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Started by huangjian123 2018-08-21 at 02:17
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Jameis Winston's first order of business in training camp was apologizing to teammates.

Now Denzel Ward Jersey Browns , he's appealing for continued support from unhappy fans who think he no longer deserves to be the quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"I understand the disappointment. I'm disappointed," the fourth-year pro said Thursday, speaking publicly for the first time since the NFL suspended him three games for violating the league's personal conduct policy by groping a female Uber driver the winter after his rookie season.

"I should never have put myself in that situation," Winston added. "All I can do is grow and learn from that."

That was the underlying theme of a 10-minute media session following the Bucs' first practice. He declined to discuss specifics about the March 2016 incident in Scottsdale, Arizona, repeatedly saying he's focused on being a good teammate and moving forward.

"That happened after my rookie year," Winston said. "I've made a lot of positive changes since then."

The 24-year-old, who's thrown for 11,636 yards and 69 touchdowns in three pro seasons, will miss what figures to be three of Tampa Bay's toughest games ??at New Orleans on Sept. 9, followed by home dates against defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Veteran backup Ryan Fitzpatrick will take over in Winston's absence, with Ryan Griffin ??a fifth-year pro who's yet to take a snap in a regular-season game ??moving into the No. 2 role.

"It's disappointing that Jameis put himself in that position and put our team in that position," coach Dirk Koetter said. "But at this point, it's done and we have to deal with it."

Fitzpatrick, 2-1 in three starts last season as a replacement for an injured Winston, practiced with the regulars Thursday.

Griffin worked with the second-stringers, while Winston took snaps with the first Joe Montana Jersey Limited , second and third teams.

Koetter did not provide details about the incident that landed his starting quarterback in trouble. He also declined to talk about what Winston said to teammates on reporting day.

"I think everybody can appreciate that what's said in there should be between Jameis and the team," the coach said.

And while it won't be ideal opening the season without the No. 1 quarterback, Koetter expressed confidence that others will step up against the Saints, Eagles and Steelers, who are all defending division champions.

The Bucs, who haven't made the playoffs since 2007, are coming off a 5-11 finish.

"I think your team has a lot of leaders. Being a leader starts with being a leader of yourself. I talk to the guys about that often," Koetter said.

"I think that's one of Jameis' strengths as a football player ... But right now, where we're standing with the three-game suspension, it's time Jameis leads from the rear," the coach added. "And there's nothing wrong with that."

Winston, meanwhile, hopes fans will continue to support the Bucs as an organization, as well as him, personally.

Tampa Bay drafted him No. 1 overall despite questions about the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner's off-the-field behavior in college.

A fellow student at Florida State said Winston raped her, but the quarterback was never charged. The university settled a Title IX lawsuit over its handling of the allegations with Winston's accuser in January 2016 for $1.7 million.

Since joining the Bucs, Winston has started 45 of 48 games. He's also made an impact off the field through numerous charitable endeavors.

He reiterated he plans to remain active in the Tampa Bay community Authentic Josh Sweat Jersey , adding he "can't let this diminish all the hard work that I've been doing."

"I've made a lot of positive strides since I've been here. I have to continue to grow as a man, as a person, as a leader, as a father. I know I can't put myself in situations like that," Winston said.

The quarterback offered one more reason it's imperative he correct his behavior around women ??Winston's month-old son, born one day after the NFL announced the suspension.

"So seeing things from a different perspective, and learning that I'm going to have to teach that man how to live his day-to-day life," Winston said, "I really took it upon myself to be proactive and make sure I'm being a great example for him and my fiancee."

For victorious sports teams these days, the confetti and champagne are apt to be accompanied by a politically fraught question: Are you going to the White House?

What used to be one of the most innocuous photo-ops in sports is anything but. Going ??or not going ??has become a political statement in the era of President Donald Trump, who has managed to draw athletes into his game, whether they want to play or not.

"If you do go, you're associating yourself with his policies," said Howard Bryant, author of "The Heritage: Black Athletes, A Divided America and the Politics of Patriotism." ''If you don't go, you run the risk of branding yourself as not having enough respect for the office."

This week Adrian Clayborn Color Rush Jersey , Trump canceled a White House celebration for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles after it became clear very few players planned to attend.

Trump instead went to his go-to play: attacking as un-American the NFL players who have knelt during the national anthem to protest police killings of black men. (In truth, none of the Eagles took a knee this past season.)

In the NBA, both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors have already rejected a White House celebration, however their championship matchup turns out.

And the Villanova Wildcats ??this year's NCAA men's basketball champions, who also won in 2016 and celebrated with President Barack Obama ??will have to decide, if an invitation comes, whether to return to Washington for a ceremony with Trump.

"Sports are not a distraction from politics ??they are politics by a different means," said University of Southern California sociologist Ben Carrington. "Because Trump's administration is so highly charged, it's understandable that many players would refuse to attend. It's happened before, but never on this scale."

Before Trump took office, one of the biggest fusses to emerge from a White House victory celebration was the great flip-flop incident of 2005, when the Northwestern University women's lacrosse championship team wore the sandals to meet President George W. Bush.

In snubbing the Eagles, Trump praised other championship teams that have attended White House celebrations during his administration, among them the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Houston Astros.

Athletes are now being put in the position of taking a patriotic litmus test during their shining moment of victory, said Cornell University professor Grant Farred.

"It's incredibly difficult for these athletes, and not a choice they have imposed on themselves," Farred said. "A reporter is asking you about your win Aaron Rodgers Jersey Youth , and you're now having to deal with an obviously political question, not of your making. It's not a good situation to be in, one way or the other."

Asked about the feud on Wednesday, the Eagles tried to move on. Rather than answer reporters' questions, safety Malcolm Jenkins silently held up poster boards referring to problems he has worked to change, including urban violence and mass incarceration.

For two years, the NFL protests have divided fans, largely along racial lines, and given Trump a powerful issue with which to fire up his core supporters.

During the season, the president referred to the protesting players as "sons of bitches" and suggested at a rally in Alabama before a mostly white audience that they be fired. Last month, in response to the NFL owners' decision to punish kneeling, Trump said players who continue to protest "maybe shouldn't be in the country."

Farred said that while Trump is likely to return to the issue, he risks overplaying his hand: "How many swing voters can he afford to alienate?"

The question could come up again soon, with the Washington Capitals on the verge of winning the Stanley Cup against the Vegas Golden Knights. Though they may have to confront the question of whether to go to the White House, for most of the players, their patriotism would not be at issue.

Only three of the Capitals are American.

Follow Whack on Twitter at s://emarvelous.

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