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In the past few years, the Pentagon spent $6.8 million to pay for patriotic displays during the games of professional sports teams.

That's according to a joint oversight report released by Arizona Republican Sens. John Flake and John McCain on Wednesday.

The Kansas City Royals have earned their first World Series title in 30 years, staging a dramatic Game 5 comeback to beat the New York Mets 7-2.

They took home the series four games to one.

The final game featured a stunning extra-innings turnaround. It started as a pitchers' duel: the Mets' Matt Harvey against Kansas City's Edinson Volquez.

Ross Reynolds talks to Doug Merlino, author of "Beast: Blood, Struggle, and Dreams at the Heart of Mixed Martial Arts," about the legacy of mixed martial arts in the Pacific Northwest — and the superstar it created.

In a wide-ranging interview, suspended FIFA President Sepp Blatter says the troubles for soccer's world governing body started with his rival Michel Platini — who Blatter says also helped to undermine a push to deliver the 2022 World Cup to the U.S., instead of to Qatar.

"The FIFA World Cup or the FIFA president is a ball in the big political power game," Blatter tells Russia's TASS news agency.

The World Cup-winning U.S. women's national soccer team was honored at the White House today, where Obama praised the champions.

"This team taught all of America's children that 'playing like a girl' means you're a badass," he said.

Key Arena May Get Second Chance At The NBA

Oct 26, 2015
KeyArena in Seattle Center.
Flickr Photo/Doug Kerr (CC BY SA 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1WeuApa

Ross Reynolds sits down with Seattle Times reporter Geoff Baker to discuss why several maritime groups, including the port and longshoremen union, want the city to reconsider Key Arena as a site for potential NBA or NHL teams.

Ross Reynolds speaks with New York Times reporter Nick Wingfield about after school video game leagues for kids. Wingfield recently took his daughter to a sneak peek at one league in Seattle. 

Students at Skyline High School in Sammamish play Gaelic football, which looks a lot like soccer -- until you catch the ball with your hands.
KUOW Photo/Posey Gruener

Irish President Michael Higgins is visiting Seattle this week. Thursday morning, he traveled to Skyline High School in Sammamish to watch a game of Gaelic football, a sport many locals probably have never seen.

It's sort of like soccer, except you can catch the ball. And then dribble it, or punt, or bump, or punch.

When it comes to feats of speed and strength, Homo sapiens is a pretty pitiful species. The list of animals that can outsprint us is embarrassing. There's the cheetah, of course, but also horses, ostriches, greyhounds, grizzly bears, kangaroos, wild boars, even some house cats.

Juanita High School football field in Kirkland, Washington.
Flickr Photo/Henry Alva (CC BY NC ND)/http://bit.ly/1PnqHtM

David Hyde talks to Geoff Baker, investigative reporter at the Seattle Times about the accusations of a culture of hazing at Juanita High School in Kirkland. 

Jeannie Yandel talks with Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation, about the role of professional sports in conversations about race, gender and social justice.

Football's popularity has made it among the most lucrative business franchises. So it should come as no surprise that the NFL and other organizations holding the broadcasting rights to games felt very strongly about Deadspin and SB Nation, popular sports publications, attracting readers by posting highlights on Twitter.

What came next were complaints of copyright violations. Then came Twitter's suspension of the accounts. Now comes the question: Do GIFs of sports highlights qualify as fair use?

It's a place where girls can play volleyball. They can do ballet (of course).

But soccer is a no-no.

That's the way it goes in Brazil, the country that famously loves soccer. There was once a legal ban — from 1941 to 1979 — noting that "women will not be allowed to practice sports which are considered incompatible to their feminine nature."

That law is no longer on the books. So things have changed. Brazil has a women's national team (although there's only room for a few elite players). The Brazilian player Marta is an international superstar.

Football
Flickr Photo/Eierschneider (CC BY 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1Ok5MYl

If America's gun debate is stuck, what would un-stick it? Is it time to ban youth football? Was Renoir that bad at painting? And who else is overrated?

Bill Radke discusses the week’s news with writer Sherman Alexie, Washington state Sen. Pramila Jayapal and Paul Guppy of the Washington Policy Center.

Lloyd McClendon, right, was fired from the Seattle Mariners after two seasons.
Flickr Photo/Dinur (CC BY NC ND 2.0) /http://bit.ly/1VJNyhS

Ross Reynolds speaks to Art Thiel, co-founder of Sports Press Northwest, about why the Seattle Mariners new general manager Jerry Dipoto is getting rid of manager Lloyd McClendon after just two seasons.  

Updated 6:02 p.m. ET

On Thursday morning, the ethics committee of soccer's world governing body banned the group's president and other leaders for 90 days, citing ongoing investigations into allegations against FIFA President Sepp Blatter, UEFA President and FIFA Vice President Michel Platini and FIFA Secretary-General Jérôme Valcke.

The suspensions go into effect immediately and could be extended by 45 days, FIFA says.

Football
Flickr Photo/Eierschneider (CC BY 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1Ok5MYl

Jeannie Yandel talks to Dr. Stanley Herring, co-director of UW Medicine's Sports Health and Safety Institute, about the safety of high school football players and other teen athletes. Herring is also medical director of Spine, Sports and Orthopedic Health at UW Medicine and a team doctor for the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Mariners. 

Herring said he would allow a child to play football, or another sport, only under these terms: The program has well-trained coaches; there is an emergency medical action plan in place; coaches, parents and athletes were educated about the risk of all injuries – not just concussions; and there was a plan for practices and games that limited unnecessary exposure to injury.

