Sat, Sep 24, 2016 - Page 16 News List

NFL gives green light to weekend Charlotte game


The Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton celebrates a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers in the second half of their NFL game in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Sunday.

Photo: AP

Tomorrow’s NFL game in Charlotte between the Carolina Panthers and Minnesota Vikings will go ahead as planned despite two nights of violent protests in North Carolina’s largest city, the league said on Thursday.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency during Wednesday night’s rioting, sparked after Keith Scott, 43, was shot dead the previous day by a black police officer outside a Charlotte apartment complex.

“We are planning to play the game as scheduled,” the league said in a statement.

“We are monitoring events in Charlotte and have been in communication with local officials and authorities, and both the Carolina Panthers and the Minnesota Vikings,” it said.

One man was critically wounded by a gunshot during Wednesday’s rioting, and at least eight more civilians and four police officers were injured and 44 people arrested for charges ranging from assault to failure to disperse.

Many of the protesters dispute the official account of Scott’s death. Police contend that he was carrying a gun when he approached officers and ignored repeated orders to drop it.

Scott’s family and a witness have said he was holding a book, not a firearm, when he was killed.

Carolina Panthers president Danny Morrison said in a statement: “We are in contact with government officials, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the NFL. We are continuing to monitor events as we prepare for Sunday’s [tomorrow’s] home game.”

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, on Wednesday weighed in on Scott’s shooting and the topic of social justice.

“I’m a firm a believer of justice. I’m a firm believer of doing the right thing,” Newton said.

“And I can’t repeat it enough of just holding people accountable... I am not happy with what or how the justice has been kind of dealt with over the years. The police brutality ... it’s embarrassing to even talk about,” he said.

Several NFL players have raised fists or knelt during pre-game performances of the US national anthem this season, a protest started by San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the pre-season.

Kaepernick was the first player to make a public gesture against injustice and police brutality when he refused to stand for The Star-Spangled Banner, a policy he has continued in recent weeks.

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