Tens of thousands of Philadelphia sports fans flooded the city’s streets on February 4 to celebrate the hometown Eagles’ 41-33 win over the returning champion New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. According to U.S. News and World Report, many fans’ belligerence led to various instances of property damage, including a collapsed Ritz-Carlton Hotel awning, an overturned car, destroyed traffic poles and two reportedly stolen police horses.
Photos detailing this destruction on Getty Images and Twitter largely show white male perpetrators. The Philadelphia Police Department has not yet released a final arrest tally for the vandalism, but Ajennah Amir, a spokesperson for the the mayor’s office, told CNN of just three arrests. Black Lives Matter of Greater New York president Hawk Newsome called out the department’s treatment of these people—as compared to the aggressive policing of Black protesters at actions against police violence—in an interview with Newsweek.
“Somehow, it seems there’s a line drawn in the sand where destruction of property because of a sports victory is okay and acceptable in America,” Newsome explained. “However, if you have people who are fighting for their most basic human right, the right to live, they will be condemned.”
Newsome pointed out city officials’ seeming reluctance to condemn the property damage, including police sergeant Brian Geer’s tweet telling people to simply “go home”:
Newsome told Newsweek that this response was “a glaring example of White privilege.”
“You can riot if you’re White and your team wins, but if you’re Black and being killed, you can’t speak out,” he added.
Newesome also contrasted the situation in Philadelphia with the Baltimore Uprising, when Black city residents demonstrated following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody. Newsweek says those actions led to 34 arrests. “I can’t condemn them and neither can anyone else, especially not the media, especially not politicians when they condone people who are just drunk and destroying property because their team won,” Newsome said.
KEARNS, Utah — Maame Biney became the first black woman to qualify for a U.S. Olympic speedskating team with a pair of victories in the 500 meters.
The 17-year-old native of Ghana cruised to victory in the first 500 final at the short track trials on Saturday, beating Olympians Lana Gehring, Jessica Kooreman, and Katherine Reutter-Adamek.
“I can’t believe it, aww geez,” she said after squealing with joy. “It’s a really good feeling, but it has to set in first because it takes me a while. I’m like, ‘Holy cow.'”
Before the second final, her father sitting in the stands held up a sign reading: “Kick some hiney Biney.”
She sure did.
Biney set a blistering pace in taking an early lead that widened as the wild and wooly race went on. She crossed the finish line on the hockey-sized rink and began clapping and then pumping her arms so hard she lost her balance and fell.
She went down laughing all the way.
“When I realized that I made the Olympic team, I started cheering like crazy and then I made my epic fall,” she said.
Biney will be the second black speedskater on a U.S. Olympic team. Shani Davis, the first African-American athlete to win an individual gold medal at the Winter Olympics, was 19 when he qualified for the short track team in 2002. He later switched to long track and won four medals, including two golds.
According to ESPN, Nigeria will be represented in the Winter Olympics by the African nation’s women’s bobsled team, which qualified for the 2018 Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Driver Seun Adigun and breakpersons Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga completed the fifth out of the five required qualifying races and became the first African team ever to qualify in the bobsled category.
The squad, led by Adigun, a former African 100-meter hurdles champion and 2012 summer Olympian, completed the qualifying races in Utah and Canada on Tuesday and Wednesday. “This is a huge milestone for sports in Nigeria,” driver Adigun told ESPN. “Nothing makes me prouder than to know that I can play a small role in creating opportunities for winter sports to take place in Nigeria. Our objective now is to be the best representation of Africa that the Winter Olympics have ever witnessed.”
As blavity.com reported, it comes as a shock to many fans of the team and athletes individually, that they have been able to accomplish such a feat, considering they are in fact representing a warm climate country and the sport, for lack of better words, is designed for anything but that. In a recent interview with ABC News, shared to one of the women’s Instagram account, the ladies discuss how they do in fact host the majority of their training in the warm climate.
The Houston Texans, incensed by team owner Bob McNair’s poorly worded description of players as “inmates,” staged a mass protest during the national anthem prior to Houston’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Virtually all Texans knelt for the anthem, locking arms or holding hands on the sideline. National media in attendance put the number of players standing at about 10. At the NFL owners’ meetings last week, McNair had expressed frustration with the way that the protest had affected the NFL’s business, and said, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” He apologized on at least two occasions for that unfortunate turn of phrase, but players were not convinced. Receiver DeAndre Hopkins left the Texans’ facility on Friday after learning of the comments.
The Texans had discussed several options for protest prior to Sunday’s game, including kneeling, sitting, remaining in the locker room during the anthem or peeling the Texans’ logo off their helmets. Clearly, the protest was large, one of the most significant by any single team to date, but not unanimous.
This marked the first time any Texans players had protested during the anthem. Offensive tackle Duane Brown had raised a fist last season, the only demonstration the Texans had shown since protests began in the 2016 preseason. On Friday, Brown called McNair’s comments “embarrassing, ignorant and frustrating.”
