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Week 2 of the NFL season is now complete, and what once would have been unimaginable is now becoming commonplace.

I'm talking about protests — player protests — visible, controversial, much-talked-about displays during the playing of the national anthem, before NFL games, in stadiums, around the country.

These protests began nearly a month ago when San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick chose to sit rather than stand while The Star-Spangled Banner was being played during a preseason game.

Saying it wants to make football safer for current and future athletes, the NFL is pledging to spend $100 million for "independent medical research and engineering advancements." A main goal will be to prevent and treat head injuries.

Announcing the pledge Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said it is in addition to the $100 million the league already committed toward medical research of brain injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the progressive degenerative disease that has been found in football players.

Over the course of her career, soccer star Abby Wambach scored 184 goals — more than any other man or woman in the history of international soccer. She won two Olympic gold medals and was named the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year before retiring from the sport in 2015. And yet, she says she never wanted to be known "just as a soccer player."

Republican politicians in North Carolina are lashing out at the NCAA after the sanctioning body announced it was relocating seven championship sporting events because of a state law limiting civil rights protections for LGBT people.

The law, known as HB2, has drawn wide condemnation and had already cost the state the 2017 NBA All-Star game.

KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

UPDATE: Seahawks' wide receiver Doug Baldwin says the Seahawks will interlock arms at Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins, which falls on the 15th anniversary of 9/11.  

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the former NBA superstar and now cultural icon, made a public statement about inequality in 1968 when he boycotted the Olympics.

But decades later, Abdul-Jabbar doesn’t believe that NFL player Colin Kaepernick should refuse to stand for the national anthem.

studio record
KUOW Photo

Donald Trump visited Washington, Mexico and Arizona this week where he delivered a speech on immigration. What effect does his anti-immigration, anti-refugee rhetoric have on minority groups living in this country?             

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick dropped to one knee rather than stand during the national anthem at a preseason football game Thursday night. It's an extension of the protest Kaepernick began last week when he sat as the anthem played before an earlier game, declaring, "I am not going to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."

Fresh off the Olympic Games, Brazil now hosts the Paralympic Games. Athletes from the Northwest are packing up this week to fly south to compete in sports such as wheelchair rugby, sitting volleyball -- and goalball.

Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Nathan Adrian received a rapturous welcome home from his hometown of Bremerton, Washington, Monday.

The three-time Olympian got the full rock star treatment from his hometown. A police cruiser escorted Adrian from his boyhood home to his high school where screaming fans lined up by the hundreds for an autograph and a picture. Bremerton’s mayor gave him a key to the city.

Mary McHale

The Seattle Mariners organization is apologizing to the LGBTQ community.  That's after two incidents in which couples say they were humiliated by ballpark staff - one of them at the Mariners first ever Pride night.

Major League Baseball’s own Ambassador of Inclusion, Billy Bean, threw out the first pitch on Pride night at Safeco Field, Aug 19. Bean's job is to provide guidance in support of the LGBTQ community.


Seattle Reign goalkeeper Hope Solo was suspended from the U.S. National Team after her comments following a loss to Sweden in the Olympics.
Flickr Photo/Herald Post (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/a3xihe

Bill Radke speaks with Mike Pesca, host of Slate's podcast The Gist, about the decision by the U.S. National Soccer Team to suspend star goalie Hope Solo because of remarks she made during the Olympics in Rio. 

Gamers want video games at the Olympics already!

Aug 22, 2016
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REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

The next Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo in 2020. The host city made quite an entrance during the closing ceremonies Sunday night. In a pre-recorded skit, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe transformed into Super Mario and proceeded to travel to Rio via pipe. Like from the Super Mario video games.

Then, in Rio, emerging a pipe in the middle of the stadium, suddenly it's Super Mario live. He changes out of his costume and he's ... Prime Minister Abe.

 

Eight more Olympic medalists with ties to our region stood on the podium this weekend before Brazilian music brought the Summer Games to a close in Rio de Janeiro.

No one is flying home from Rio with more medals than the U.S. women.

The full American squad — both men and women — won the most medals overall, 121, as has often been the case in the Summer Games. But first in London four years ago, and again in Rio, the U.S. women have captured most of those medals.

The U.S. women took 61, the men had 55, and there were five in mixed events, including equestrian and mixed-doubles tennis.

How good were the American women?

Simone Biles, a 4'8" package of muscle, performs at an Olympic exhibition gala after having won four gold medals and one bronze in the 2016 Games. What she is wearing is not relevant.
AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky

It's heartbreaking to Lindy West that young women work hard, become the best in the world at a difficult sport, and their moment of triumph turns into: "Man's sex companion does something, I guess." 

