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in F r e i s t i l 17.09.2018 04:44
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Civil rights activists protested outside NFL headquarters Friday Mike Evans Jersey , calling on team owners to overturn their new national anthem policy and urging a boycott of the league and its sponsors.

About 50 people gathered at the midtown Manhattan office building for a rally organized by National Action Network, a civil rights nonprofit.

Kirsten John Foy, the group's northeast regional director, was the first of 10 speakers who took turns during the 40-minute demonstration to criticize NFL team owners and President Donald Trump.

"Our demand is that the NFL reverse that immoral and unconstitutional decision," Foy said.

NFL owners voted Wednesday to require players to stand for the national anthem or stay in the locker room. Teams will be fined if players don't stand. Some players have been kneeling during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before games the last two seasons to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the protest in 2016. He did not play last season after being unsigned as a free agent. He is suing the NFL and team owners for colluding to keep him out of the league.

National Action Network spokesman Alex Butcher-Nesbitt said the group planned to hold similar demonstrations around the country, including Detroit and Los Angeles.

The Rev. Charles Williams II, president of the Michigan chapter of the National Action Network, said if Detroit Lions owner Martha Ford and the team adhere to the anthem policy, "then they are doing nothing more than ... standing with racism."

In New York, Foy was joined by progressive talk radio host Mark Thompson, who wore a long shirt with a depiction of Kaepernick in his 49ers uniform taking a knee Kyle Wilber Jersey , and city councilman Jumaane Williams, who brought a Kaepernick No. 7 jersey to display after he spoke and wore a shirt with the slogan #IMWITHKAP across the front.

"I'm proud because I'm going to be on the right side of history," Williams said. "I'm going to be standing and kneeling with Colin Kaepernick."

Several speakers said supporters of Kaepernick and the protesting players should stop watching NFL games and no longer patronize companies that sponsor the league.

"You can't inundate us with tens of millions of dollars in commercial ads and then strip the people that generate your money and your profits of their first amendment rights," Foy said. "And if they choose to protest, they've got to stay in the locker room. So the locker room is the new slave shanty."

There’s going to be dozens of players left out in the cold at next week’s NBA draft, players who will not hear their names called by the time the night is over.

Udonis Haslem knows how they’ll feel.

He also may be the example they’ll need.

Undrafted in 2002, Haslem – a Miami native who has spent his entire NBA career with his hometown Miami Heat – has been in the league longer than just about any other active player. He’s planning and hoping to sign this summer to return for a 16th season, something that was not only unlikely but unthinkable after every team passed when given the chance to secure his services through the draft.

”My mind works differently,” Haslem said. ”I know when one door closes, another door opens. That’s the way it’s always been for me.”

Out of the 57 draft picks that all went ahead of Haslem in 2002, only one – Nene – was on a roster last season. Haslem has outlasted almost everyone who was in the league when he arrived as a rookie in 2003 following a year in France; just 12 players who were in the NBA in 2002-03 remained on rosters this past season.

He’s one of many undrafted success stories in the NBA right now: Utah’s Joe Ingles and Philadelphia’s Robert Covington played huge roles for their respective teams reaching the second round of the playoffs Eddie Yarbrough Jersey , Miami’s Tyler Johnson is about to see his salary explode to nearly $40 million over the next two seasons, and Boston’s Aron Baynes became a pivotal part of the Celtics‘ rotation this season while appearing in 100 games.

They’re all proof that if there’s enough skill, the NBA will eventually notice.

”UD would never get told no,” his longtime Heat teammate Dwyane Wade said. ”I remember when I came in for my Heat workout before the draft and asked who the guy getting every rebound was and they told me, `That’s Udonis Haslem.’ And I didn’t even recognize him because of how much he’d changed his body. I knew right away that he was a guy I wanted on my team.”

Haslem was an underrated part of all three of Miami’s championship teams in 2006, 2012 and 2013. He barely sees the court anymore, appearing in only 30 games over the last two seasons. But he remains invaluable to the Heat for what he brings to the locker room and from a leadership perspective, which is why he’ll probably be on Miami’s roster next season – although Thursday, Haslem floated the idea of possibly looking to play in Europe or China if things in Miami don’t work out.

”When you talk about culture and Miami Heat culture, you’re talking about Udonis Haslem,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ”The way he keeps himself ready Kurt Coleman Jersey , the way he’s always working, the way that he’s a voice in our locker room, he epitomizes what it means to be a Miami Heat player. We tell people all the time, if you want to understand our culture, look at UD. He is our rock. He has the ultimate respect of this locker room.”

It hasn’t been easy. Haslem has reinvented himself more than a few times along the way.

”He impacts winning,” said Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan, Haslem’s college coach at Florida. ”He knows exactly what goes into winning. He’s a consummate warrior, an unbelievable competitor.”

Haslem was a 300-pounder during his college days at Florida, which explains why he went undrafted; he’s now chiseled, with nary a speck of visible body fat on his 38-year-old frame. He was terrible with money when he entered the league; he still cringes at particularly wasteful expenditure – an ostrich couch – that he quickly ruined. He not only didn’t open his mail, he didn’t even know where it was being sent.

Today Troy Niklas Jersey , he’s a budding mogul.

Haslem has ownership of no fewer than 13 franchises – Subway, Auntie Anne’s, Starbucks and Einstein Bros. Bagels among them – in his rapidly growing business portfolio. He’s partnering with Wade on some future projects.

”I’m not complaining. I’m continuing to stay motivated, putting basketball energy into business energy,” Haslem said. ”The things that I deal with are things that I’m engaged in, things I believe in. If I invest in something, I’ve eaten there.”

That’s another lesson for this next generation of NBA players. Haslem has made himself rather wealthy despite never signing what would be considered a massive contract by NBA standards. The most he ever made in a season was just over $7 million – a fortune for most people, yet pretty pedestrian for those who have been in the league this long.

”UD is a great example of what happens if you work,” Heat guard Goran Dragic said. ”That’s how he made a great career.”



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