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Horse Tracks: Protests overshadow week 3 in the NFL

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It’s an interesting time to be an NFL fan.

Denver Broncos v Buffalo Bills Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Over the last few weeks, when I have compiled the links to appear in each edition of Horse Tracks, I have made efforts to separate political articles from the the sports articles.

Then this week happened.

For as much as I would like to pretend that the mass protests of President Donald Trump’s comments regarding the NFL did not happen, they did. What’s ordinarily an escape from politics and the rancor inherent to those discussions, suddenly found itself the absolute center of controversy.

Needless to say, fan reactions to these protests varied and spawned protests of their own. Many folks were angry, some going so far as to post ‘Dear John’ letters to their favorite team on social media. Others took it a step further and posted pictures of their expensive officially licensed NFL merchandise being tossed into trash bins.

While some fans soured on the NFL because of the protests, other fans felt emboldened by them, championing the players’ right to exercise their 1st Amendment rights. Some even saw the protests as an opportunity to raise money for civil rights organizations.

It was apparent that among the players, there was unity and respect for one another regardless of whether players stood, sat, locked arms, or waited out the anthem in the locker room.

When it comes to highly venerated symbols in society being involved in protest, miscommunication abounds. The flag and anthem mean a wide array of things to different people. While one person may see the flag and think of their Uncle Irv’s service in Vietnam, another person may view the flag as a representation of all the freedoms that make America great. It’s the versatility of those symbols, the anthem and flag, that makes them universally American. It’s that same versatility that opens their use up to hurt feelings and anger.

I’d like to say that everyone should just respect everyone else’s views of these dynamic symbols of our great democracy. However, I am not that naive. The sad reality of this situation is that it’s likely going to fester for weeks to come without resolution. President Trump spent most of his Sunday tweeting and retweeting negative things about the NFL and called for a boycott. During his short tenure as Commander and Chief, we’ve come to know him as a man who doesn’t easily let things go. I don’t expect the NFL or the players to capitulate the President’s demands. This, sadly, means that the protests will continue... which will, in turn, spur the President to keep calling for a boycott.

I can’t forsee an easy way out of this mess. I just want to watch football... and beat the Raiders. I really want to beat the Raiders.

Go Broncos

HORSE TRACKS

Siemian Says: Turnovers made for missed opportunities vs. Bills
Trevor Siemian lamented the role his two interceptions played in a tough 26-16 loss to the Bills on the road.

Defining Moments: Bills 26, Broncos 16
These were the Broncos' best plays as they fell short in Buffalo.

Why it happened: Bills 26, Broncos 16
The Broncos were unable to overcome turnovers and penalties Sunday and fell to the Bills 26-16.

He's back! Jamaal Charles scores first Broncos TD
It's been a long road back for Denver Broncos running back Jamaal Charles, who was once one of the most dynamic players in the NFL.

Broncos Peko Extends Iron Man Streak To 114th Straight Start « CBS Denver
Broncos defensive tackle Domata Peko extended his iron man streak Sunday.

Shane Ray: Shame People Are ‘So Comfortable With Fake Truth’ « CBS Denver
Broncos linebacker Shane Ray took to Twitter Sunday during the team's game against the Bills.

Broncos players protest: Von Miller, others kneel during anthem | SI.com
Von Miller and Demaryius Thomas are among the Broncos who kneeled during the national anthem

Bills overcome bottled up McCoy to beat Broncos 26-16 - The Washington Post
Turns out, the Buffalo Bills can win without LeSean McCoy carrying the load.

Denver Broncos fail first road test of season - Denver Broncos Blog- ESPN
Trevor Siemian and the Broncos never looked comfortable as they stumbled in their first road test of the season in a 26-16 loss to the Bills.

LOOK: Von Miller got called for the worst unsportsmanlike conduct penalty ever - CBSSports.com
Miller pulled the "too slow" move on Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor

Von Miller's late penalty allowed the Buffalo Bills to extend their lead over the Denver Broncos
Broncos LB Von Miller says he "killed the game" when his penalty in the fourth quarter allowed the Bills to extend their lead to 10 points with about three minutes remaining.

Bills' defense shines in upset over Broncos - NFL.com
Coming off last week's thrashing of the Cowboys, the Broncos (2-1) on Sunday ran into a brick wall against the frisky Bills (2-1). Here's what we learned from Buffalo's 26-16 win over Denver.

Cousins, Thompson lead Redskins' romp over Raiders - NFL.com
Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins (2-1) put on a show on Sunday night, shutting down Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders (2-1), 27-10, at FedEx Field in Week 3.

Chargers drop to 0-3 after 24-10 loss to Kansas City | The News Tribune
Chargers fall to 0-3 after early interceptions catapult the Kansas City Chiefs to a 24-10 victory.

