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NFL owners approve new national anthem policy, will fine teams that allow players to kneel

Update 4:52 p.m. ET: U.S. vice president Mike Pence has responded to the NFL decision on Twitter, using the hashtag #winning.

Update 1:21 p.m. ET: The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) issued a statement on the new NFL policy:

“The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new “policy.” NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about.

“The vote by NFL club CEOs today contradicts the statements made to our player leadership by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Chairman of the NFL’s Management Council John Mara about the principals, values and patriotism of our League.

Our union will review the new “policy” and challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement.”

Original story: NFL owners approved a new policy Wednesday regarding players who wish to kneel during the national anthem, according to a statement by the National Football League

>> Read more trending news 

According to the NFL, individual teams will have the ability to fine players and other personnel who do not stand and, “show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”

The change will go into effect for the upcoming season, according to the Washington Post.

Players who choose not to stand during the national anthem may stay in the locker room or off-field while it is being played. 

The official statement from the National Football League states:

“The 32 member clubs of the National Football League have reaffirmed their strong commitment to work alongside our players to strengthen our communities and advance social justice. The unique platform that we have created is unprecedented in its scope, and will provide extraordinary resources in support of programs to promote positive social change in our communities. 

The membership also strongly believes that:

  1. All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
  2. The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the Anthem.
  3. Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed.
  4. A club will be fined by the League if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
  5. Each club may develop its own work rules, consistent with the above principles, regarding its personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
  6. The Commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”

In an official statement on the NFL website, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote:

“The policy adopted today was approved in concert with the NFL’s ongoing commitment to local communities and our country — one that is extraordinary in its scope, resources, and alignment with our players. We are dedicated to continuing our collaboration with players to advance the goals of justice and fairness in all corners of our society. 

The efforts by many of our players sparked awareness and action around issues of social justice that must be addressed. The platform that we have created together is certainly unique in professional sports and quite likely in American business. We are honored to work with our players to drive progress. 

It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. This is not and was never the case. 

This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem. Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room until after the Anthem has been performed.

We believe today’s decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it—and on our fans who enjoy it.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s wife announces birth of baby girl

There’s a new Earnhardt on the racing scene.

>> Read more trending news

Amy Earnhardt announced the birth of Isla Rose Earnhardt on Twitter Tuesday morning.

“She’s finally here!” the wife of former NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted. “It feels like a dream. The best dream ever.”

It is the first child for the couple.

Dale Jr. has been busy since retiring from active racing, working as an analyst for NBC Sports Network’s “NASCAR America.” Before that, he covered the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics for NBC.

The baby was due May 2, but arrived a day early. Had she been born on April 29, she would have shared a birthday with her grandfather, the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., 43, and the former Amy Riemann, 36, were married on Dec. 31, 2016.

Cinco de Mayo: Five things you didn’t know

Cinco de Mayo is upon us. Many will be celebrating the holiday with margaritas and Mexican food.

>> Read more trending news  

Here are five facts about the Mexican holiday that you can use to impress your friends:

1) Despite a common misconception, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day. The holiday celebrates the  Battle of Puebla , where, against all odds, the Mexicans made a stand against an invading French army in 1862.

2) Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more in the United States than it is in Mexico, with the exception of the city of Puebla. Mexico holds more of a celebration on its  Independence Day, September 16, than it does on Cinco de Mayo.

3) The holiday means big business for the avocado industry. The  California Avocado Commission says that Americans consume around 81 million avocados during Cinco de Mayo.

4) Chandler, Arizona, has a unique way of celebrating Cinco de Mayo. It hosts a Chihuahua race every year.

>>  Quiz: How much do you know about Cinco de Mayo?

5) The 2010 U.S. Census estimates that about 31.8 million U.S. residents are of Mexican origin. The largest concentration of Mexican-Americans is in Los Angeles, the city that holds the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the U.S.

Party at Maloney’s On St. Paddy’s Day!

Get to Maloney’s Local Irish Pub in Westchase for the biggest St. Paddy’s Day Party in Tampa Bay!

Hang with us and get your Paddy melted by Pitbull Toddler. It all goes down at Maloney’s Local Irish Pub in Westchase on Saturday, March 17th with Bud Light, Pitbull Toddler and 102.5 The Bone!

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade star lineup announced

Big-named stars will headlining this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for 2017.

Jimmy Fallon, Smokey Robinson, Wyclef Jean and Leslie Odom, Jr. will be joining 98 Degrees and the Goo Goo Dolls for the annual New York City spectacular, People reported.

>> Read more trending news

Broadway will also highlight new shows like “Anastasia,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Once on This Island” and “Spongebob Squarepants.”

