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San Francisco 49ers condemn racist messages sent to Arizona Cardinals’ Budda Baker



SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers publicly condemned the person who sent racist messages to Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker and announced that they have begun an investigation into identifying the fan.

Baker took to Twitter on Monday afternoon to show screen shots he had received in his Instagram direct messages from someone who attacked him with a variety of racial slurs. Along with screenshots of the messages, Baker wrote “I’m all good with opposing fans talking trash but this right here man. All you can do is pray for people like this.”

The Niners issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon, condemning the person sent the messages and made it clear they would no longer be welcome at their games or events.

“The San Francisco 49ers unequivocally denounce the racist messages sent to Budda Baker. The individual who sent the messages does not represent the 49ers or the Faithful. Per team policy, we are working to identify this person and will ban them from all 49ers games and events.

“Incidents like this demonstrate how much work remains to be done to address racism and hate in our society. We remain steadfast in our commitment to that work.”

Niners chief executive officer Jed York echoed that message via Twitter, writing “Sadly, these incidents occur far too often. Permitting these individuals to go unchecked allows racism and hate to spread. I urge other teams in the world of sport to consider our policy of banning those who seek to tear others down with racial slurs and threats of violence.”

The person in question seemed to be blaming Baker for Niners tight end George Kittle‘s sprained left knee. Baker delivered a hit to Kittle’s legs on a ball thrown too high by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo late in the second quarter of Arizona’s 24-20 win against the Niners on Sunday. The fan accused Baker of trying to go after Kittle’s knees.

After missing a snap, Kittle returned and finished the game. He defended Baker on Tuesday afternoon, posting a photo of he and Baker in game action with the caption “Nothing but respect 32 (Baker’s jersey number)! See you down the road.” Baker responded to Kittle’s post with “Always Respect Bro.”

Kittle and Baker, who both entered the league in 2017, have had a series of hotly contested matchups over the past few seasons, but Kittle said last week that he and Baker have enjoyed a friendly rivalry and even were among the first to text each other when each received a lucrative contract extension before the season.

“We have a very, we have a mutual respect for each other,” Kittle said on Sept. 10. “Budda is a hell of a football player … I love watching Budda play. He’s a monster. He’s all over the field. … We compete at a very high level, we have a lot of intensity and we both love the game of football. What more do you want in a matchup?”

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Falcons’ Hayden Hurst shares support for Cowboys’ Dak Prescott speaking on mental health



Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst said he approached Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott after Sunday’s game to express his support in the wake of what Hurst called “disgusting” comments made by Fox Sports 1’s Skip Bayless about Prescott’s opening up about his mental health.

Prescott recently shared in an episode of “In Depth with Graham Bensinger” that he sought help in the offseason for anxiety and depression brought on by the death of his older brother, Jace, and the coronavirus pandemic. Jace Prescott died by suicide in April. Dak Prescott also lost his mother to colon cancer in 2013.

In response to Prescott’s comments, Bayless said on his “Undisputed” show, “I don’t have sympathy for [Prescott] going public with, ‘I got depressed’ and ‘I suffered depression early in COVID to the point that I couldn’t even go work out.’ Look, he’s the quarterback of America’s team.” Fox later issued a statement condemning Bayless’ remarks.

Hurst, who has been open about attempting suicide and dealing with anxiety and depression, said he was appalled by Bayless’ words.

“To be totally honest with you, when I saw what Skip Bayless said, it just really upset me — that Dak had the courage to come out and talk about that and how it affected his family, how it affected him — and those [Bayless] comments, I thought, were just disgusting,” Hurst told ESPN on Tuesday night. “For a guy to come out and talk about that topic and use his platform to try and help and save lives, I’ve got nothing but respect for him because I know how hard it is going through stuff like that.

“It hit my family hard. My uncle killed himself. My cousin killed himself. And I had my own stuff with addiction and my attempted suicide. I know how much courage it takes to come out and talk about that. And for a guy like [Bayless] to blast Dak on his show, on national television, I think that’s just wrong. So I wanted to go up to Dak and talk to him and tell him how much I appreciated it.”

Following the Cowboys’ 40-39 win over the Falcons on Sunday, video captured Hurst stopping Prescott to say, “Hey, I’ve got a lot of respect for what did, came out and talked about. Me and my mom have a foundation about suicide prevention. Respect the hell out of you for talking about it, man.”

Prescott responded with a suggestion that they collaborate one day, to which Hurst replied, “Absolutely.”

“I thought it was awesome,” Hurst told ESPN. “I’m sure Dak Prescott doesn’t really know who I am. But I know the courage that takes, because a lot of people don’t like talking about mental health. They’re afraid to talk about it. They’re embarrassed. If guys like Dak Prescott can come out and talk about it, I think he’s going to save a lot of lives. I think that’s cool. I admire him. And I’ll be a Dak Prescott fan forever. I think he’s an awesome guy.”

