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Gordon Hayward diagnosed with ankle fracture in Celtics opener

The Boston Celtics opened the NBA season Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and in his first game with the Celtics, small forward Gordon Hayward suffered a gruesome ankle injury.

>> Read more trending news

The broadcast noted Hayward suffered a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle.

Hayward was cutting along the baseline when he jumped for an alley-oop and fell to the floor with his leg bent underneath him.

Warning: The video linked in the below tweet contains footage that may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

Hayward’s leg was stabilized and he was carted off the floor. LeBron James, Cavaliers players and Celtics teammates shook Hayward’s hand before he left the court.

Hayward, the former No. 9 overall selection, visited the Miami Heat, Celtics and Utah Jazz before making his free agency decision, eventually landing with Boston. He spent seven years with the Jazz.

Hayward, who is coming off an All-Star year for the Jazz and made it to the second round of the NBA playoffs, shook up the power in the Eastern Conference by adding a legitimate second offensive weapon to a Celtics team lacking one in last year’s playoffs.

He averaged a career-best 21 points and five rebounds per game last season.

Colin Kaepernick not invited to annual owners and NFLPA meeting

NFL owners and the NFL Players Association met in New York Tuesday for a regularly scheduled meeting with the topic of the national anthem protests in mind. Knowing this, many players were expecting one important free agent to be invited in Colin Kaepernick considering he was the person who got it all started. However, it was made clear that he was not invited, according to his attorney.

>> Read more trending news

That apparently didn’t sit well with players that were invited to the meetings.

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman made his displeasure pretty clear, telling ESPN’s Brady Henderson, “You’ve heard every excuse in the book for why he doesn’t have a job, but you see what it is. They’ve agreed not to give him a job.”

Related: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants players to stand during national anthem, memo says

Kaepernick has filed a grievance against the NFL alleging that there has been collusion in not signing him. A case can certainly be made that there’s a concerted effort to not sign Kaepernick to some team as there are several backups and even starting QBs in the league who are not better than him, but to prove actual collusion is going to be pretty tough.

Hillary Clinton defends NFL players kneeling for the national anthem

While on tour promoting her book “What Happened,” Hillary Clinton defended NFL players who kneel during the national anthem, arguing that they’re neither protesting the anthem nor the flag and calling their display “reverent.”

>> Read more trending news 

That’s what black athletes kneeling was all about,” she said in response to a question about how to resist the Trump White House. “That’s not against our anthem or our flag. Actually, kneeling is a reverent position. It was to demonstrate in a peaceful way against racism and injustice in our criminal system.”

Former NFL star Colin Kaepernick sought to protest racial injustice in the United States last season, beginning by sitting on the bench for the national anthem. After speaking with former NFL player and Green Beret Nate Boyer, he decided to simultaneously protest and show respect by kneeling for the song instead.

“We sorta came to a middle ground where he would take a knee alongside his teammates,” Boyer said after their meeting. “Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, you know, to show respect. When we’re on a patrol, you know, and we go into a security halt, we take a knee, and we pull security.”

President Donald Trump recently began attacking players who kneel during the anthem, calling them “sons of (expletive)” and imploring team owners to fire players who participate in the protest.

National anthem protests: Jaguars apologize for 'not comprehending effect' of demonstration

The president of the Jacksonville Jaguars sent a letter this month to city officials, apologizing for the team’s kneeling during the national anthem during their Sept. 24 game in London. 

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The letter, dated Oct. 6, said the team was "remiss in not fully comprehending the effect of the national anthem demonstration on foreign soil has on the men and women who continue to serve our country." 

Written by Mark Lamping and addressed to Bill Spann, the director of military affairs for Jacksonville, the letter goes on to say, "Today, we can understand how the events in London could have been viewed or misinterpreted. We owe you an apology and hope you will accept it."

>> Read the letter the Jaguars sent to the city of Jacksonville

Before their game against the Baltimore Ravens last month, about a dozen Jaguars players kneeled during the national anthem. The move came days after President Donald Trump suggested that players who knelt during the national anthem should be cut from the team.

