Nike's endorsement of former NFL player Colin Kaepernick sparks flood of debate online

An endorsement deal between Nike and Colin Kaepernick is prompting a flood of debate online as sports fans react to the apparel giant backing an athlete known mainly for starting a wave of protests among NFL players of police brutality, racial inequality and other social issues.

The deal unveiled by Nike and the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback was a trending topic on Twitter and other social networks, with some fans urging a boycott of the company's clothes and sneakers — even burning cutting out the signature swoosh logos on their gear. Others pushed back, saying the backlash against Nike showed the polarizing debate has morphed well beyond whether NFL players should be allowed to demonstrate for social causes while the national anthem plays in stadiums before games.

Country music star John Rich tweeted a picture of one of his crew members holding the tops of a cut pair of Nike socks, with the caption: "Get ready @Nike multiply that by the millions." The tweet garnered about 10,000 retweets and 30,000 likes, plus thousands of critical comments.

Rich, part of the duo Big & Rich and a former contestant of President Donald Trump's reality show "The Celebrity Apprentice," said he supported the right to protest but Nike lost his support when it endorsed Kaepernick.

Trump, a frequent critic of protesting NFL players, did not weigh in Tuesday morning even though he has loudly urged the league to suspend or fire players who demonstrate during the anthem, repeatedly diving into what has developed into one of the most contentious debates in the sports world.

Kaepernick's attorney Mark Geragos announced the endorsement deal on Twitter, calling Kaepernick an "All American Icon." Kaepernick also posted a Nike ad featuring his face and wrote: "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. (Hashtag) JustDoIt"

Kaepernick already had a deal with Nike that was set to expire, but it was renegotiated into a multiyear deal to make him one of the faces of Nike's 30th anniversary "Just Do It" campaign, according to a person familiar with the contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Nike hasn't officially announced the contract.

The person said Nike will feature Kaepernick on several platforms, including billboards, television commercials and online ads. Nike also will create an apparel line for Kaepernick and contribute to his Know Your Rights charity, the person said. The deal puts Kaepernick in the top bracket of NFL players with Nike.

Nike also provides all NFL teams with game-day uniforms and sideline apparel, a partnership that was extended in March to run through 2028.

Last week, Kaepernick scored a legal victory in his grievance against the NFL and its 32 teams when an arbitrator allowed his case to continue to trial. The quarterback claims that owners conspired to keep him out of the league because of his protests of social injustice.

Kaepernick contends the owners violated their collective bargaining agreement with players by conspiring to keep him off teams. His case hinges on whether owners worked together rather than decided individually to not sign Kaepernick.

A similar grievance is still pending by former 49ers teammate Eric Reid, a Pro Bowl safety who joined in the protests.

On Friday night, Kaepernick and Reid, also now out of the league, were each given huge ovations when they were introduced and shown on the big screen during a match between Serena and Venus Williams at the US Open.

Meanwhile, the league and players union still haven't resolved whether players will be punished this season if they choose to kneel or demonstrate during the national anthem. Owners approved a policy requiring players to stand if they are on the sideline during "The Star-Spangled Banner," allowing them to stay off the field if they wish.

But the league and union put that on hold after the Miami Dolphins faced backlash for classifying the protests as conduct potentially detrimental to the team — putting players at risk of fines or suspensions.

This image taken from the Twitter account of the former National Football League player Colin Kaepernick shows a Nike advertisement featuring him that was posted Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. Kaepernick already had a deal with Nike that was set to expire, but it was renegotiated into a multi-year deal to make him one of the faces of Nike's 30th anniversary "Just Do It" campaign, according to a person familiar with the contract. (Twitter via AP)
This image taken from the Twitter account of the former National Football League player Colin Kaepernick. Source: Associated Press


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Conor McGregor being sued by UFC lightweight fighter after attack that left him with facial lacerations

Mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor is being sued by UFC lightweight fighter Michael Chiesa after and alleged attack in April.

Chiesa is seeking damages he suffered when McGregor allegedly threw a dolly (a cart for moving heavy items) at a bus window, injuring Chiesa and forcing him to withdraw from the UFC 223 card on April in Brooklyn, New York.

The incident was captured on camera at the Barclay's Centre.

TMZ reported that the lawsuit was filed overnight and alleges Chiesa suffered "serious personal, economic, other injury" and "severe emotional distress, mental trauma and bodily harm."

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 07: Michael Chiesa enters the Octagon against Anthony Pettis in their lightweight fight during the UFC 226 event inside T-Mobile Arena on July 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Michael Chiesa enters the Octagon against Anthony Pettis in their lightweight fight during the UFC 226 event inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Source: Getty

The lawsuit accuses McGregor of assault, battery, negligence and infliction of emotional stress.

Chiesa is also named the Barclay's Centre as a defendant, saying the organisers at the venue failed to take "proper security measures to protect the plaintiff and other patrons."

The American fighter doesn't specify the amount he is after, but is asking for compensation lost which includes "lost opportunities".