Hurst previously shared his story about attempting suicide in January 2016 when he was in college at South Carolina. He had an unsuccessful stint in minor league baseball as a pitcher due to a throwing condition known as “the yips,” started using drugs and drinking heavily, then tried to slit his wrist. He survived what he called his “come to Jesus moment” and now tries to educate others about dealing with depression.

Hurst established the Hayden Hurst Foundation with his mother, Cathy, to raise awareness of mental health issues in children and adolescents by funding mental health services and programs through donations and fundraising events. The foundation will host a charity golf event Oct. 19 in Atlanta.

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New York Giants adding Devonta Freeman on 1-year, $3 million deal



EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants are signing former Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman after losing Saquon Barkley for the season.

Freeman and the Giants agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $3 million, Freeman’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday. Freeman will sign the contract Wednesday morning, practice with the Giants later Wednesday and could play as soon as Sunday.

“Devonta turned down more money from other teams because he likes the opportunity with the Giants best,” Rosenhaus told Schefter.

Barkley tore the ACL in his right knee in Sunday’s 17-13 loss to the Chicago Bears. Dion Lewis took every snap in his absence.

Freeman, 28, spent the first six years of his career with the Atlanta Falcons. He has two 1,000-yard rushing seasons (2015-16) and has averaged 4.2 yards per carry throughout his career.

But Freeman had 656 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 184 carries (3.6 ypc) last season. The Falcons let him walk as a free agent this offseason and instead signed Todd Gurley.

Freeman had other opportunities this offseason. He turned down a deal that could have been worth $3 million with the Seattle Seahawks and recently visited with the Philadelphia Eagles.

But the Giants currently offer Freeman the best opportunity for touches with Barkley lost for the season. They have Lewis and Wayne Gallman on the active roster. Veteran Rod Smith is on the practice squad.

“Wayne and Dion are definitely guys that will factor in,” coach Joe Judge said Monday. “We’ll work to their strengths, they are two different types of backs. Both of them have a degree of toughness. Wayne’s got that long speed, get him ranging out and get him really moving. Dion’s got that real good short area quickness and burst to get going. He does a great job of finding small seams and getting through the hole. They are both different guys, we’re going to have to work with what they do well to give them an opportunity to be successful.”

Now add Freeman, who visited the Giants on Tuesday, to the mix.

Barkley was placed on injured reserve earlier Tuesday. Cornerback Ryan Lewis was added to the active roster.

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Facial hair faceoff: Gardner Minshew’s mustache vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick’s beard – Jacksonville Jaguars Blog



JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Thursday night’s game between the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars can certainly be called the “mane” event.

When it comes to the quarterbacks, anyway, because Ryan Fitzpatrick and the NFL’s best beard will face off against Gardner Minshew and the league’s most recognizable mustache at TIAA Bank Field (8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network) .

If you have no allegiance to either team, it might be tough for you to pick your side (burns): full beard or mustache?

Are you Team Grizzly Adams or Team Burt Reynolds?

Chuck Norris or Sam Elliott?

Santa Claus or Teddy Roosevelt?

OK, we’ll stop now.

Blame Fitzpatrick for starting the beard versus mustache debate. He was asked on Tuesday about the game, and Fitzpatrick joked about it being a contest between the two.

“The mustaches versus the beard. … I think the beard is cooler,” Fitzpatrick said, via Josh Tolentino of The Athletic. “Guys that grow mustaches have patchy sides.”

Minshew said he didn’t feel the need to defend his mustache, which is technically a horseshoe since it drops below his mouth on either side, but did add that he has had a full beard before — the implication being that he looked damn good with it, too.

“I’ll let [his mustache] speak for itself,” Minshew said. “I think I’ve shown I can grow a beard with no patchy sides.

“But, you know, I’m going to have respect for my elders, especially when they’re much, much elder. Be respectful.”

Minshew, by the way, turned 24 in May. Fitzpatrick is 37 and turns 38 in November.

Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen naturally is going to support his teammate, but he did admit that he likes Fitzpatrick’s beard and the way it spills out over the chinstrap of his helmet.

“I was just thinking about that yesterday. I was looking at it, and this dude does have a really good beard,” Allen said. “But you can’t beat a ‘stache, though. You know what I mean? Gardner doesn’t just have a little [mustache] — he rocks his. You’ve got a lot of guys that try to do the little thing Gardner does, and it just doesn’t look right. So I feel like everybody can rock a nice beard. I’ve got me a little beard. It’s not like his [Fitzpatrick’s], but I rock mine.

“A lot of people can’t do what Gardner does, so I’m going to have to rock with my dog and keep that mustache game going.”

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