There is an excitement in these Chinese arenas each time the Warriors push the tempo.

Field goal Kansas City. It takes the Chiefs just two plays to drive into the red zone. But Smith throws three straight incompletions and Kansas City settles for three points, cutting its deficit to 19-13 with 2:17 remaining.

Touchdown Steelers. Roethlisberger’s pass is deflected, but Antonio Brown makes an incredible one-handed catch, runs down the sideline and into the end zone to increase Pittsburgh’s advantage to two possessions, 19-10, with 3:24 to play.

“The debate has been going on, both at the national level, but importantly at the state level in capitals around the country,” Lockhart said. “A key area is coming together and using the strength and the muscle of the players of the platform they have and the league has.”

Before their Sept. 25 game against the Arizona Cardinals, the Cowboys players, coaches and staff, including Jones, stood locked arm in arm and took a knee before the anthem. During the anthem, they stood arm in arm. In the past two games, the Cowboys have stood on the sideline as they had before President Trump’s initial comments.

Defensive linemen Damontre Moore and David Irving raised their fists at the end of the national anthem before Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers. They told Cowboys coach Jason Garrett that they did so “well after” the anthem, and the coach said they would not be disciplined.

If the NFL (as well as all professional sports leagues) is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful political protest — which the owners themselves made great theater imitating weeks ago — should not be punished and athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the Executive Branch of our government. Such a precedent threatens all patriotic Americans and harkens back to our darkest days as a nation. Protecting all athletes from such collusive conduct is what compelled Mr. Kaepernick to file his grievance.tigers_001

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