WNBA player Brittney Griner was arrested in Moscow on February 17, 2022, exactly one week before the Russian government began what it called its Special Military Operation in Ukraine. Griner was returning home from playing in Russia during the off-season and was carrying CBD oil in her luggage. While legal in much of the United States, any marijuana formulation is illegal in the Russian Federation. She was finally released on December 8, 2022 in a prisoner swap for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. The terms of the exchange seemed unequal to many people who wondered why a man dubbed the “merchant of death” was allowed to go free in exchange for an athlete.
The decision came amid calls to relax rule 50.2 of the Olympic Charter, which states: "No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas." The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had promised to review the rule after the Black Lives Matter movement gained global support.
On her day off not long ago, emergency room nurse Jane Sandoval sat with her husband and watched her favorite NFL team, the San Francisco 49ers. She’s off every other Sunday, and even during the coronavirus pandemic, this is something of a ritual. Jane and Carlos watch, cheer, yell — just one couple’s method of escape. “It makes people feel normal,” she says. For Sandoval, though, it has become more and more difficult to enjoy as the season — and the pandemic — wears on.
In August of 2016, quarterback Colin Kaepernick began his NFL season by kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racism and state violence. He purposefully chose the space of the anthem to raise the issue of the gap between what this nation promises and what it delivers. It was a powerful, iconic act that inspired athletes from a variety of sports to do the same. From the pros to college, to high school, to even middle school, athletes were inspired to take a knee less to lend their solidarity to Kaepernick than to protest racist police killings where they lived. In the tradition—and the extension—of this movement, two volleyball players from Brooklyn College went to one knee before a game this week against Yeshiva University.
By Darren Rovell for ESPN - The NFL is returning more than $700,000 of taxpayers' money that was paid to teams for sponsored military tributes. After being criticized for "paid patriotism," in which money came out of the armed forces budget for various measures of public recognition during games, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that the league would pay that money back. In a letter written to Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain on Wednesday, and disclosed on Thursday, Goodell said that -- following an audited review of 100 marketing agreements from 2012 to 2015 by accounting firm Deloitte & Touche -- teams were deemed to have received $723,734 for acts of sponsored patriotism. That money, Goodell promised, would be returned to the government. Goodell also wrote that marketing activities would be audited more frequently to catch such activities in the future.
By Grant Stern for Verified Politics - The NFL Player’s Association just picked a free agent quarterback as their Week 1 MVP for his charity work, even though he didn’t even make it onto the field. Colin Kaepernick has been blackballed by the NFL’s ownership – 97% of which is composed of enormously wealthy, mostly conservative white males – over his controversial stand to peacefully protest racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem while playing for the San Francisco 49ers last year. Kaepernick guided the Niners to a Super Bowl just four years ago, turning in a stellar performance while his team came up just short against the Baltimore Ravens. Now, he’s still making good on his pledge to donate $1 million to charity, even though he’s unemployed. The Chicago Tribune reports: The NFLPA found particularly impressive, Kaepernick’s continued donations to charity, including a Sept. 7 gift of $100,000 split between four organizations. Kaepernick, who some say hasn’t been signed by an NFL team due to his political activism, gave $25,000 each to DREAM, a New York City after-school program that promotes sports in urban neighborhoods, the Gathering for Justice’s War on Children, a forthcoming initiative to tackle child incarceration, United We Dream, an organization focused on empowering immigrant youth and the Coalition for the Homeless.
By Staff of Tele Sur - What began as a stand against police brutality and racial injustice has led to unemployment for NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. One year after NFL star Colin Kaepernick’s took a knee during the U.S. national anthem, the football player has been left without a contract deal since becoming a free agent in March and football fans across the country are threatening to boycott the season if he doesn't get picked up. What began as a stand against police brutality and racial injustice has led to unemployment for the African American quarterback, who opted out of a contract renewal with the San Francisco 49ers earlier this year. “There will be no football in the state of Georgia if Colin Kaepernick is not on a training camp roster and given an opportunity to pursue his career,” Gerald Griggs, spokesperson for Atlanta’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told Fox News. Riggs warned that if Kaepernick does not get a contract by 5 p.m. on Sept. 17, “We will take a knee, and we will continue to take a knee on the NFL until they act with one voice."
By Julie Turkewitz for The New York Times - AURORA, Colo. — Vicqari Horton dropped a knee to the grass. The varsity choir piped out “The Star-Spangled Banner.” And in the bleachers at a sun-soaked football stadium here on Saturday, parents clenched their teeth in anger or raised their fists in support. “You can’t continue to slap people in the face and not expect them to stand up,” said Mr. Horton, a junior tight end at Aurora Central High School who is black and began kneeling during the national anthem at games in mid-September.
By Staff of We Are Cove Point - Verplanck, NY, and Annapolis, MD – Saturday afternoon, as Spectra Energy prepared to drag its 42-inch diameter, high pressure, fracked-methane gas pipeline under the Hudson River adjacent to Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, activists boated out on the Hudson to the pipeline site to protest the pipeline project. Spectra Energy’s proposed Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline would bring fracked gas from Pennsylvania to New England, despite a report from the Massachusetts Attorney General that shows no need for this gas.
By Josh Levin for Slate - On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs’ Marcus Peters held a black-gloved fist aloft during the national anthem, an homage to the 1968 black-power protest of John Carlos and Tommie Smith. Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty of the New England Patriots raised their fists, too, and four members of the Miami Dolphins kneeled on the ground during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” withArian Foster saying after the game, “They say it’s not the time to do this. When is the time? It’s never the time in somebody else’s eye, because they’ll always feel like it’s good enough. And some people don’t.”
By Vyara Gylsen for MEE - One of these women is Zohar Chamberlain Regev, an Israeli citizen who was born and raised in Kibbutz Kfar Hahoresh, near Nazareth. She has been living in Spain for the past 12 years and has been involved in the Spanish component of Freedom Flotilla work since 2012. She coordinates the Women’s Boat to Gaza Steering Committee and is a team leader onboard the Amal.
By Lindsay Gibbs for Think Progress - In the days since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem as a way to protest the oppression of people of color in the United States, journalists, fans, and NFL players both past and present have expressed their outrage. Most of their criticism focuses in on the disrespect that Kaepernick was supposedly showing the flag and the U.S. military members who have fought and died for our freedom.
By Rob Wile for Fuse - On Thursday morning, the WNBA levied fines against three teams and their players for donning uniforms worn to protest the recent spate of police killings of black people. On Thursday afternoon, the players responded. Following their game at Madison Square Garden, players from the New York Liberty and Indiana Fever, two of the teams that received the fines, refused to take questions about any subject other than Black Lives Matter, and the WNBA’s response to their protests.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for Time Magazine - America has always had a complicated relationship with our athletes. When it comes to Game Day, athletes are warriors whose acrobatic actions on the court or field are revered by millions, emulated by children, lionized in living rooms and bars. Their faces are on clothing, their likenesses on video games. But when it comes to Election Day, or any other day that involves expressing personal opinions about social or political issues, athletes are relegated to a locker room ghetto and told to keep their politics as private as a jock strap. Financially, mixing sports and politics is bad for business. Fans want to indulge in the escapism of the sport without the heavy baggage of real life interfering.