Some Jaguars fans were angered over the move, with one fan man destroying his Jaguars gear and another flying a plane above EverBank Field asking fans to boycott the Jaguars and the NFL. 

The Jaguars, 3-3 on the season, have a game at division rival Indianapolis on Sunday. Their next home game is Nov. 5 vs. Cincinnati.

Florida man hires pilot to fly 'Boycott Jags, NFL' banner over stadium amid anthem protests

A man from Green Cove Springs, Florida, took his issues with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the NFL to the sky Sunday.

>> Watch the news report here

At 1,000 feet, you could read the statement on the plane-towed banner saying, “Be American. Boycott the Jags and the NFL.”

Terry Smiley had the message printed on a banner that was flown above EverBank Field before the Jacksonville Jaguars' game against the Los Angeles Rams. 

This all-American sport is dividing fans after some NFL players took a knee during the national anthem.

“I am asking people to boycott the football games. I don’t watch it on TV,” Smiley said. 

>> On ActionNewsJax.com: Jaguars fan says he was asked to leave stadium for silent protest

People's feelings about politics and football seem to bleed together on the turf. 

“People need to realize the true message that they’re trying to send,” Jaguars fan Jay Crossman said. 

Smiley said he was disgusted by the Jags players who knelt in London. Now, he’s taking a stand, making his voice be heard. 

“Do you believe in your country? Do you believe in 'The Star-Spangled Banner'? If you don’t stand up for it now, you won’t have it in the future,” Smiley said. 

As a former Jags fan, he hired a pilot to fly his banner over the stadium for two hours to send his message about players kneeling. 

“I have the right to protest, and I’m going to protest it with bumper stickers, airplanes – whatever I go to do. I will continue to protest,” Smiley said.

>> Pence abruptly leaves Colts game after players take a knee during anthem

Some fans are on the offensive, saying players are kneeling for a greater cause – equality. 

“They are taking it in a peaceful manner. They are trying to use their words and use their actions instead of taking it to violence,” Jaguars fan Jaumari Day said. 

“They have publicly stated that they care about veterans and the flag and that’s not what they’re kneeling against,” Crossman said. 

Smiley is giving away bumper stickers in hopes his supporters will join him and boycott NFL football. 

>> Read more trending news

“We boycott them and we hit them in the pocketbook where it (hurts) them. (Before) long, we’ll have them on both of their knees,” Smiley said. 

“We have people who are legitimate concerns who happen to be NFL players. They still live in the community. They have a right to protest. That’s (Smiley's) right. Just like the NFL players who take their knee that’s their right. He has the right to do what he is doing,” Jaguars fan Calvin Sinclair said. 

UPDATE: Columbus Crew SC owner explains interest in moving to Austin

The Major League Soccer team in Columbus, Ohio, announced Tuesday morning it is exploring a move to Austin, along with continuing to pursue a new stadium in Columbus.

“Despite our investments and efforts, the current course is not sustainable,” Anthony Precourt, chief executive officer of Precourt Sports Ventures and chairman of Columbus Crew SC, said in a statement Tuesday morning. “This club has ambition to be a standard bearer in MLS, therefore we have no choice but to expand and explore all of our options.

“This includes a possible move to Austin, which is the largest metropolitan area in North America without a major league sports franchise,” the statement said. “Soccer is the world’s game, and with Austin’s growing presence as an international city, combined with its strong multicultural foundation, MLS in Austin could be an ideal fit.”

A relocation to Austin is not possible without a stadium plan, the Crew owner told the American-Statesman Tuesday morning.

“It would be a privately financed stadium in Austin, and I really think it can get done,” Precourt said. “We are not asking for tax dollars. We are just initiating the process. A huge key to this is finding the right site. That will take time.”

Precourt said he’ll need financial help bringing the team here.

“We will look for local investors in Austin,” he said. “We will look for stragic partnerships with people or groups who can get this done.”