West laughed as she said this. But it's not really a joke. In fact, she's incensed by the way female Olympians have been talked about during the Rio Olympics. 

A day after police pulled two of Ryan Lochte's teammates off a U.S.-bound plane to discuss their claims of being robbed last weekend, we're seeing reports that the group was involved in an altercation that centered on a gas station's bathroom.

The police have scheduled a 2 p.m. ET news conference to discuss the case. But even as new details emerge, Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada downplayed the case's significance at a briefing Thursday morning.

Fu Yuanhui, a Chinese swimmer at the Rio Olympics, made headlines this week for telling the world she was on her period.

A major budget crisis is threatening this year's Paralympic Games in Rio.

The president of the International Paralympic Committee is warning there might be cuts to athlete services at the games next month, while insisting that the funding woes won't stop the games entirely.

"Although the situation is pretty precarious, rumours that the Games may not go ahead or that sports may be cut are totally unfounded and not true," Philip Craven said in a statement Monday.

Derek Micheau (bottom) competes in e-sports. He received a scholarship from Robert Morris University for online gaming.
Courtesy of Derek Micheau

Derek Micheau grew up playing baseball in Olympia, Washington. He recently got a sports scholarship to Robert Morris University in Chicago, but not for America’s favorite pastime.

Instead, Derek will be the first student in America to graduate with a  scholarship in e-sports.

Eighty years ago this month, the United States competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games in Nazi Germany, with 18 African-American athletes part of the U.S. squad.

Track star Jesse Owens, one of the greatest Olympians of all time, won four gold medals. What the 17 other African-American Olympians did in Berlin, though, has largely been forgotten — and so too has their rough return home to racial segregation.

"The wave" has been a popular diversion among spectators at stadium sporting events since at least the early 1980s, and over the years this pastime has caught the attention of physicists.

In a stunning upset in Olympic women's soccer Friday, Sweden eliminated defending gold medalists and reigning World Cup champions Team USA. The quarterfinal match in Brasilia went to penalty kicks after the teams deadlocked 1-1 through 120 minutes of play.

The guy on the right, he's going to be referred to as a 12. If he were a Texas A&M fan as well, he could also be referred to as a 12th Man.
Flickr Photo/Philip Robertson (CC BY 2.0) http://bit.ly/2aSlpH1

More 12s, and less 12th Man this year.

Seattle Seahawks fans have embraced the 12th Man as their identity, representing the positive impact fans have on the 11 players on the field. But the Seahawks organization will reference the 12th Man far less this year – but not because the organization is trying to better acknowledge its legions of female fans.

Thursday night in Rio, for the first time in history, a black woman won an individual swimming medal in the Olympics. Simone Manuel, a 20-year-old from Sugar Land, Texas, tied for the gold medal in the women's 100-meter freestyle with an Olympic record time of 52.70 seconds.

From left, Sydney Brownstone, Bill Radke, Ijeoma Oluo and Jonathan Martin.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Seattle City Council passed a law that would prevent landlords from discriminating against potential tenants. It is another step towards preventing inequity. But can the city fix the larger issue of affordability?

At first, it wasn't clear just what had happened in the women's 100-meter freestyle at the Summer Olympics in Rio. It's a blaze of a race that rarely puts big gaps between its finishers. But in this case, two swimmers who had matched each other stroke for stroke — Simone Manuel of the U.S. and Penny Oleksiak of Canada — came into the wall at the same instant.

All was soon made clear: Not only had these two swimmers hit the wall together; they had also set a new Olympic record of 52.70 seconds, writing their names in the record book.

They come from Syria, South Sudan, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Ten athletes who are refugees are competing on the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team at the Rio Games. They are representing the estimated 65 million people around the world who have been driven from their homes.

Wendy Boglioli won bronze in the Women's 100 metres Butterfly and gold in the Women's 4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Audio Pending...

Bill Radke speaks with swimmer Wendy Boglioli about facing off against the East German women's swimming team at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

The massively powerful East German swimmers, who were later found to have been systematically doped by their government, took gold after gold in event after event. The Americans were entirely shut out -- until the last race. 

U.S. swimmer Wendy Boglioli dives in to the pool to begin the second heat in the women's 100 meter butterfly competition at the Olympic pool in Montreal, Canada, July 21, 1976.
AP Photo/Harry Cabluck

At the summer Olympics, 19-year-old American swimmer Lilly King is making headlines – and not just for winning gold.

After beating Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova, King openly condemned the Russian swim team for doping.

When tennis star Maria Sharapova admitted in March to having taken the heart drug meldonium, the public got a rare glimpse of a common practice that's often called "legal doping."

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