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Soccer

(AP) Megan Rapinoe said she will respect a new U.S. Soccer Federation policy that says national team players “shall stand respectfully” during national anthems.

The policy was approved last month but came to light Saturday before the U.S. women’s national team lost to England in a SheBelieves Cup match. A Fox Soccer analyst posted an image of the rule on Twitter.

The policy comes after Rapinoe knelt during the anthem at a pair of national team matches last year. The midfielder has said she wanted to express solidarity with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt last season in an attempt to bring attention to racial inequality.

“It is an honor to represent the USA and all that we stand for — to be able to pull on the red, white and blue to play a game that I love. I will respect the new bylaw the leadership at USSF has put forward. That said, I believe we should always value the use of our voice and platform to fight for equality of every kind,” Rapinoe said in a statement released Monday by her agent.

Rapinoe was not on the U.S. roster for the SheBelieves Cup tournament while she continues to regain her form after knee surgery. She also knelt last year during at least one game with the Seattle Reign, her National Women’s Soccer League team.

Policy 604-1 states: “All persons representing a Federation national team shall stand respectfully during the playing of national anthems at any event in which the Federation is represented.”

U.S. Soccer’s Board of Directors passed the rule on Feb. 9.

“I know nothing about the policy and everything that went into it and all of that,” U.S. men’s coach Bruce Arena said Monday in the Bay Area. “I’m all for it. I don’t have any background on what the legal implications are, collective bargaining, any of that stuff. Who would argue that you should be standing for your national anthem? I understand that. I also understand the other side of it.”

NFL

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Raiders told the NFL on Monday they have found a new partner to finance their proposed stadium in Las Vegas: Bank of America.

A person familiar with the Raiders’ plans said the team presented the new proposal with financing backed by Bank of America to the NFL’s stadium and finance committees. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan was not made public.

The Raiders had been seeking a new partner for the proposed $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium after casino magnate Sheldon Adelson withdrew a $650 million pledge last month.

The state of Nevada has committed $750 million to the project, while the Raiders and NFL would pay the remaining $500 million if three-quarters of the league’s owners approve a move. A vote could come at the owners meetings later this month.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf also made a presentation to the committees on Monday in hopes of persuading owners to prevent the Raiders from moving. Schaaf offered no new plans to satisfy concerns from the league about a proposed new stadium near the site of the Coliseum, the person said.

“We presented a plan that we believe responsibly meets the needs of all parties,” Schaaf said in a statement. “We made a sound economic case for keeping the Raiders in Oakland through the creation of what could become one of America’s premier mixed-use sporting venues. … The Oakland solution for the Raiders keeps the Raiders at home in Oakland, in the country’s sixth-largest media market that is demonstrating strong growth due to its innovative and diverse economy.”

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Amid an offseason of potential upheaval, the Washington Redskins have made an investment in continuity by signing coach Jay Gruden to a multiyear contract extension.

Gruden was going into the fourth year of a five-year contract. The team announced the extension after Gruden and other team officials returned from the NFL combine.

The 50-year-old is the first coach to have his contract extended by Dan Snyder, who has owned the team for 18 years. Gruden is the eighth head coach over that time.

The Redskins missed the playoffs last season after losing in the NFC wild-card game in 2015. They’re 21-26-1 in three seasons under Gruden, who does not have a playoff victory.

Extending Gruden’s contract comes during an uncertain offseason for the Redskins, who could lose starting receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon in free agency and have placed the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins for the second consecutive year. General manager Scot McCloughan also did not attend the combine last week, with a team saying he was taking care of family matters.

When McCloughan was named GM, Gruden was already on staff. The coach was hired by president Bruce Allen.

Gruden, who celebrated a birthday Saturday, has said in self-evaluations of himself that he should be judged on wins and losses.

“Going 9-7 and winning the division last year, 9-8 after losing the playoff game to 8-7-1, you know, we’re kind of stuck right here,” Gruden said in January. “We haven’t been able to get over the hump as far as winning those close games consistently and it’s not easy but we’re going to keep working at it. I have a lot of room for improvement, as do the majority of the people in this building, so as long as we all realize that and understand that and recognize that, there is room and we can do it.”

Gruden has two new coordinators with former quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh promoted to run the offense and outside linebackers coach Greg Manusky promoted to handle the defense.

Cricket

LONDON (AP) — The so-called Guardians of Cricket have settled on a new code of laws that will limit the thickness of bats and provide penalty runs for bad behavior, with the changes set to be introduced Oct. 1.

After lengthy debate over the increasing dominance of bat over ball, the Marylebone Cricket Club on Monday released regulations on the width and thickness of the bats. The changes will start at the professional level and be phased into amateur cricket.

It means the likes of Australian opening batsman David Warner will have to rely on a bat with a significantly thinner spine than he has been using in recent seasons. The size of bats has become more of an issue since the advent of Twenty20 cricket, where batters attack the ball from the first over of the game.

The maximum dimensions of a cricket bat will be set at 108 millimeters for width, 67 millimeters in depth and 40 millimeters for the edges.

A bat gauge will be used to ensure that the new limits are adhered to in the professional game. Umpires already have small gauges to test the shape of the ball, which must be a certain weight.

The new edition of the Code of Laws, the first since 2000, will be formally released March 20.

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