.

The statement added that NFL Media, the league’s operated media division, will offer content from NFL Films on Facebook’s Watch platform.

The deal is the latest to bring sports content to internet platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Amazon.

“We have millions of fans on Facebook, and they continue to demonstrate an incredible appetite for NFL content,” said Hans Schroeder, chief operating officer of NFL Media.

“We’re excited to bring a compelling set of highlights and shows from the NFL and our clubs to our fans on Facebook.”

Dan Reed, Facebook’s head of global sports partnerships, said the deal “will deliver comprehensive coverage while enabling the active NFL fan communities on Facebook to watch and debate the top storylines from each week.”

The NFL earlier this year awarded streaming rights for Thursday night games to Amazon, after a similar deal with Twitter last year. Verizon, meanwhile, won streaming rights for the September 24 NFL game played in London.

AFP

Trump Urges Fans To Boycott Football League Over Anthem Protests

Mike Theiler / AFP

US President Donald Trump on Sunday urged fans to boycott National Football League (NFL) games to pressure the league to fire or suspend players who show disrespect for “Flag and Country.”

Trump’s latest Twitter salvo was the latest blow in an escalating war of words with some of professional sports’ biggest stars over his condemnation of NFL players protesting the national anthem.

“If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag and Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!” he said.

“NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.,” he said.

The row began on Friday at a Republican rally in Alabama when Trump attacked activist National Football League players — mostly African Americans — as “sons of bitches” for kneeling or sitting during renditions of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

On the same day, basketball star Stephen Curry, the top player for California’s Golden State Warriors, said he would not attend a traditional White House reception honoring the winning basketball team.

Several hours later, Trump hit back with an early-morning Twitter salvo.

 

– ‘You bum’ –

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

Trump’s outburst drew a stinging response from across the NBA, with Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James among the first to weigh in.

“U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going!” James wrote on Twitter. “So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up.”

The protests began last year when quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers refused to stand for the anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality.

Several more players have since joined in, nearly all of them black.

Kaepernick, who was unable to land a job with a team this season, has attracted support from his peers but also some backlash.

The 29-year-old said he started his protests because he wanted to spark a nationwide debate on racial injustice and police brutality.

AFP

Families Of Shooting Victims To Continue Lawsuit Against Aaron Hernandez

Ex-NFL Star Aaron Hernandez Commits Suicide In Jial
Courtesy: Reuters

The families of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado will proceed with their civil lawsuits against the estate of Aaron Hernandez, despite the former NFL player’s death.

Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell on Wednesday in an apparent suicide, five days after, a jury acquitted him of killing the two men outside a Boston nightclub in 2012.

The 27-year old was a rising star in the National Football League when he was arrested in June 2013 and accused of murdering an acquaintance near his Massachusetts home.

He was convicted of that killing and sentenced to life in prison in 2015, however on Friday, he was acquitted of a separate 2012 double murder.

Dalung To Meet NFF Over CAF Elections

Dalung To Meet NFF Over CAF ElectionsThe Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, has called for an emergency meeting with the executive board members of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), on Tuesday in Abuja.

This follows the controversy surrounding the elections into the Confederation of African Football (CAF), scheduled to hold on March 16, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The minister will state Nigeria’s position in the choice of candidate between incumbent CAF President, Issa Hayatou and his challenger, Ahmad Ahmad from Madagascar.

Meanwhile, the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, is also competing for a post in the CAF Executive Committee from the West B Zone.

Real Madrid, World’s Most Valuable Sports Team – Forbes

Real MadridSpanish La Liga giant, Real Madrid, has topped an annual Forbes list of the World’s Most valuable sports teams.

According to Forbes, the UEFA Champions League winner is worth an estimated $3.44bn (£2bn).

The top three slots are occupied by football clubs, with Real Madrid’s La Liga rival, Barcelona in second place at $3.2bn, and English Premier League side, Manchester United third, with a value of $2.81bn.

Major League Baseball team, the New York Yankees are in fourth spot, valued at $2.5bn while NFL American Football side, the Dallas Cowboys, worth $2.3bn.

MLB side, the New York Mets are one of three teams that dropped off this year’s list of the top 50 with NFL side Oakland Raiders and Formula One team, McLaren, the other two familiar names that dropped from the list

Forbes calculated the value of the teams based on equity, debt and stadium deals and the average value of the top 50 teams which is $1.34bn, an 8% increase on last year.

NFL teams makes up 60% of the top 50 slots, occupying 30 places.

The 20 non-NFL teams in the top 50 include six from MLB, eight from football, four from the NBA, one from the National Hockey League (ice hockey league) and one from Formula 1.

 

Court Has Declared NFL Illegal – Nduka Irabor

The chairman of the League Management Committee (LMC), Mr. Nduka Irabor has said that the Nigerian Football League (NFL) is an illegal entity and that his organisation was set up to run the league effectively.

Mr. Nduka, while speaking about the issues on the LMC registration on Channels Television’s breakfast show Sunrise Daily, revealed that a declaration initially made by the Abuja High Court confirmed the falsity of the NFL.

According to him, the Nigerian Football federation (NFF) has decided to invite experts to reform the league as well as the finance or funding and the sponsorship support.

The call for experts is to help address the domestic drift that has crippled the league relentlessly.

He added that the committee has also given the league a legal platform by incorporating a company to manage the league and that by the constitution the law empowers the NFA to run football.

He also highlighted the terms of references which include developing new standards and contracts for players.