Raiders vs. Redskins score, highlights, things to know: Cousins humiliates Oakland - CBSSports.com
Plus Lynch sputters, the Raiders defense falls flat and the response to Trump continues Sunday night

Kareem Hunt has best start for rookie RB since Billy Sims – ProFootballTalk
Not since Billy Sims of the 1980 Lions took the NFL by storm has a rookie running back done what Kareem Hunt has accomplished for the 2017 Chiefs. According to the NFL, Hunt matched Sims and Dutch Sternaman of the 1920 Decatur Staleys for the most touchdowns by any player in his first three NFL g...

Sunday Night wrap-up: Washington clicking on both sides of the ball – ProFootballTalk
Washington coach Jay Gruden is doing business differently this year. But what he's doing now is clearly working. After beating the Raiders 27-10, there's reason to think this new way of calling plays could work.

Mike Zimmer calls Sam Bradford “day to day” but uncertain whether QB can play next week – ProFootballTalk
Sam Bradford didn't attend Sunday's game. He missed seeing his backup earn a game ball by passing for 369 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-17 drubbing of the Buccaneers. "Case Keenum played outstanding,’’ Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press.

NFLPA has concerns about Patriots’ new field – ProFootballTalk
The Patriots sufficiently disliked the the playing surface they'd installed in May to remove it after two preseason games, one practice. and one regular-season game. The NFL Players Association doesn't like what they replaced it with.

John Fox hopes Marcus Cooper’s bonehead play is a learning experience – ProFootballTalk
The Bears earned their first win of the season today despite Marcus Cooper making the dumbest play of the year. Bears coach John Fox hopes Cooper learns from it.

Sherman draws three flags on one play vs. Titans - NFL.com
Richard Sherman was involved in a play Sunday he'd probably love to wipe from his memory bank.

Darren Sproles out indefinitely with broken arm - NFL.com
Injury news we are tracking across the league on this Week 3 Sunday afternoon.

DeMarco Murray, Titans run by Seahawks in slugfest - NFL.com
With 10 combined three-and-outs in the first half, this game doubled as a white-knuckle slugfest until the Titans and Seahawks awoke on offense in a game that boiled down to the final minutes.

Odell Beckham Jr. of New York Giants flagged for odd celebration; has 2 TDs
Odell Beckham Jr. had two highlight-reel touchdowns on Sunday but was flagged on the first score after he simulated a dog urinating on the field.

Pittsburgh Steelers offense feels like they're wasting talent after failing to score more than 20 points in game through 3 weeks
"We're so much better than this. It's tough to waste all the talent we have," guard David DeCastro said. "Look at the offense we have. If we're not putting up 350, 400 yards a game, it feels like we're wasting it."

NFL Kneeling: Mass Protest as Players Defy Trump's Criticism | Time.com
At least 100 NFL players knelt or sat in protest and one team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, stayed in the locker room during the national anthem

Politics Has Always Had a Place in Football - The New York Times
The sport was not incidental to the doctrine of segregation. It was one of the pillars on which it rested.

Broncos players protest: Von Miller, others kneel during anthem | SI.com
Von Miller and Demaryius Thomas are among the Broncos who kneeled during the national anthem

Rex Ryan wishes he never supported Donald Trump: 'I'm pissed off' - CBSSports.com
The former Bills coach had harsh words for President Trump: 'I never signed up for that'

Ben Roethlisberger explains why Steelers stayed in locker room for national anthem - CBSSports.com
Teams across the league demonstrated on Sunday in response to Donald Trump's speech Friday

DeShone Kizer responds to Trump's NFL comments: 'I'm no son of a b----' - CBSSports.com
The Browns owners also called the president's comments 'misguided, uninformed and divisive'

Sean Payton on Donald Trump: 'I think we need a little bit more wisdom in that office' - CBSSports.com
The Saints coach is the latest to weigh in on Trump's comments

Majority of Raiders sit during anthem, most Redskins players stand and link arms - CBSSports.com
The Raiders reportedly wanted to stay in the locker room, but came out to avoid a 15-yard penalty

Mike Tomlin angry that Trump comments dragged the NFL into B.S. – ProFootballTalk
After his team declined to participate in the national anthem today, a visibly angry Steelers coach Mike Tomlin addressed President Trump's comments, saying it's wrong to drag the NFL into a political morass.

Donald Trump Jr. takes a swipe at the NFL, too – ProFootballTalk
They say football is family. Bashing the National Football League apparently is family, too. Donald Trump Jr. has chimed in regarding the issue his father took to unprecedented heights two nights ago, with this message on Twitter posted within the last hour: "If only Roger Goodell cared as much a...

Political action committee supporting President Trump begins ad campaign against NFL
A political action committee that supports President Trump began an advertising campaign Sunday that encourages NFL fans to turn off games and watch a patriotic movie instead, according to a source close to the committee.

Pittsburgh Steelers surprised by Alejandro Villanueva move
Alejandro Villanueva's appearance on the field, as the only Steelers player to leave the tunnel for Sunday's national anthem, led to "confusion" for some teammates, a source said.