Raiders' Hurst Happy to Turn Focus from Heart to Football
5/8/2018 10:44:54 PM

By Josh Dubow   ALAMEDA—After months of questions about the health of his heart sent him tumbling down the draft board until being taken by the Oakland Raiders in the fifth round, Maurice Hurst was happy to get on the practice field and turn the conversation to football. Hurst took part in his first practice as a pro Friday when the Raiders opened their rookie minicamp with three promising pass rushers they hope can bolster their defense. “Just trying to get all of that stuff behind me, try to get people to stop talking about it,” Hurst said....

Accepting Rights Award, Kaepernick Decries 'Lawful Lynching'
4/26/2018 2:31:57 PM

By Mike Corder   AMSTERDAM—Amnesty International gave former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick its Ambassador of Conscience Award on Saturday for his kneeling protest of racial injustice that launched a sports movement and might have cost him his job. Onetime San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid presented Kaepernick with the award during a ceremony in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. In his acceptance speech, the award-winner described police killings of African Americans and Latinos in the United States as lawful lynchings. “Racialized...

Kirui of Kenya, Gedo of Ethiopia Win Los Angeles Marathon
3/22/2018 8:11:15 PM

LOS ANGELES—Weldon Kirui of Kenya pulled away in the 24th mile to win the Los Angeles Marathon for the second time in three years. Sule Utura Gedo of Ethiopia won the women's race. Kirui crossed the finish line in Santa Monica in 2 hours, 11 minutes, 48 seconds on Sunday, followed about 10 seconds later by Gebresadik Adihana of Ethiopia. Kirui also won in 2016. Gedo won in 2:33.49, sprinting to the finish to break out of a pack race with countrywoman Tsehay Desalegn and defending champion Hellen Jepkurgat of Kenya. Desalegn was 8 seconds behind, while Jepkurgat was 13...

Shani Davis Skips Winter Olympics Opening after Coin Flip Loss
2/19/2018 11:44:28 PM

By Erick Johnson (Chicago Crusader/NNPA Member) Chicago’s speeding skating world champion Shani Davis, one of America’s most decorated athletes to compete in the Winter Olympics, lost the honor to carry the flag for Team USA during the opening ceremonies on a coin toss. On the coin toss, the honor passed to Erin Hamlin, a four-time Olympic luger, who won a bronze medal at the Winter Olympics in 2014. Davis, the first African American to win an individual gold medal at the Winter Olympics, skipped the opening ceremonies, The Washington Post reported. “One...

Dodge criticized for using King voiceover in Super Bowl ad
2/14/2018 1:25:46 PM

By Lauren Victoria Burke   There were ads with Morgan Freeman rapping and ads with babies from around the world and fast cars with singer Steven Tyler. There were ads with medieval themes, magic and song. Then there was the ad using the words and voice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to sell Dodge Ram sell trucks.  "Everybody can be great," Dr. King said in a speech in 1968, two months before he was murdered. "You only need a heart full of grace; soul generated by love." The advertisement featured images of football players,...

Some feel coin toss mirrors Black experience beyond Olympics
2/14/2018 1:24:34 PM

By Errin Haines Whack   PYEONGCHANG, South Korea—Shani Davis made history in 2006 when he became the first Black athlete to win an individual gold medal at a Winter Olympics and the winningest man in American speedskating. So when the speedskater tweeted his outrage after losing the opportunity to represent Team USA as its flagbearer in Friday night's opening ceremony, his #Blackhistorymonth hashtag served as a kind of racial shorthand. And it resonated with African-Americans far beyond sports. For them, it was a familiar scenario: Despite being exceptional...

State bill would ban tackle youth football before high school
2/14/2018 1:24:30 PM

Two California lawmakers want to outlaw tackle football leagues until teenagers reach high school, saying delaying the start of high-contact elements of football would protect young people from long-term brain damage. Children can learn the skills they need to succeed at the sport from non-contact flag football, Democratic Assembly members Kevin McCarty of Sacramento and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher of San Diego said in announcing their legislation on Thursday. Their bill follows similar legislation under consideration in Illinois and New York. Legislation has been introduced several...

Jack Johnson descendant hopes for pardon, maybe from Trump
2/14/2018 11:20:23 AM

By Kareem Copeland   In Jim Crow America, it's no wonder that Jack Johnson was the most despised African-American of his generation. The first black boxing heavyweight champion of the world, Johnson humiliated white fighters and flaunted his affection for white women, even fleeing the country after an all-white jury convicted him of “immorality” for one of his relationships. Now, more than 100 years later, Johnson's great-great niece wants President Donald Trump to clear the champion's name with a posthumous pardon. And she has the backing of...

Black Athletes Have Long History of Not Sticking to Sports
2/7/2018 8:24:59 PM

By Errin Haynes Whack This year's NFL season featured two of America's pastimes: football and race, with pre-game protests dividing fans along color lines and making Sunday afternoons among the most segregated hours in the country. While some fans would prefer players stick to sports, many black athletes have chosen a different path by protesting, making people uncomfortable. “The whole purpose of the demonstrations is to get (fans') attention,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said in an interview with The Associated Press. “These are the people that ignore...

For NFL Players, Racial Profiling Often Personal
2/7/2018 8:22:32 PM

By Errin Haynes Whack and Fred Goodall A son who saw a police officer hold a gun to his father's head. A husband whose wife was pulled over driving a Bentley. These unsettling scenes are among the stories from some of the NFL's marquee players, multimillionaires sharing tales of racial profiling by law enforcement. It is a troubling concern for people of color that has been at the center of the protests begun in August 2016 by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The protests have waned, but the ongoing issue for players—and the black...