Don’t forget about the massive balloons the parade is known for.

This year Olaf will join the parade, along with Chase from “Paw Patrol.”

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will kick off at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving.

Photos: Target’s hot holiday toys for 2017

What toys will be on your children’s holiday lists? Target says these are the hot toys this year.

Dragon Con thrills and chills

Photo: Tour de France cyclist shares shocking photo of veiny legs

People across the world marvel at athletes’ physiques and rightfully so. They train months, even years, to get in great shape. 

>> Read more trending news 

However, what people don’t always see is the grueling effect it has on the body. Polish cyclist Pawel Poljanski changed that this week when he shared a picture of his veiny, muscular legs on Instagram

Poljanski, who is competing in the Tour de France, captioned his photo: “After sixteen stages I think my legs look (a) little tired.”

In just 21 hours, the photo garnered more than 22,000 likes on Instagram and hundreds of comments. 

The image was also shared on Twitter, where users expressed awe and disgust.

Air Force Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro receives Pat Tillman Award at 2017 ESPYs

During the 2017 ESPY Awards Wednesday night, comedian and television host Jon Stewart presented U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro with the Pat Tillman Award for service. 

>> Read more trending news 

Del Toro was severely injured while on tour in Afghanistan in 2005 when his military truck drove over a bomb. Del Toro lost most of his fingers and more than 80 percent of his body was severely burned. He went into a coma for three months and was given a 15 percent chance of survival. When he awoke from the coma, he was told he likely wouldn’t be able to breathe or walk again on his own. 

Del Toro not only did both, he also used sports as rehabilitation, later competing in the Invictus Games, a sports competition for wounded service members. In 2014, he won a silver medal in powerlifting, and in 2016, he won gold in the shot put.

He was awarded Wednesday for his perseverance, military service and athletic pursuits, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“He found a way not just to survive against the odds, but to thrive. He is a study in strength, tenacity, bravery and service,” Stewart said, calling Del Toro “a soldier who has gone through pain and struggling you would not believe just to survive and be here tonight.”

Del Toro said he was honored and humbled to receive the award. 

“Receiving this award is still strange for me. I don’t see myself as someone special,” he said at the awards show. “Thank you for letting this guy who just had a bad day at work feel like someone special tonight.”

Del Toro talked about what it felt like to be tapped for the award last month.  

“I’m humbled for even being considered for this prestigious award named after Pat Tillman, a man I admire, but to actually receive this honor is unbelievable,” Del Toro said in a statement. “When I heard that Pat Tillman gave up a career in the NFL to serve his country after the 911 attacks, it gave me so much pride to call him a brother in arms. He truly is a shining example of Service Before Self. To Mrs. Tillman and the Pat Tillman Foundation, I give you my pledge that I’ll always try to live up to the true meaning of the Pat Tillman Award for Service in everything I do, and to represent his spirit to the best of my ability.”

Del Toro still serves in the military as an Air Force technician.

Pat Tillman, a former NFL player, left the league in 2002 to enlist in the Army after the Sept. 11 attacks. He was killed in Afghanistan in 2004.

U.S. Quidditch Cup, based on Harry Potter books, headed to Texas in 2018

Harry Potter fans, rejoice! The U.S. Quidditch Cup is headed to the Sports Capital of Texas next year.

»RELATED: J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter turns 20 | See how to celebrate

The organization announced the news earlier this week, revealing that the event will be held April 14-15 at the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex.

>> Read more trending news

“We are honored to host the players, families and fans in Round Rock for the U.S. Quidditch Cup in April 2018,” Round Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Nancy Yawn said in a release. “How exciting that the year of the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter, the Sports Capital of Texas gets to announce that the magical, competitive Quidditch national championships will be held here!”

U.S. Quidditch announced finalists for the location of the cup in May, which included Lubbock, Round Rock and Wichita Falls. The finalists were selected based on bids, which were evaluated on location of the bid, the quality of facilities, the amount of financial support and the level of community support, according to the release. Round Rock beat out the others mainly because of the ample room of its facility, it says. 

Though Round Rock has yet to start its own official team, the Austin area is home to two national championship winning teams: Texas Quidditch and Texas Cavalry. In the 2016-17 season, Texas had more teams registered with USQ than any other single state in the league, according to U.S. Quidditch. 

The Quidditch tournament, which first came to life in 2005, is a real-world adaptation of the game Harry Potter and his friends played in the popular book series. The magical sport involves two teams who “fly on brooms,” competing to score the most goals. It can be described as a cross between rugby, basketball and dodge ball.

Want to learn more about the competition? Find out about tickets and teams here

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