Lynch, Bennett sit for the anthem, Fournette says NFL is ‘real easy’

Marshawn Lynch, Michael Bennett won’t stand for anthem

With or without Colin Kaepernick, this football season will not be lacking in social protest. Two NFL stars, Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks and Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders, refused to stand for the national anthem in preseason games last week. Lynch sat, much to the consternation of his coach, Jack Del Rio, who said after the game: “Marshawn said, ‘This is something I’ve done for 11 years, me being me.” Some journalists understood that to mean he’s been sitting during the anthem all this time, but that was not what he said or meant. Searches of archives did show occasions when Lynch was not standing while the anthem was playing. Somehow that was not noticed by reporters at the time. As usual, Beastmode had nothing to say after his most recent sitdown. Del Rio said, “I very strongly believe in standing for the national anthem.” But he said he respected the player’s right to believe otherwise. Bennett said he was protesting the violence Saturday at Charlottesville, Va. “I love the military,” Bennett said. “My father’s in the military. . . . But I don’t like segregation. I don’t like riots and oppression. I just want to see people have the equality they deserve. And I want to be able to use this platform to continuously push the message of that.”

Dear protestors: Right or wrong about the flag, you do your country a service by making people question the value of political correctness.


Rookie running back Leonard Fournette finds NFL ‘is real easy’

Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette, the No 4 overall draft pick out of LSU, does not sound awed by the NFL. In the preseason opener, a 31-24 victory over Super Bowl champion New England, Fournette rushed nine times for 31 yards that did not seem especially hard earned. He said, ”It’s a lot slower than I really thought. Me playing in the SEC helped a lot. I think to me it was really easy.” Since then, however, he himself has been slowed by a foot injury, and he will miss Thursday night’s preseason game against Tampa Bay.

Dear Leonard: Many a rookie has lived to regret popping off about how easy it is to play in the league. Don’t forget: it’s preseason. It will get tougher.


Florida suspends 7 football players for opener against Michigan

Seven Florida Gators, including leading receiver Antonio Callaway, are suspended for the Sept. 2 season opener against Michigan because of violating team rules. Also out: defensive linemen Keivonnis Davis, Richard Desir-Jones and Jordan Smith, offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort and linebackers Ventrell Miller and James Houston. Of the disciplined players, the 5-11, 200-pound junior Callaway is the only starter. Davis, a pass rusher, is the only other one who was likely to see significant action. Callaway has had previous incidents, the most serious being that he was suspended from team activities in the spring of 2016 when a woman accused him of sexual assault. Callaway was found not responsible at a hearing last August and returned to the team. He caught 54 passes for 721 yards last season.

Between the Lines: No details about the rules violations were disclosed. But given the NFL’s increasingly strong stance against domestic violence, Callaway’s pro future is in doubt.


Tiger was overloaded with prescription drugs when he was arrested for DUI

When the former golfing superstar Tiger Woods was arrested for driving under the influence, in Palm Beach, Fla., in May, he insisted he had not been drinking. The toxicology report, released this week, confirmed he was telling the truth. But he was severely impaired by a megadose of powerful prescription drugs — Vicodin, Xanax and Ambien – to counter pain and insomnia resulting from back surgery. Also in his bloodstream was THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, which is legal in Florida for medicinal purposes. Earlier this month, Woods entered a diversion program that could result in the drunk-driving charge being dismissed.


Slick bases led to Harper’s bruised knee

Bryce Harper, All-Star outfielder of the Washington Nationals, suffered a severe bone bruise in his left knee when he slipped on a rain-slicked first base. The injury, which is expected to keep Harper out of action for several weeks, prompted his agent, Steve Boras, to plead with Major League Baseball to use bases that are not so slick. “We go to great lengths with the soil to make sure it’s not wet and there are drying agents,” Boras said, “but I don’t know what studies we’ve done on the composition of a wet base.” Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter told the New York Post that the major league fields have bases “as hard as a rock” because they are replaced so frequently in order to be auctioned.

Dear MLB: You might consider switching to a looser, more absorbent canvas bag that has been traditional for baseball for a century and a half.


Rowley is first West Point graduate to play big-league baseball

Chris Rowley became the first West Point graduate to pitch in the major leagues when the Toronto Blue Jays started him Saturday against Pittsburgh. He gave up just one run over 5 1/3 innings to win his debut 7-2. The 27-year-old righthander graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2013. He missed the 2014 and 2015 seasons while on active duty. As he walked off the mound in Toronto, Rowley, who was born in Atlanta, received a standing ovation from a crowd that included his parents and sister.

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