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Critics: NFL decision chooses mainstream appeal over players

UPDATED: Wed., May 23, 2018, 5:35 p.m.

Critics say the NFL’s decision to force players on the field to stand during the national anthem prioritizes the league’s mainstream appeal over its athletes. Some opponents of the new policy now vow to never watch an NFL game again. Others, including some players, applauded the league’s action or took no issue with the policy. The decision fans the flames of a debate that grew far beyond athletes wanting to protest social injustice.

New Cardinals cornerback Jamar Taylor looks to earn starting job

Jamar Taylor seems the odds-on favorite for now to win the cornerback job opposite Patrick Peterson. The Arizona Cardinals recently sent a 2020 sixth-round draft pick to Cleveland in exchange for Taylor, who started 29 games for the Browns the past two seasons. Taylor says being sent away by the Browns puts a fire in his belly.

49ers’ Reuben Foster won’t stand trial on domestic violence charges

UPDATED: Wed., May 23, 2018, 5:07 p.m.

A judge has ruled that San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster will not have to stand trial on domestic violence charges after determining there was no evidence that Foster ever hit his ex-girlfriend. Judge Nona Klippen says prosecutors didn’t meet the burden of probable cause on charges of felony domestic violence and forcefully attempting to dissuade a witness. Elissa Ennis had testified last week that she lied to police when she accused Foster of attacking her in February.

Jeff Gordon calls NASCAR Hall of Fame selection ‘surreal’

UPDATED: Wed., May 23, 2018, 4:54 p.m.

Jeff Gordon has been selected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Gordon was a four-time Cup Series champion who helped take stock car racing from a regional sport to the mainstream in the 1990s. Gordon’s 93 Cup race wins are third-most in NASCAR history and he received 96 percent of the votes from the Hall of Fame committee. Car owners Jack Roush and Roger Penske were also selected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, as were drivers Davey Allison and Alan Kulwicki.

Milwaukee police chief apologizes for arrest of Bucks guard Sterling Brown

UPDATED: Wed., May 23, 2018, 9:17 p.m.

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales apologized to Bucks guard Sterling Brown for officers’ actions during a January arrest that included use of a stun gun, and said some officers had been disciplined. Morales’ apology came as the department was set to release body-camera footage of the arrest, which occurred around 2 a.m. on Jan. 26 in a Walgreens parking lot. Brown was arrested by officers who had been checking on a vehicle parked across two handicap spaces, but ultimately was not charged.

Chargers’ Telesco laments Henry’s injury, demurs on Gates

Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco isn’t saying whether he’ll try to re-sign tight end Antonio Gates after losing Hunter Henry to injury. Henry tore his knee ligament while running an ordinary route during a non-contact workout on the opening day of organized team activities. Gates is the franchise’s career leader in receptions and the NFL record-holder for TD catches by a tight end, but the Chargers bade farewell to him last month.

As both a driver and an owner, Ed Carpenter a factor at Indy

As both a driver and an owner, Ed Carpenter is a factor at this year’s Indianapolis 500. Carpenter’s team added a third seat for Danica Patrick, clearing the way for her to compete in this event as her final race before retirement. Then in qualifying, Carpenter showed up and grabbed his third career Indy 500 pole. It establishes himself as a contender for the big race this weekend in his adopted hometown.

Close calls force Indy 500 to learn lessons, coping skills

Takuma Sato learned a tough, painful lesson from his spectacular final lap crash at the 2012 Indianapolis 500. Eventually it paid dividends. The Japanese driver believes he might not be the defending Indy winner heading into Sunday’s race had it not been for the ill-fated passing attempt that sent him spinning hard into the first-turn wall and gave Dario Franchitti the win in 2012.

No pressure not a good thing for Clay Matthews and the Packers

Clay Matthews is learning new playbook terminology under a new defensive coordinator, though his overall goals haven’t changed. It’s more important than ever for the Green Bay linebacker to get to the quarterback. The Packers replenished their secondary in the draft, and added free agent Muhammad Wilkerson to bolster the defensive line. Matthews and Nick Perry remain the leaders of an edge rush that had trouble getting consistent pressure last year.

Clippers, coach Doc Rivers agree to contract extension

UPDATED: Wed., May 23, 2018, 12:41 p.m.

The Clippers and coach Doc Rivers have agreed to a contract extension that will keep him around to oversee the post-Lob City era. The team did not disclose terms of the deal. Rivers was set to enter the final year of his five-year contract next season.

Rockets to wear patches to honor Santa Fe shooting victims

The Houston Rockets will wear patches on their jerseys to honor the victims of the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas. The patch will debut Thursday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors. It will read: “Santa Fe HS.” It’s one of several tributes the team plans following Friday’s shooting. Eight students and two teachers died at the school, located 30 miles from downtown Houston.

James Hinchcliffe no longer pursuing options to run in Indy 500

UPDATED: Wed., May 23, 2018, 12:10 p.m.

James Hinchcliffe has stopped looking for a way to get back into Sunday’s Indianapolis 500. He says barring “unforeseen circumstances” he will not race this weekend. The Canadian driver was one of two drivers left out of the field following qualifying last weekend, along with Pippa Mann. There had been speculation all week that Hinchcliffe would climb into one of the 33 cars on the starting grid.
The Press Box, with Larry Weir