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber supports the Crew SC’s possible move to Austin.

“As attendance League-wide continues to grow on a record-setting pace, and markets across the country seek to join MLS, Columbus’ situation is particularly concerning,” Garber said. “Despite PSV’s significant investments and improvements on and off the field, Columbus Crew SC is near the bottom of the League in all business metrics and the Club’s stadium is no longer competitive with other venues across MLS.

“The League is very reluctant to allow teams to relocate, but based on these factors, we support PSV’s efforts to explore options outside of Columbus, including Austin, provided they find a suitable stadium location.”

Columbus Crew SC was the first charter granted in Major League Soccer in 1996. Crew officials have recognized its growing disparity in attendance and corporate support compared with its MLS peers and other midsize markets, such as Kansas City, Orlando, Portland and Salt Lake City.

Columbus wants a downtown stadium, whether it is in the capital city of Ohio or Texas.

Precourt, a Northern Californian with few ties to the Ohio capital, has visited Austin several times in recent years and been in conversation with Austin leaders, multiple sources told the American-Statesman. SI.com’s Grant Wahl was the first to report the intention late Monday.

“He wants to move to Austin,” a Columbus business leader said. “He may mention Cincinnati and Phoenix, but it’s Austin he really wants.”

An MLS source agreed that while Austin is being used for leverage, the first option is to move to Austin.

University of Texas athletic director Mike Perrin indicated his school would be interested in such an arrangement. Myers Stadium has a capacity of 20,000 — in the ballpark for MLS — and alcohol sales are allowed.

“We are aware of MLS interest in Austin and have no opposition to exploring possible collaborative opportunities,” Perrin told the Statesman.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler shot down reports by other news outlets that there would be bond elections coming for a new stadium.

“I don’t know what it would be you would be putting on a ballot,” he told the Statesman. “You could put something on a ballot if there was going to be a bond election to finance a stadium, but nothing like that is in the works.”

Adler told KVUE that Austin would make an excellent MLS market.

“Exciting news because Major League Soccer would be a huge success in Austin, and the Crew would find tons of fan support,” he said. “There is a lot of benefit that being in Austin would give a team, too, though not public funding of a stadium.”

Earlier this year, Major League Soccer registered “Austin FC” and “Austin Athletic” as trademarks. MLS executive vice president Dan Courtemanche told the Statesman that Austin would not be considered for one of the four remaining expansion slots but did not respond to a question about relocation.

An Austin soccer source said he was told MLS Commissioner Don Garber sent a letter to owners explaining the potential Columbus move. Garber has previously praised Austin as having the right vibe and demographics for his league.

The Crew had an affiliation with the Austin Aztex of the United Soccer League for one year, 2015, before the Aztex were suspended amid a sea of debt. The Aztex reported an average home attendance of 3,227 playing in high school football stadiums.

The Crew relocation is one of two efforts to bring professional soccer back to Austin after the Aztex were suspended. Circuit of the Americas chairman Bobby Epstein announced this summer he is bringing USL pro soccer back to Austin in 2019, and they will play in a new 5,000-seat stadium at the race track.

Epstein is not involved with Precourt’s group and said he will take a wait-and-see approach about the Crew’s possible move to Austin.

Columbus is near the bottom of MLS in attendance and franchise worth. Columbus’ home average of 15,439 fans ranks 20th of 22 teams, ahead of only Colorado and Dallas. The Crew SC is worth $123 million, according to Forbes Magazine, ranking 21st.

Mapfre Stadium, capacity 22,555, is the original purpose-built stadium in MLS and also the oldest, opening in 1999, and is showing signs of wear and tear.

The timing of the reports is curious. The Crew, the 2008 MLS Cup champions, qualified for the postseason as the Eastern Conference’s fifth seed. The playoff start next week.

“Our interest in Austin is very sincere,” Precourt said. “(I) have a longstanding affinity for it.”

Staff writers Kirk Bohls and Katie Hall contributed to this story.

