Colin Kaepernick and the N.F.L. Settle Collusion Case

The N.F.L. and Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who ignited a protest movement against racism and police brutality by kneeling on the sideline during the playing of the national anthem at games, have settled a case that accused the league of colluding to keep him off a team.

The league also settled a similar claim lodged by another player, Eric Reid, who knelt alongside Kaepernick and went unsigned for a period before playing last season for the Carolina Panthers. The statement by the N.F.L. said that “the parties have decided to resolve the pending grievances” and that “there will be no further comment” because the players and the league reached a confidentiality agreement.

The terms of the settlements were not disclosed. Kaepernick’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, issued a similar statement.

Kaepernick has not played in the N.F.L. since the 2016 season. He filed his grievance under the league’s collective bargaining agreement in October 2017, and his lawyers have been busy gathering evidence and testimony from N.F.L. owners.

Kaepernick began his protests in August 2016 after several African-American men were shot by police officers.

A number of players across the N.F.L. joined him in kneeling during the anthem, generating a debate over race and player activism, drawing angry tweets from President Trump and flummoxing the league over how to respond.

This movement, however, seemed to lose momentum, and few players knelt during this past season. Kaepernick has said little, reserving most of his comments to his social media accounts. During the Super Bowl, he posted on his Instagram account pictures of athletes and celebrities wearing jerseys supporting his cause.

Legal experts said that Kaepernick could have faced an uphill battle to prove collusion. According to the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the union, the N.F.L. Players Association, the burden is on the player to prove that owners actively conspired against him.

“That is often difficult to do because parties typically don’t leave a written record of their illegal maneuvering,” said William Gould, who was chairman of the National Labor Relations Board and oversaw the Major League Baseball strike in 1994.

But Kaepernick received a favorable ruling in August when the arbitrator overseeing the case, Stephen B. Burbank, said that the case could proceed.

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ST Podcast: Time's up for Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri; impact of young football coaches in Singapore

A Game Of Two Halves (Season 2): Chelsea’s boss Maurizio Sarri under fire and the impact of young football coaches in Singapore

Time: 15:16

Synopsis: A Game of Two Halves is The Straits Times’ weekly sports podcast.

In this episode, David Lee and Sazali Abdul Aziz discuss if Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is on his way out of Stamford Bridge after that 6-0 hammering by Manchester City last weekend.

Is City’s Sergio Aguero the best English Premier League striker ever after chalking up his 11th English Premier League hat-trick in that same game to tie Alan Shearer’s all-time record?

In local football, what impact will Balestier Khalsa’s appointment of the youngest-ever Singapore Premier League head coach in Khidhir Khamis have on the local football ecosytem? Starting their own sports academies: Is this a viable career path for local sportsmen after their days as athletes are over?

Produced by: David Lee and Ernest Luis

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Isner takes down Aussie Jordan Thompson in NY

John Isner has ended the run of Australia's Jordan Thompson at the New York Open, taking out their quarter-final clash in straight sets.

A day after eliminating Aussie Bernard Tomic in the round of 16, the big-serving American proved too strong, winning 6-4 6-1 in one hour and three minutes.

The top seed and world No.9 took the first set in 33 minutes after breaking in the 10th game.

Jordan Thompson has lost his quarter final match in the New York Open.Credit:AP

Thompson, the No.7 seed and world No.60, was then broken in his opening two service games of the second set to trail 4-0 and never recovered.

Isner slammed down 16 aces and won 45 of 49 first serves and will face compatriot Reilly Opelka in the next round after Opelka reached his first tour- level semi-final in nearly three years by beating Spaniard Guillermo Garcia- Lopez 6-3 6-4.

The 186cm  Opelka beat Isner earlier this year at the Australian Open in four sets – all in tie-breakers – but Isner beat Opelka the last time they met in a semi-final, at the 2016 Atlanta Open.

The other semi will feature No.6 seed Sam Querrey, a finalist last year in the tournament's debut on Long Island, against Canadian Brayden Schnur.

Querrey hit 23 aces and didn't face a break point in beating Jason Jung of Taiwan 6-3 3-6 6-3, while Schnur outlasted Italian Paolo Lorenzi 6-7 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) 7-5.


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Athanasiou, Howard lead Detroit Red Wings past Ottawa Senators 3-2

Andreas Athanasiou scored twice, including a penalty shot, and Jimmy Howard made 40 saves in his 500th game to lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.

Frans Nielsen scored to break a 2-2 tie late in the second period.

Brady Tkachuk and Matt Duchene scored for Ottawa, and Anders Nilsson stopped 26 shots.

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Nielsen got the winner with 3:00 left in the second period. He got his ninth goal, from the bottom of the left circle, by converting a pass from Darren Helm after a turnover by Senators defenceman Dylan DeMelo.

