US President says he feels ‘ashamed’ to see players kneeling in protest during national anthem. A new poll suggests support for those NFL players protesting during the national anthem is growing, despite US President Donald Trump’s criticism. Trump was back in front of the press on Tuesday after a weekend which saw the protests reach unprecedented levels.
While most who were questioned said they would personally stand during the anthem, the poll found that 57% of respondents did not think players who kneel should be fired. The poll also revealed that while 85% say they stand in silence for the anthem, and 74% put their hand over their heart, there is less agreement about how professional athletes should behave. 58% of those questioned said that “professional athletes should be required to stand during the national anthem at sporting events”, although 40% say they support the stance the players have taken by not standing – up from 28% in a similar Reuters/Ipsos poll last year.
The President reaffirmed his views at his Tuesday briefing in Washington: “I was ashamed of what was taking place, because to me that was a very important moment. I don’t think you can disrespect our country, our flag, our national anthem. Many people have died and they were fighting for our country, they were fighting for our flag, they were fighting for our national anthem. And for people to disrespect that, by kneeling during the playing of our national anthem, I think is disgraceful.”
The Super Bowl is going to get a familiar face for halftime of Super Bowl LII when the game comes to Minnesota. Pop superstar Justin Timberlake is reportedly “finalizing” a deal to perform at the event for the first time in 13 years. Timberlake and the NFL are locking down a deal that will put him on the stage for the first time since the Patriots and Panthers played in the Super Bowl in 2004, when he very controversially ripped off part of Janet Jackson’s bustier. There have been different rumblings about possibilities for the halftime show, which will take place on February 4 in the Vikings new stadium in Minneapolis. Brittney Spears was rumored as someone who was interested in participating in the show. The NFL was reportedly rejected by a pair of big-name performers, including rapper Jay-Z and Adele. There was also some chatter in the US Magazine report that Timberlake could be joined on the stage by Jay-Z, although a source told US that “as of right now, it will just be Justin — no surprise performers.”
The Canadian Football League has denied quarterback Johnny Manziel’s bid to play in 2017 but has left open the possibility for revisiting the matter next season, the league confirmed Wednesday. Manziel will be eligible in 2018, according to the statement, if he “meets certain conditions that have been spelled out” by commissioner Randy Ambrosie. The CFL did not reveal details of those requirements but said it conducted an “extensive process of due diligence,” including an “in-person” meeting between Manziel and Ambrosie. Manziel, 24, has not played since the Cleveland Browns released him in March 2016. He said in a statement that he is ready to play but that joining a CFL team at the end of its season would not have been ideal. The CFL is currently in Week 15 of a 20-week regular season. Manziel stated: “I want to come into a team and earn my job day one, like everyone else. I look forward to preparing myself as best I can and look forward to what the future holds. I recently had a really positive meeting with Commissioner Ambrosie and welcomed the chance for us to get to know each other and have an in-depth talk about a possible future with the CFL.