This September alone, three high school football players died after injuries sustained on the field. The latest, a 17-year-old quarterback from New Jersey, suffered a ruptured spleen during a game just over a week ago.

In some high schools across the U.S., deaths such as these — and an increased focus on the risk of head injury and concussions — have raised concerns among parents and diminished interest in the sport. At others, like the Maplewood Richmond Heights High School in suburban St. Louis, the football programs have disbanded altogether.

Community members gather for a candlelight vigil for those killed in a shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015.
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

We'll bring you the latest on investigations into the Roseburg, Oregon, shooting and last week's fatal Aurora Bridge crash. Plus: Shell’s Arctic oil abandonment as seen from the Aleutian Islands. Where did all the I-405 drivers go? And now that the Seattle Mariners have named Jerry Dipoto as their new general manager, will they finally put the right pretty Lego castle pieces in place and leave them there?

Bill Radke figures out the week’s news with former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, journalist Erica C. Barnett, former state lawmaker Bill Finkbeiner, KUOW’s John Ryan reporting from Alaska, Seattle Times reporters Lewis Kamb and Geoff Baker, Northwest News Networks’s Chris Lehman and WSDOT tolling director Craig Stone.

Kim Little (left) of Seattle Reign FC plays at Memorial Stadium in Seattle during an 2015 NWSL match/
Courtesy of Seattle Reign FC

This morning, NPR listeners heard Frank Deford’s take on why women’s sports get so little attention:

There aren’t that many women’s team sports. You look at the Women’s World Cup in soccer, it got tremendous coverage. Good grief, it really led coverage for a week or so. But once it was over, there was no carry over -- there was no women’s soccer league to go on and to pick up that attention.

Northwest soccer fans took to social media to point out that, um, what about Seattle Reign FC? A team that, by the way, will play Kansas City FC in the National Women’s Soccer League championship on Thursday. 

Heather Anderson, trail name Anish, posted this picture of herself after beating the Appalachian Trail unsupported record.
Facebook Photo/Anish Hikes

A Seattle-area woman has set a new speed record for an unsupported hike along the Appalachian Trail: 54 days, 7 hours, 48 minutes.

To put Heather Anderson’s feat in perspective:

Christapherson Grant runs the 110-meter hurdles race at Edmonds Stadium in spring 2015.
Jacob Ostlund

"I visualize the race. All I’m thinking about is just silence. Dead silence.

"Then the gun goes off. I'm just trying to get to the finish line as quick as possible."

Christapherson Grant's life revolves around track. Since he was a high school freshman, his dream was to win a Washington state championship in track. This year, he achieved his dream, but he had to jump over a lot more than track hurdles to get there.

A hard-working border collie competes at the 2015 Vashon Sheepdog Classic.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

You have to feel for sheepdogs.

Sheep get cranky in the sun, they’re afraid of being penned and they don’t always like to stay together. And just when a dog has them in the right direction, they veer off at the last possible moment. They’re the worst.

Jerry Baker is seen with wife Deborah Stephenson and daughter  Julia Baker after he finished this year's Seattle to Portland ride — his 36th STP.
Courtesy of Cascade Bicycle Club

Ross Reynolds talks to bicyclist Jerry Baker, who won the first Seattle to Portland bicycle ride in 1979 and has ridden in every STP since, about participating in the 36th annual ride this year along with an estimated 10,000 others.

This segment originally aired July 10. Baker died Sept. 10 at age 73 of leukemia.  

A federal judge has thrown out Tom Brady's four-game suspension over his role in "deflategate."

The suspension was handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after attorney Ted Wells found that employees of the New England Patriots deflated footballs to make them easier to grip. Goodell said Brady likely knew about the scheme.

Brady appealed Goodell's decision in federal court, and today, he prevailed.

Participation in sports by girls and young women has soared in recent decades — by 560 percent among high school students since 1972, and 990 percent among college students, according to the Women's Sports Foundation. Highly committed young female athletes now run track and play soccer, basketball, water polo and other demanding sports that require strong bodies.

 Grist's Katie Herzog, Crosscut's Knute Berger, KUOW's Bill Radke and Seattle Channel's Joni Balter in the KUOW offices on Friday, Aug. 28, 2015.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Bellevue High School’s dominant football program is investigated over an alleged “diploma mill.” Gun rights groups sue Seattle over its “gun violence tax.” Has Amazon energized Seattle or ruined it?

Bill Radke reviews the week’s news with Crosscut’s Knute Berger, Seattle Channel’s Joni Balter and Grist’s Katie Herzog.

At high schools and universities across the Inland Northwest, student athletes have been forced to practice indoors due to dense wildfire smoke.

Zackery Lystedt sustained a permanent brain injury as a result of a football concussion he shook off at age 13. That was almost 10 years ago. Today, he's a spokesperson for concussion safety and the inspiration for the new UW institute.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Concussions are a big topic in sports these days. This year, the NFL has new rules that will let medical staff stop the game if they think they see a head injury. Now, the National Football League has given $2.5 million so the University of Washington can start up a new institute to study concussions.

It's been less than a year since a domestic violence scandal erupted in the National Football League. The infamous Ray Rice video from last September and the league's mishandling of the case plunged the NFL into an unprecedented crisis.

It also spurred the league into action after years of doing little or nothing about the problem of domestic violence. The problem continues, and so do the efforts to fight it.

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