Duchene tied it at 2 with 6:21 left in the second. He skated around Detroit defenceman Jonathan Ericsson and beat Howard for his 26th goal.

The Red Wings led 2-1 after the first period.

Athanasiou scored his first goal with 9:16 left in the first. He cut in off left wing, skated across the crease and beat Nilsson with a backhand shot.

Tkachuk tied it with 3:36 remaining in the opening period when he put in a loose puck from in front. It was Tkachuk’s 13th goal.

Athanasiou restored Detroit’s lead when he scored on a penalty shot with 2:18 left in the first. Ottawa defenceman Christian Jaros impeded Athanasiou on a breakaway attempt. It was Athanasiou’s career-high 20th goal and third in two games.

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Report: WWE star Jimmy Uso arrested by Detroit police

World Wrestling Entertainment star Jimmy Uso was arrested during a traffic stop this week in Detroit, according to a report.

TMZ Sports first reported that wrestler Jonathan Fatu, who performs in the WWE as Jimmy Uso in a tag-team with his brother, was pulled over in the city and engaged in a dispute with law enforcement.

According to TMZ, Fatu was in a car with his wife, who also performs in the WWE under the moniker Naomi. The pair allegedly was going the wrong direction on a one-way street. 

After police pulled the car over, TMZ Sports reported that Fatu "took off his shirt and jacket and squared up like he wanted to fight." 

In a statement shared with the Free Press on Friday morning, WWE said: “Jonathan Fatu is responsible for his own personal actions.”

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Auston Matthews scores twice, Maple Leafs beat Vegas Golden Knights 6-3

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews registered his 100th career NHL point in Las Vegas. The third-year sensation notched another milestone Thursday night on the famed Las Vegas Strip.

Matthews scored two goals, including the 100th of his career, to lead the Maple Leafs to a 6-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. “I like playing here,” said Matthews, whose 100th point came on Dec. 31, 2017.

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“The two times we’ve been here, the atmosphere is unbelievable, the fans are into it. When you’re the opposing team, it’s an easy game to get into, when the crowd and the atmosphere, the music and everything is like it is. It’s like a big party, so it’s fun to play in.”

The Maple Leafs, who improved to 36-18-3 this season and 19-7-2 on the road, are 15-7-0 against the Western Conference and 9-2-0 against Pacific Division opponents.

Morgan Rielly scored his fifth game-winner when his shot made its way through traffic to beat Marc-Andre Fleury and put Toronto ahead 4-3 at the midway point of the third period.

“Close game going into the third, they score a big goal — I thought we responded well,” said Rielly, who has a point in 10 of his last 17 games. “This is a pretty cool place to play, pretty cool building to play in, so we were excited to come in here.”

Andreas Johnsson, Patrick Marleau and Mitch Marner also scored for Toronto, while Frederik Andersen made 30 saves. Andersen, who is three games away from the 300th in his career, came up with huge saves in each period, including breakaway chances for Vegas in the first and third periods.

“Of course, you want to make stops when they come your way … that’s just important times where they could have gained some momentum, but I felt pretty good in there,” Anderson said. “We were able to score some big goals and answer their goals pretty well.”

Vegas has lost three in a row and a franchise-record five straight at T-Mobile Arena, including the first three of a four-game homestand. Since a 4-2 home loss to Minnesota on Jan. 21, the Golden Knights are 2-7-0, and have been outscored 34-21 in that span. Vegas, which was 29-10-2 at home last season, dropped to 16-9-3 at home this season. The Golden Knights didn’t have their ninth home loss last season until March 2.

“I can’t worry about last year’s team; I have to worry about this year and it’s disappointing to lose at home,” Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. “We’ve had a great record here. This year, we’ve had a great record here. What’s that, five in a row at home now? We’re playing some good teams.”

Paul Stastny, Oscar Lindberg and William Karlsson scored for Vegas. Fleury made 36 saves but allowed a season-high six goals. Fleury has allowed 17 goals in his last four starts. The last time Fleury held an opponent to one or fewer goals was Jan. 1.

The Maple Leafs took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Johnsson beat Fleury for a power-play goal, one of two Toronto would score with an extra man. Vegas, which came into the game ranked sixth in the league with its penalty kill and tied for the league’s best home penalty kill, has now allowed at least one power-play goal in five straight games.

Stastny, who has at least one point in 15 of his last 20 games, tied the game for Vegas early in the second period with a short-handed goal. Vegas made it 2-1 when Lindberg took a pass from Cody Eakin and one-timed it past Anderson. The lead wouldn’t last long, though, as Marleau reached to tap in the loose puck, which Fleury inadvertently kicked into the net, tying the game at 2-all.