He argues that the incident robbed him at a shot at a UFC title, with the UFC needing a last-second replacement for the lightweight title fight at the UFC 223 event, which Chiesa was unavailable for due to injury.

Mixed martial arts figher Conor McGregor, center, is escorted by court officers as he leaves a Brooklyn Supreme court, Thursday, June 14, 2018, in New York.  McGregor is in plea negotiations to resolve charges stemming from a backstage melee at a Brooklyn arena. The 29-year-old Irish fighter and co-defendant Cian Cowley remained free on bail after a brief court appearance on Thursday. They are due back in court July 26.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mixed martial arts figher Conor McGregor is escorted by court officers as he leaves a Brooklyn Supreme court. Source: Associated Press

McGregor agreed to a plea deal with the Brooklyn District Attorney's office in July which allowed him to avoid a criminal record.

He pled guilty to a single charge of disorderly conduct. The 30-year-old is set to return to the Octagon at UFC 229 on October 7 (NZ time).

Chiesa recovered from his facial lacerations and went onto fight Anthony Pettis at UFC 227 in July in Las Vegas.


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Watch: Jets wide receiver slices Lions defence during stunning punt return to score long-range touchdown

Sam Darnold rolled right and made a rookie move, lobbing a football across the field that was picked off and returned for a touchdown.

It might've been his only mistake all night.

Darnold made a stellar debut after throwing a pick-6 on his first NFL snap, and the New York Jets intercepted five passes and also scored on special teams in a 48-17 rout over the Detroit Lions this morning.

The 21-year-old Darnold became the youngest quarterback to start a season opener since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, and looked his age on the first play.

"Licking my chops a little bit too much, I think, on that play," he said

Quandre Diggs intercepted his ill-advised pass and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown 20 seconds into the game.

"On that interception, I was pretty nervous," Darnold said. "After that, I put it behind me."

The former USC star, drafted No. 3 overall, shook off the nerves and finished 16 of 21 for 198 yards and two touchdowns.

"He didn't flinch," Jets coach Todd Bowles said. "He didn't even blink."

The Jets dominated in all phases.

They scored 31 straight in the third quarter to pull away, sending Detroit's fans for the exits and setting off a jolly green party in the Motor City. It was the highest-scoring third quarter in team history and trailed only the 34-point second quarter the Brett Favre-led team scored in 2008 against Arizona.

New York scored on the ground and through the air, on defense and on a punt return by former Lion Andre Roberts.

The Jets could've piled on even more in the final minutes but turned the ball over on downs after kneeling to take time off the clock.


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Most read: Italian Moto GP rider sacked after terrifying attempt to pull rival's brake

Disgraced Moto GP2 rider Romano Fenati has been sacked by his Marinelli Snipers Team, after attempting to pull a rival's brake in San Marimo yesterday.

Coming down a straight, Fenati rode alongside compatriot Stefano Manzi, pulling his brake while travelling at speeds of 225km/h.

Fenati was quickly disqualified for the incident, although there are now calls to see him never race again.

The Italian was initially given a two race suspension, before his contract was terminated by the Marinelli Snipers.

"We can communicate that the Marinelli Snipers Team shall terminate the contract with the rider Romano Fenati, from now on, for his unsporting, dangerous and damaging conduct for the image of all," a team statement said.

"With extreme regret, we have to note that his irresponsible act endangered the life of another rider and can't be apologised for in any way. The rider, from this moment, will not participate in any more races with the Marinelli Snipers team."

Fenati, 22, has since apologised for his behaviour, saying:

"I apologise to the whole sporting world," he said in an official statement.

"This morning, with a clear mind, I wish it had been just a bad dream. I think back to those moments, I made a disgraceful gesture, I was not a man!"
 


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Watch: MLB game brought to a standstill by adorable squirrel

The St. Louis Cardinals needed something to get them going yesterday against the Detroit Tigers.

Out of nowhere — again — a squirrel appeared.

In an episode sure to revive St. Louis fans' memories of the 2011 Rally Squirrel, this game at Comerica Park was scoreless going into the seventh inning. That's when a squirrel took up residence between second and third base.

There was a delay and, with some prompting, the critter moved into foul territory and eventually made its escape in right field.

The Cardinals wound up scoring five times in the inning and avoided a series sweep with a 5-2 victory. St. Louis has a one-game lead for the second NL wild card spot.

During the 2011 NL Division Series, a squirrel cut across the diamond at Busch Stadium, running right past home plate during a game against Philadelphia. The Cards went on to win the playoff series and later the championship — their World Series rings even depicted a squirrel.

The Cardinals John Gant (7-5) allowed two runs on five hits and a walk in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out six. Carlos Martinez pitched the ninth for his second save.

Michael Fulmer (3-11) was perfect through five innings but only got four more outs. He allowed five runs on five hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings, striking out five, as he fell to 0-6 in his last nine starts.

Detroit's four-game winning streak was snapped.


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