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    The NFL’s two-month old national anthem policy is on hold.

    Hours after The Associated Press reported that Miami Dolphins players who protest on the field during the anthem could be suspended for up to four games under a team policy issued this week Ray Lewis Jersey , the league and the players union issued a joint statement late Thursday night saying the two sides are talking things out.

    ”The NFL and NFLPA, through recent discussions, have been working on a resolution to the anthem issue. In order to allow this constructive dialogue to continue, we have come to a standstill agreement on the NFLPA’s grievance and on the NFL’s anthem policy. No new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing,” the statement read. ”The NFL and NFLPA reflect the great values of America, which are repeatedly demonstrated by the many players doing extraordinary work in communities across our country to promote equality, fairness and justice. Our shared focus will remain on finding a solution to the anthem issue through mutual, good faith commitments, outside of litigation.”

    The issue has dominated headlines over the past two seasons, caused division and alienated some fans.

    The NFL rule that was passed in May forbid players from sitting or taking a knee if they are on the field or sidelines during ”The Star-Spangled Banner,” but allowed them to stay in the locker room if they wish. The policy said teams would be fined if players didn’t stand during the anthem while on the field. The league left it up to teams on how to punish players.

    None of the team policies had been made public until the AP obtained a copy of Miami’s nine-page discipline document. It included a one-sentence section on ”Proper Anthem Conduct” and was provided to the AP by a person familiar with the policy who insisted on anonymity because the document is not public. It classifies anthem protests under a large list of ”conduct detrimental to the club,” all of which could lead to a paid or unpaid suspension, a fine or both.

    The Dolphins said in a statement: ”The NFL required each team to submit their rules regarding the anthem before their players reported to training camp. We will address this issue once the season starts. All options are still open.”

    Miami can choose not to issue any suspension nor fine any player guilty of ”conduct detrimental to the club.” Other violations under that label include drug use or possession, gambling, breaking curfew and riding motorcycles as a driver or passenger from the start of camp until the last game of the season.

    Jets acting owner Christopher Johnson said shortly after the league announced its policy that he will not punish his players for any peaceful protests – and would pay any potential fines incurred by the team as a result of his players’ actions.

    The new league rules were challenged this month in a grievance by the players union. The NFLPA said the NFL policy, which the league imposed without consultation with the players union, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights. Now Andre Reed Jersey , the two sides are hoping to reach a solution without litigation.

    Dolphins veteran receiver Kenny Stills took a knee with a hand on his heart during the anthem throughout last season. Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips put his arm around Stills before one game. Two other players who knelt – safety Michael Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas – are no longer with the team.

    Defensive end Robert Quinn, who raised his fist during the anthem while with the Rams, is now with the Dolphins.

    ”Players who are on the field during the Anthem performance must stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem,” says the 16th and final bullet point on Miami’s list of conduct considered detrimental, below disparaging teammates, coaches or officials including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

    The NFL started requiring players to be on the field for the anthem in 2009 – the year it signed a marketing deal with the military.

    In 2016, then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began protesting police brutality, social injustice and racial inequality by kneeling during the national anthem, and the demonstration spread to other players and teams.

    Critics led by President Donald Trump called the players unpatriotic and even said NFL owners should fire any player who refused to stand during the anthem. Some players countered that their actions were being misconstrued and that they are seeking social change rather than protesting the anthem itself.

    Trump’s criticism led more than 200 players to protest during one weekend, and some kept it up throughout the season.

    The league and a coalition of players have been working in tandem to support player initiatives for a variety of social issues. The NFL is committing $90 million over the next seven years to social justice causes in a three-segment plan that involves league players.

    Kaepernick didn’t play at all last season and still hasn’t been picked up by another team. He threw 16 touchdown passes and four interceptions in his final season in 2016. Safety Eric Reid, one of Kaepernick’s former teammates and another protest leader, is also out of work.

    Both have filed collusion grievances against the NFL.

    AP Sports Writer Steven Wine in Miami, AP Sports Writer Dennis Waszak in New York and AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner in New York contributed to this report.

    The first taste of the NBA playoffs for Timberwolves All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns has been rather bitter, thanks to the 3-point-happy Houston Rockets.

    The two-game totals tell a frustrating story for the 22-year-old: just 13 points, 5 for 18 shooting and a 2-0 deficit in the series against the Rockets. Towns has found himself the subject of pointed criticism from analysts, fans and even his own team.

    The switch-heavy Rockets have double-teamed Towns to a stifling effect, and the Timberwolves sure haven’t helped their 7-footer out by getting him the ball in favorable situations in the post.

    ”They’re coming to double. He knows that. He has to face up Shaq Lawson Jersey , be strong with the ball, make quick moves,” point guard Jeff Teague said. ”But we have to figure out how to get him running, get him some easy buckets.”