Matthews’ team-high 10th power-play goal put the Maple Leafs back in front, 3-2. The Golden Knights made it 3-3 early in the third, when Karlsson redirected Jon Merrill’s top from the top, but Rielly’s game-winner put the Leafs ahead for good, and Matthews and Marner added goals late in the third to put away the game.

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Secrets of Man Utd’s dressing room with Lukaku rapping, dance contests between Pogba and Bailly while Young pranks Jones

The Norwegian oversaw dramatic scenes in the Manchester United dressing room after their Champions League defeat.

But Lee Grant has revealed what else happens behind closed doors.

The former Stoke goalkeeper has told all on the dance contests between Paul Pogba and Eric Baily, Ashley Young pranking Phil Jones, and Romelu Lukaku's rapping skills.

Dance Contests

Pogba thumped his locker in a rage after he returned to the dressing room when he saw red against Paris-Saint Germain.

However, the midweek blip was a far cry from what fans have come to expect from the Frenchman since Solskjaer took charge who has since rediscovered his smile.

Pogba has netted eight goals and added five assists in ten games under the Interim regime and is regularly dancing and practising his celebrations.

The French midfielder posted a hilarious birthday message for close pal and team-mate Jesse Lingard that featured the two's 'special handshake'.

Grant told Inside United magazine: "The vibe in the dressing room depends on what's happening. It could be a dance contest between Eric Bailly and Paul Pogba.

Playing Pranks

The United keeper added: "On the other hand it could be a game of two-touch with Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira.

"The balls are getting fired around and you have to watch your head, or the ceiling is coming down because the ball's smashing off it!

"It could be Ashley Young hanging up Phil Jones' terrible gear, or something along those lines. So it could be a hugely lively atmosphere.

"It all depends on the mood; it all depends on how bad Romelu Lukaku's gear is when he comes in! So there are plenty of factors that will dictate as to what the morning looks like."

Romelu Rapping

Lingard has already mocked Romelu Lukaku for his 'Fire in the closet' rap earlier in the season and it seems Grant isn't a fan of the Belgian's music either!

"There's a couple of lads that fancy themselves as rappers. Romelu obviously fancies himself as a rapper – I'm not sure whether the lads are backing him in terms of his talent!

"I know that I personally could do a better job with little or no practice – that's how confident I am. There's a couple of lads that have got a real belief in themselves with their rap ability.

"I'm not gonna name any names, there's a couple of lads. I've got bars for days, so don't test me!"

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Wolves ready to sign ace hitman Raul Jimenez in £30m permanent transfer from Benfica

The Mirror claims parent club Benfica will sanction a £30million switch to Molineux on the back of a 10-0 win in the Portuguese league.

Jimenez, 27, joined Wolves on a season-long loan switch last summer.

And the Mexico international has been in great form upon their return to the top flight, scoring nine goals and bagging five assists in 26 games.

Wolves have already made Jonny’s deal from Atletico Madrid permanent.

And they want Jimenez to commit to a long-term contract as well.

Benfica are apparently prepared to let Jimenez leave, with the European giants thrashing CD Nacional 10-0 last weekend.

And it’s reckoned £30m will be enough for Wolves to get a deal over the line.

Meanwhile, reports also claim the Midlands side have joined Manchester United in the race for midfield prodigy Joao Felix.

He also belongs to Benfica, but Wolves may have to cough up to £50m to secure his coveted signature.

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LeBron James gives scouting report on Zion Williamson

The NBA’s King got a first-hand look at today’s king of college basketball — and he was impressed.

LeBron James — who had a front-row seat with Lakers teammate Rajon Rondo during Duke’s 81-71 victory over Virginia Saturday in Charlottesville, Va. — had nothing but praise for Blue Devils star Zion Williamson.

James said he is especially impressed with the maturity of the 18-year-old and how he responded to Scottie Pippen saying he should sit out the rest of the season to avoid injury and secure his NBA earning potential because it’s very likely he will be the No. 1 pick in the draft.

“I can relate in a sense of he’s been covered since he was in high school and everybody is trying to compare him to the next this or the next that. But the best thing I’ve noticed is he seems like a good kid. He seems like he’s got his head on straight,” James told “And when they asked him about, you know, guys in our league and people who cover our league talking about, ‘If I was Zion Williamson, I would sit out for the rest of the year,’ he was like, ‘That’s [silly]. Why? I’m here to play basketball. I love to play basketball. I’m here at Duke, I’m having fun. These are my friends. I’m having a great time. Why would I sit out?’

“That’s the type of s— that strikes me,” said James, who also got a first-hand look at the incredible block Williamson made on De’Andre Hunter. “Everybody gets so caught up in the game itself. I look at the intangibles. And he seems like he has great intangibles and seems like a great kid.”

The out-of-this-world expectations at a young age and a similar all-around game aren’t the only things Williamson has in common with James.

