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What Had Happened Was: 8/17/17

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  • WNBA players locked arms during the national anthem in the wake of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Before a nationally televised game on ESPN2 between the Los Angeles Sparks and Washington Mystics in the nation’s capital on Wednesday, players employed a silent protest during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner in solidarity with those slain during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. “We just want to stand united in lieu of the sociopolitical climate, just to remind everyone that it’s important to stay together in the midst of some tumultuous times,” Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike told ThinkProgress. The action served as a continuation of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest that began in 2016, as well as a direct response to the lack of support the country received from President Donald Trump after the Charlottesville tragedy. “It’s terrible, the state with which our country is in right now. Things need to change. When things from the top — from the president — are unjust and unfair and demeaning and disrespectful, it trickles down to a low percentage, but it’s still a percentage in our country,” said Mystics guard Natasha Cloud.
  • Michael Bennett says the NFL’s anthem protests would be more effective if white players joined. Three days after sitting with a towel over his head during the national anthem before his team’s preseason opener, the Seattle Seahawks defensive end, who has vowed to protest throughout the entire 2017 season, expressed his belief that results would be different if white players got involved. “It would take a white player to really get things changed,” Bennett said Wednesday on SportsCenter. “Because when somebody from the other side understands and they step up and they speak up about it … it would change the whole conversation.”
  • The NFL plans to relax its strict rules on footwear. According to a league memo obtained by ESPN, players will be able to wear more personalized cleats in terms of color and design during warmups before games. The new policy will also cut back on fines levied to players for wearing nonconforming cleats, such as the $18,000 penalty received by New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. during the 2016 season for honoring the late broadcaster Craig Sager on a pair of his pregame shoes.

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On this day in sports history

On Aug. 17, 2013, at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt cruised to victory in the 200 meters with a time of 19.66 seconds, the event’s fastest mark in the world that year, to best his countryman Warren Weir (19.79) and Curtis Mitchell (20.04) of the United States. Bolt made history at Luzhniki Stadium that day as the first athlete ever to win three consecutive world titles in the 200 meters. “I’m all about winning championships, so it’s not just about times,” Bolt said. “I try to run fast always because I know that fans want fast times, but if I can run 20 flat to win the 200m in the championships, I’m OK with it. It’s all about winning the gold medals.”


Aaron Dodson is a sports and culture writer at Andscape. He primarily writes on sneakers/apparel and hosts the platform’s Sneaker Box video series. During Michael Jordan’s two seasons playing for the Washington Wizards in the early 2000s, the “Flint” Air Jordan 9s sparked his passion for kicks.