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The first snippets of testimony have emerged from the depositions taken in the Colin Kaepernick collusion grievance. And it’s becoming even more obvious that the NFL changed its anthem policy at the direct behest of the President.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones
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, while testifying in the Kaepernick collusion grievance, shared the details of a phone call with the President.
鈥淭his is a very winning, strong issue for me,鈥?the President told Jones, according to Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal.聽鈥淭ell everybody, you can鈥檛 win this one. This one lifts me.”
The President was right. There was no way to win. Even by giving in.
Per Beaton, the NFL declined comment on the matter, citing the confidentiality that applies to the grievance proceedings. A White House official did not dispute the testimony.
“The majority of the American people agree with the president, love our country
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, love our flag and believe it should be respected,鈥?the White House official told Beaton. (This ignores the results of the NFL’s secret poll from last year, which showed that people both opposed and supported the protests that have been happening during the anthem. The NFL has chosen, however, to heed only the opinions of those who oppose the protests, possibly because that side reflects the President’s stated viewpoint.)
Beaton also reports that Jones, along with Texans owner Bob McNair and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, testified that they believed the protests were hurting the NFL financially. Which of course conflicts with recent statements from Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who justified the new contract given to Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan by claiming that league and club revenues are up.
Regardless of whether it’s rooted in fact
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, owners have chosen to believe that the protests are bad for business, in large part because the President had chosen to continue to stir up his base by chastising the NFL for allowing the protests. Which not only suggests that collusion arising from a mutual desire to placate the President may be influencing the ongoing unemployment of Kaepernick and Eric Reid, but also potentially bolsters the opinion of attorney Mark Geragos that the President may have run afoul of federal law by interfering with private employment decisions聽for political reasons.
Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin has four wins in four June starts. He’ll attempt to stay perfect in the month as the Phillies try to avoid being swept by the New York Yankees.
The teams meet Wednesday night in the finale of a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
The Phillies’ bats have been quieted by the Yankees’ staff in the first two games of the set. Philadelphia, now on a three-game losing streak, was shut out on Tuesday night and has just two runs on nine hits in the series.
“They beat us pretty good,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told reporters after Tuesday night’s 6-0 loss. “We just have to wear it and get ready for (Wednesday).”
The Yankees, meanwhile, have 10 runs on 17 hits in the pair of games against the Phillies and have bounced back with two wins after getting swept by the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend.
Eflin (5-2, 3.44 ERA) will try to cool off the Yankees
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, who led the majors in OPS and home runs as of Tuesday.
Eflin is 4-0 in four June starts. He has a 2.28 ERA and .594 opponent OPS with 22 strikeouts and only four walks over that span (23 2/3 innings). Most recently, Eflin gave up two runs in five innings against the Washington Nationals last Friday.
“Those are situations I’ve been working on the past couple years, being able to put guys away when I need to,” Eflin, who worked around six hits in the start, told MLB.com “Being able to do that and overcome that was huge. Looking forward to continuing that and getting deeper into games.”
Eflin will face the Yankees for the first time in his career on Wednesday,
The Yankees will send Luis Cessa (0-0, 3.00) to the mound for his first start of the season. Cessa spent two months on the disabled list this season with a strained oblique, but the 26-year-old has made four appearances out of New York’s bullpen. He pitched last Friday for the first time since April 17 and tossed two scoreless innings against the Rays.
“We have a lot of confidence in Cessa
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, that is the kind of role going into the season that we envisioned him in — the fifth, sixth starter and bullpen guy,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told the New York Post last week. “We feel he is built up enough and on line to be the best option that day.”
Boone noted that Cessa will be able to throw 70-80 pitches during his Wednesday start. Cessa has allowed two earned runs in six innings for the Yankees this season, and he is 2-7 with a 4.54 ERA in 14 career major league starts. He has never faced the Phillies.
Cessa could get more backing from a red-hot Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees left fielder and 2017 National League MVP has nine hits over his last three games and is 4-for-8 so far in the series. Stanton is hitting .459 with a 1.335 OPS, three homers, four doubles and nine RBIs over his last nine contests.
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