Dale Jr., Amy Earnhardt expecting baby girl

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is going to be a dad.

The NASCAR driver and his wife, Amy Earnhardt, made Instagram posts announcing they are expecting a baby girl, according to NASCAR.com.

>> Read more trending news

“Excited to share the wonderful news that @mrsamyearnhardt and I are expecting our first child. A little girl!!!! We are both thrilled and can’t wait to meet her,” Dale Earnhardt Jr., 43, captioned his post Monday. Amy Earnhardt reposted the same image with his message and heart-eyed emojis.

The couple got married in a New Year’s Eve ceremony in 2016.

Roger Goodell’s wife had fake Twitter account to support husband against social media opponents

No one really knows who owns social media accounts. Case in point: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the wife of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had set up a Twitter account to defend her husband against negative comments on the social media platform.

>> Read more trending news 

Jane Skinner Goodell had set up the account @forargument under the assumed name  of Jones smith and used it to defend the top man in the NFL online. The account has been deleted since it came to light after The Wall Street Journal’s investigation, ESPN reported.

Skinner Goodell, who is a former Fox News host, admitted to owning the account, telling The Wall Street Journal that, “It was a really silly thing to do and done out of frustration -- and love,” CBS Sports reported.

New Marlins owner Derek Jeter on taking a knee: ‘Peaceful protest is fine’

Now that Derek Jeter is in an ownership position, he is faced with answering questions about protests during the national anthem. 

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During a dinner Wednesday night for his Turn 2 Foundation, Jeter was asked about his views on players protesting during the national anthem. While he wouldn’t say if he would take a knee, the future Hall of Famer and new Miami Marlins co-owner has no problem if his players wanted to protest.

“Peaceful protest is fine,” Jeter, who is biracial, told the New York Post. “You have a right to voice your opinion, as long as it’s a peaceful protest.”

The protests began last year with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sat and knelt during the anthem to protest racial injustice. Many NFL players, like the Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Bennett, Philadelphia Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins and the Miami Dolphins’ Kenny Stills, have followed Kaepernick by sitting or holding a fist in the air while the anthem is being played this season. 

After President Donald Trump said players who protest during the anthem should be fired -- calling them SOBs in the process -- many more joined the peaceful demonstrations. 

“The thing that I think is probably frustrating with this whole rhetoric that’s going back and forth is people lose sight of why someone was kneeling,” Jeter told the New York Post. “They’re focused so much on the fact they are kneeling, as opposed to what they are kneeling for.”

Athletes across different sports are following in the NFL players’ footsteps. In the NHL, Tampa Bay Lightning winger J.T. Brown raised a fist during the national anthem last Saturday, for which he received death threats. One player in the MLB, Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell, has taken a knee.

College football player cut from team after kneeling for national anthem

A Pennsylvania quarterback is off his college team after he knelt for the national anthem for the second game in a row.

>> Do students have to stand for the Pledge, anthem?

Gyree Durante, a sophomore, is a second-string quarterback at Albright College in Reading. He said his decision to kneel was a protest against racism and social injustices in the nation. Durante, who is a native of Norristown, told WCAU: “At some point in life, there’s going to be a time when you’ve got to take a stand. For me, it just happened to be on Saturday afternoon.”

>> On Rare.us: A San Francisco 49ers player went after VP Mike Pence for leaving the football game

A spokeswoman for the college said the decision to stand during the anthem was agreed upon by the entire team. She says the team agreed to kneel during the coin toss and stand during the anthem. The spokeswoman explained that the decision to kneel was done “out of the mutual respect team members have for one another and the value they place on their differences.” Her statement went on to say that Durante’s decision to kneel showed that he “chose not to support team unity,” leading to his dismissal from the team.

>> Pence abruptly leaves Colts game after players take a knee during anthem

Durante’s teammates said they believe their colleague broke the trust of the team. One freshman said: "Time and time again he told us he would stand. … When you can’t have a player on a team that you can trust, he’s got to go.”

>> Read more trending news

Read more here.

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