    The team’s struggles have taken a little luster off Minnesota’s first postseason home game in 14 years, but the fans who remember the Timberwolves reaching the Western Conference finals in 2004 will surely be eager to witness the playoffs in person no matter the daunting challenge in this first round.

    ”This organization, all of our fans, they deserve this moment,” Towns said.

    And they want a win.

    The Timberwolves host the Rockets on Saturday night in Game 3. Earlier in the day, Miami takes on Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference and New Orleans hosts Portland, both in Game 4. Later, Utah visits Oklahoma City in Game 3.

    Towns tried his best to shrug off the bad vibes and stinging rebukes when speaking with reporters on Friday.

    ”You dwell too much on the past, you forget that you’ve got to take care of the present,” Towns said.

    The chatter on TV and Twitter, he said, has escaped him.

    ”I live my life very Amish-like,” Towns said. ”Other than video games, I don’t think I have a reason for electronics. It’s a life that I’ve always loved.”

    76ERS AT HEAT

    76ers lead 2-1. Game 4 J’Mon Moore Jersey , 2:30 p.m. EDT, TNT

    NEED TO KNOW: It’s simple: The team that has imposed its will is 3-0 in this series. Philadelphia took the pace where it wanted it in Games 1 and 3. Miami out-toughed the 76ers in Game 2. The Heat have to find a way to keep Philadelphia’s 3-point shooting in check; the 76ers made 18 shots from beyond the arc in Game 3. Joel Embiid is back from a concussion and a broken bone around his eye, and an already-confident Philadelphia bunch seems to have even more swagger now.

    KEEP AN EYE ON: 76ers guard Marco Belinelli. The 76ers are 25-6 when he plays and 14-1 when he scores at least 15 points. In this series, he’s 13 for 27 on shots from 20 feet and deeper, and many of those makes have been daggers for Miami.

    PRESSURE IS ON: Heat center Hassan Whiteside . Backups Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo have played a combined 145 minutes in this series, while Whiteside has played only 41, with 11 points, nine fouls, seven turnovers and three field goals in the three games. There’s no room for error now for Miami, so either Whiteside will figure it out fast in Game 4 or the Heat will get someone else into his spot.

    HISTORY LESSON: This is the fourth time in Dwyane Wade’s career that the Heat have trailed an Eastern Conference opponent 2-1. In the three previous Game 4s in that scenario, Miami has won all three with Wade averaging 26.7 points in those second-round games against Indiana (2004 and 2012) and Toronto (2016).

    TRAIL BLAZERS AT PELICANS

    Pelicans lead 3-0. Game 4, 5 p.m. EDT, TNT.

    NEED TO KNOW: The sixth-seeded Pelicans are on the cusp of a surprising sweep of the third-seeded Blazers, and their margin of victory has grown in each game. They dominated Game 3, leading by as many as 20 points in the first half and 33 in the second. Veteran guard Rajon Rondo has masterfully run the offense, and the Pelicans have played unselfishly with a different scoring leader in each game: Anthony Davis with 35 in Game 1, Jrue Holiday with 33 in Game 2 and Nikola Mirotic with 30 in Game 3.

    KEEP AN EYE ON: Portland’s body language Patrick Willis Jersey , intensity and aggressiveness. Guard Damian Lillard challenged the Blazers to ramp up those aspects of their game, stressing that the Pelicans were ”a lot more aggressive than we were and we didn’t dish it back out. I think in the playoffs and in a situation like this, when a team is coming for you like that, you’ve got to maybe go out of your way to do it back, even if that means foul trouble or some altercations happen out there.”

    PRESSURE IS ON: Lillard. The Pelicans have sold out to stop the Portland star, who missed nine of 14 shots in Game 3. ”It’s either going to be a tough shot, or I’ve got to give the ball up,” Lillard said. ”I’ve got to trust making the right play, and when it comes time I’ve got to take my chances and I’ve got to take those tough shots.”

    INJURY UPDATE: Blazers starting forward Evan Turner missed Game 3 because of a toe injury in Game 2. The team did not update his status on Friday.

    ROCKETS AT TIMBERWOLVES

    Rockets lead 2-0. Game 3, 7:30 p.m. EDT, ESPN.

    NEED TO KNOW: The Rockets cruised to a 20-point victory in Game 2 despite only 12 points on a staggering 2-for-18 shooting performance by James Harden. After squandering their chance to steal Game 1 on the road in a three-point loss, the Wolves are back home in a big hole against the team with the best record in the NBA. They’ll need a big boost from a home crowd celebrating the team’s return to the postseason to send the series back to Houston for a Game 5.

    KEEP AN EYE ON: Ger Authentic Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jerseys

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