The Duke big man, who is 6-foot-7 and 285 pounds, has a similar frame to the 6-8, 250-pound James. Like James, Williamson also is considered one of the best prospects ever to be on the NBA’s radar.

“What strikes me? His agility and his quickness,” James told the website. “For his size, how strong he is, to be able to move like the way he moves, he’s very impressive. I mean, everybody can see the athleticism. That’s obviously, that’s ridiculous. But the speed and the quickness that he moves [with] at that size is very impressive.”

James also made it clear he wasn’t trying to make a Lakers pitch to Williamson or any of the other highly-touted Duke freshman such as RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones.

“A recruiting trip? I didn’t talk to anybody,” James said.

“It was a game between the [top] teams in the country,” James said, referring to his decision to jet down from Philadelphia the day before the Lakers’ 143-120 loss to the 76ers. “Coach K [Mike Krzyzewski] is my guy. And the flight was 35 minutes. So, it was easy. It was easy to be able to do it. It was my first time seeing Duke play, I think, in my life. I want to go to Cameron [Indoor Stadium] someday, too, though.”

There is a chance James could be attending more games at Cameron in the future.

Duke is a team his oldest son, LeBron James Jr., could join someday. Sources told ESPN he already has received a standing scholarship offer from Krzyzewski.

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Yankees’ bullpen edge over Red Sox could tip scales in AL East

TAMPA — With so many in the baseball galaxy trying to imagine what the Yankees would look like with the addition of free-agent studs Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, imagine if the Yankees and Red Sox were forced to swap late-game bullpens.

After finishing eight games back of the Red Sox and losing the ALDS in four games to their blood rivals last season, the Yankees made moves to maintain their top-level bullpen during the offseason by retaining lefty Zack Britton and adding right-hander Adam Ottavino to essentially replace David Robertson. The Red Sox rode Craig Kimbrel’s 42 saves in the regular season. Nathan Eovaldi and Joe Kelly were terrific in the postseason as the Red Sox won the World Series. Eovaldi re-signed with the Red Sox, but will return to the starting rotation. Kelly left the Red Sox for the Dodgers, who gave him a three-year deal for $25 million.

Kimbrel, who turned down a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the Red Sox, remains a free agent with spring-training camps in full swing. A return isn’t likely, which will leave the Red Sox looking to replace the seven-time All-Star from a trio of Matt Barnes, Tyler Thornburg and Ryan Brasier.

The Yankees, who match up with the Red Sox lineup and rotation well — even if the Red Sox have the edge in each — counter with Aroldis Chapman in the closer’s role and have ample insurance in front of the gas-throwing lefty with Dellin Betances, Chad Green, Britton and Ottavino. All four arms are considerably better than whoever the Red Sox pick from its group of three.

“To me it’s not close. Even if [Boston] had Kimbrel, I would still take the Yankees,’’ an AL talent evaluator said of the gap between the Yankees’ and Red Sox’s bullpens. “If anybody says the Red Sox are better, they have been drinking’’

Barnes has pitched in 231 major league games and has two saves. Brasier is searching for his first big-league save after 41 games. Thornburg, who missed all of 2017 and half of 2018 recovering from shoulder surgery, has 13 saves in 159 relief appearances.

“The gulf is wide. The Yankees’ bullpen is the best in the game,’’ a second scout said of the Yankees main quintet, who have a combined 432 saves. “They have four and five guys who can lock down a game from the sixth inning on. The Red Sox need help. Thornburg has been hurt and it will be hard to depend on him. The Yankees are a major league bullpen and the Red Sox are at a Double-A level as far as the gap.’’

The same scout predicted Red president Dave Dombrowski is going to address the need for bullpen upgrades.

“David has put on a good face, but I think he will be very busy this spring,’’ the scout said.

Beyond the live arms in his pen, Aaron Boone likes that some can fill more than one area.

“That versatility is what has me excited right now because they’re all a little bit different. Ottavino, kind of righty/righty matchup he brings. Green and Dellin, their ability to get lefties out. Obviously Chappy, Zack Britton healthy and the sinkerball he brings,’’ Boone said after the first official day of spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Thursday. “We have a lot of different looks.

Sinkers, four-seam at the top of the zone, Chap at the end. We have a lot of really good pitchers and the versatility that [Jonathan] Holder brings, but I think they complement each other really well, which is exciting to me.’’

One area of concern could be Chapman’s left knee, which was invaded by tendinitis and landed him on the DL from Aug. 22 to Sept. 19.

“Obviously, that is something we’ll keep tabs on and really try to stay vigilant with it. If you follow him on Instagram, you could tell he was moving around pretty well this winter,’’ Boone said of Chapman, who can opt out of his contract following the season. “He is in really good condition as well. In talking to him about his knee, [I] think he’s excited with where he’s at.’’

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