Unseeded Sloane Stephens, who was ranked No. 957 in the world less than two months ago, soared to the top of the tennis world on Saturday with a powerful 6-3, 6-0 victory over 15th-ranked fellow American Madison Keys in the U.S. Open women’s finals.
Stephens, who underwent foot surgery and missed 11 months of competitive play, was confident but patient from the start on Saturday in this matchup of two first-time Grand Slam finalists. She broke Keys’ serve in the first set to take a 3-2 lead, capitalizing on Keys’ nervousness. She won the first set on her second chance, when Keys hit a forehand long, and needed three chances to win the match and the title.
When Keys hit a forehand into the net to end it, Stephens put her hand over her mouth as if in disbelief, closed her eyes for an instant, and then joined the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium in celebrating. “I told her I wish there could have been a draw because I wish we would have both won,” Stephens said. “My journey’s been incredible and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Stephens, 24, and Keys, 22, embraced at the net for several moments. Keys, who had overcome injury problems of her own — she had two wrist surgeries in the last year — appeared to be crying as the two friends hugged. Afterward, they sat together and smiled as they waited for the winner’s and runner-up trophies to be awarded. “Sloane is truly one of my favorite people,” Keys said on the court after the match. “Obviously I didn’t play my best tennis but Sloane was very supportive. If there’s someone I have to lose to today, I’m glad it’s her.”
It was only the seventh time in tennis’ Open Era and second at the U.S. Open that two first-time finalists had played for a Grand Slam title. It also was the 10th time two American women met in the U.S. Open singles final. The last time was in 2002, when Serena Williams defeated her sister, Venus Williams.
For the first time in U.S. Open history, three black women have advanced to the quarterfinal round; and, in this case, they all happen to be American. As of Monday, Venus Williams, 37, Sloane Stephens, 24, and Madison Keys, 22, are all vying for the Tiffany-engraved trophy. Oh, and it’s all going down at a stadium named for African-American tennis legend, Arthur Ashe.
Williams and Stephens earned quarterfinal spots Sunday night, by defeating Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain and Julia Gorges of Germany respectively, while Keys snagged her place by defeating Elina Svitolina from the Ukraine Monday night. Keys, ranked No. 15 in the world, is the youngest of the bunch, and was visibly excited after her win, and spoke about the prospect of the Americans squaring off against one another.
“It’s just really exciting. I’m really happy that none of us are playing each other in the quarterfinals,” Keys said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “If there’s some all-American matchups in the rest of the tournament, I think that says really good things about women’s tennis.”
Tears streamed down the face of Team USA’s Tianna Bartoletta as she collected her bronze medal in the long jump during the final days of the IAAF world championships last weekend. Having previously won gold in the event at worlds twice before, and being the reigning Olympic gold medalist at the long jump, Bartoletta has had better finishes, but she wasn’t crying sad tears. Her tears came from relief — that she could persevere and even succeed through even the darkest of times.
“[Y]ou may find it hard to believe but this Bronze medal is THE most special medal I have ever won,” the 31-year-old wrote on Instagram after collecting her hardware. “Because just three short months ago I had to run away from my own home, I had to decide which of ALL my belongings were the most important, I had to leave my dogs, I had little money, I still have no actual address, all to give myself a chance at having a life and the love I deserved — one that didn’t involve fear or fighting, threats, and abuse.”
Bartoletta shocked her fans, revealing that she’s been homeless for three months, while she escaped what she has alleged was an abusive marriage to her husband of five years John Bartoletta. (For his part, John Bartoletta has characterized the couple’s divorce as “amicable,” per the BBC.) “I took a huge gamble blowing my life up in such an important year for me career-wise. But it was about time for me to see that I was worth it,” she continued. “It was worth it. Thanks so much for riding with me.”
Not having a permanent address, however, was just one of the many obstacles Bartoletta had to overcome on her way to Worlds. On Wednesday, she opened up to the BBC about the effect her relationship had on her mental health. “I lost my personality,” she said. “I felt like I became a stranger to myself almost.” Bartoletta said she even thought about suicide. “It got so dark that I was contemplated walking off a train platform in front of a train in Europe last season because it just started to feel like I had no way out, no way out of the feelings of frustration and shame,” she said. “It was just so tempting to call it quits.”
Bartoletta told the BBC it took her a while to open up to people about how she was feeling, including family, but doing so put her on the path to feeling better.“This has been my therapy — sharing this story with you, sharing the Instagram post, blogging,” she said. “It has kind of been my way of healing.” Now she hopes to inspire others who might also be struggling. “The most important thing is you’re not alone,” she said. “[Depression] is a very difficult situation, it’s complex, it’s confusing and hard for a lot of people who aren’t in it to understand, but … I understand.”