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Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown says he’d never kneel during national anthem

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Jim Brown has spent much of his post-NFL career fighting for social justice and change.

However, the Hall of Fame running back says he would never kneel during the national anthem.

The 82-year-old Brown, who championed civil rights during his playing career and became an activist in retirement, said Tuesday night that he respects players’ rights to do what they want but his preference is they would stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“I’ll never kneel and I will always respect the flag,” said Brown, who spoke before an HBO premiere of “Hard Knocks,” which is chronicling the Cleveland Browns in training camp.

Brown was asked how he would resolve the anthem issue, which has shadowed the league for two years.

“Well, if you take the bottom line, what are we talking about? We’re talking about freedom to express one’s self, and if you don’t break any rules then you have that particular right,” he said.

“I am not going to denigrate my flag and I’m going to stand for the national anthem. I’m fighting with all of my strength to make it a better country, but I don’t think that’s the issue. Because what is the top side? Are you not going to stand up? This is our country, man.

“We work hard to make it better and that’s my attitude, so I don’t relate to this issue because it’s newsworthy because where are your superstars? And where are they at? Aren’t they making comments?”

Protests during the anthem have enveloped the league since former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest social injustice.

The NFL modified its anthem protocol in May, prohibiting demonstrations for 2018, but allowing players to remain in the locker room during the anthem.

The NFL Players Assn. filed a grievance, and the change has been tabled while the NFL and the union work on a resolution.

Sunday Night Football odds favor Patriots hosting unbeaten Chiefs

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It’s rare for an unbeaten team to be an underdog this far into the NFL season, and the Kansas City Chiefs have thrived when they get points.

The New England Patriots, led by Tom Brady, are 3.5-point favorites on the Sunday Night Football odds against Kansas City with a 59.5-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The line isn’t entirely based on mystique, as the OddsShark NFL Database shows that the Patriots are 10-0 straight-up and 9-1 against the spread in their last 10 home games with an average winning margin of 16.0 points, as well as 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games at night. However, the Chiefs and dynamic young quarterback Patrick Mahomes II also have some eye-popping trends, such as being 7-1 SU and ATS in their last eight games as an underdog.

The Chiefs, who have covered every week this season, are also 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games after consecutive ATS wins.

Kansas City, which is 5-0 SU and ATS on the year, has not been contained offensively for four quarters this season, with Mahomes showing one of the livest passing arms the NFL has seen since Aaron Rodgers came into the league. Mahomes and his blocking group will be facing a limited pass rush with the third-fewest sacks in the NFL, although New England is holding opponents to 6.6 yards per pass, third-best in the league.

Running back Kareem Hunt torched the Patriots during a Kansas City win in 2017, and the Patriots’ focus on tight end Travis Kelce could create favorable matchups for Tyreek Hill. The bottom line is that the Chiefs have the capability to win a shootout.

Only three quarterbacks under age 25 have defeated the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in the Bill Belichick era – the Baltimore Ravens’ Joe Flacco and the New York Jets’ Mark Sanchez in 2009 and 2010 playoff games, and Colin Kaepernick in 2012 when the San Francisco 49ers were an eventual Super Bowl runner-up.

New England, which is 3-2 SU and 3-2 ATS, typically rounds into form around this stage of this season, as evidenced by a record of 10-2 SU and 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 home games in October. Brady’s offense is facing a Chiefs defense that is hollowed-out at a linebacker and safety with Justin Houston (hamstring) and Eric Berry (heel) both considered doubtful.

The Chiefs have allowed the most yards in the NFL and New England, based on its track record, should be closer to the sum of its parts in the passing phase with tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receivers Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon playing their second game of the season together.

Kansas City’s defensive issues could affect the total, although perhaps not in the way one might expect. The Chiefs are yielding an NFL-worst 5.8 yards per rush and the Patriots may try to grind down the tempo with Brady’s short passing game and runs by rookie running back Sony Michel.

The total has gone OVER in 10 of the Chiefs’ last 14 games at night. The total has gone OVER in six of the Chiefs’ last eight road games as the underdog. The total has gone OVER in seven of the Patriots’ last 10 games at home against teams with winning records.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

How to watch Chiefs vs. Patriots on Sunday Night Football

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The New England Patriots are set to host the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs in a heavyweight showdown on Sunday Night Football, which airs Sunday at 8:20 p.m. ET.

Tom Brady and the Patriots (3-2) come into this big matchup on a two-game winning streak after taking care of business against the Dolphins and Colts at home. More importantly, New England’s offense is starting to hit its stride after trading for wide receiver Josh Gordon and getting wide receiver Julan Edelman back from suspension. Those two weapons, combined with tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back James White, and the emergence of rookie running back Sony Michel give Brady plenty of options in the passing game. However, it remains to be seen if they can keep up with the high-scoring Chiefs.

More coverage of Sunday Night Football

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs (5-0) have taken the NFL by storm. Mahomes began the season by throwing touchdowns at a record pace (13 through Week 3) and didn’t throw his first interception until he faced the vaunted Jaguars defense in Week 5. Similar to Brady, the second-year gunslinger has a plethora of weapons at his disposal, including running back Kareem Hunt and tight end Travis Kelce, in addition to wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins. With so much offensive firepower on both sides of the field, this game could come down to whichever quarterback gets the ball last.

Pregame coverage of Chiefs-Patriots and a recap of Week 6 begins with Football Night in America at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC.

How to watch Sunday Night Football:

What: Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots

When: Sunday, October 14, 2018

Football Night in America: 7:00 p.m. ET

SNF kickoff: 8:20 p.m ET

Where to watch: NBC, or right here