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For Lincoln Riley’s Oklahoma Sooners, Facemasks Are Essential Part of Uniform

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Norman, Oklahoma—masks can easily get soaked with sweat, especially amid August’s sweltering heat.

“You’ve got to wring it out, put it back on. But we’ve been wearing it so long, we kinda got used to it,” explains Charleston Rambo, Oklahoma Sooners’ wide receiver.

In contrast to other teams and programs all over the US, the Sooners are required to wear masks even out in the field. Their masks are now part of their uniform. Hence, it gets to be a problem, especially since players need to drink water every now and then. In fact, if a player is seen with his mask down for even a minute, he gets to be sternly told to put it back on.

As of writing, the Sooners belong to the few programs that impose the wearing of masks. Many of the photos show players and even coaches having no masks on during training. Some coaches are even seen to have their masks down as they shout instructions to their corresponding teams. Nonetheless, a few programs now require their players to wear face shields.

At OU, both coaches and players police themselves as they remind their teammates to wear their masks each time one of them slips up and forgets.

“We want to play,” explains DaShaun White, Sooners’ linebacker. “It’s one of those things, it’s just the circumstance. It’s just the obstacle we have to get over. Do we want to be people that allowed a mask to keep us from playing the game we love? That’s how I see it,’ he adds.

For Iowa State, no shields were found suitable. Their program, then, turned to their school’s own engineering department. The program developed a “Cyclone Shield,” a polycarbonate one that is identical to those clear visors worn by some players to shield the eyes. The newly created shield covers the lower side of the mask, designed to prevent exhalation from reaching other players, which is especially possible as they line up for scrimmage. To promote such practice, Iowa State has the manufacturing information available to the public.

As for OU, they attempted experimentation with different solutions before deciding to opt for facemasks. The masks that they wear are similar to those worn daily by many. They are tightly held to the wearer’s face.

“We initially did the cloth covering over the face mask. Not bad as far as breathing… It really limits the vision, which is dangerous, relates Sooners coach Lincoln Riley. He adds that they tried to experiment using the face shield that’s placed over the face and the facemask. He mentions that players find it satisfactory when it comes to breathing, as well. “The problem is that it easily fogs up,” Riley explains.

Riley adds that another problem considered was the sustainability of wearing such a face shield during bad weather. The face shield could pose problems when players are under the rain or other weather conditions. So they opted to wear facemasks, instead, because they don’t get knocked off and they don’t fog up.

Basketball

#BLM: Why the NBA Strike Matters to America’s Labor Movement

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The August 26 strike illustrated the power of striking and the influence of athletes advocating for a cause beyond their leagues. The world of sports blew up in protest as teams, and sports stars took a stand against the police shooting incident of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Among all athlete protesters, the Milwaukee Bucks’ players were the first to announce that they would not compete in their scheduled playoff game against Orlando Magic just before the first-round match. Soon after, all other NBA teams joined the wildcat strike.

Starting from a powerful league such as the NBA advocating for #BLM, more influential athletes and clubs followed suit, including some MLS, NHL, NFL, MLB, and WNBA teams. Among other Major League Baseball teams, the New York Mets and the Miami Marlins staged a silent protest as they placed a #BLM shirt on the home plate. Even the tennis icon, Naomi Osaka, announced that she would not be playing her game in the Western & Southern Open, which caused the league to suspend the match.

The NBA officials provided some compromises, including establishing a social injustice union in the league and the use of numerous basketball courts around the country as voting locations. Playoff games resumed two days after these terms were put into place. This just goes to show how the NBA players were able to successfully demand concessions from the league’s management as an effect of temporarily folding the playoff season.

Beyond promoting awareness on the #BLM movement, the NBA strike has brought about the idea that striking could result in changes beneficial for employees experiencing injustices from their employers. During the Trump administration, the number of strikes rose radically through union-led workplace walkouts. This includes the teacher’s strikes in the course of 2018 to 2019, the New York taxi drivers’ strike in 2017, and the longshore workers’ strike in 2020. 

These unionized workers not only rally for improvements in their own workplaces, but also for causes that go beyond their personal benefit. Among these are campaigns against the Muslim ban on cab drivers and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Unionized workers have more confidence in participating in activism because they are protected by national labor laws that extend to strikes and work stoppages. They are part of organizations strengthened by solidarity in an aim to protect workers from the oppression of employers. However, studies show that unions have been going more political in terms of mobilizing their workers to vote, encouraging them to gain more knowledge in politics, and even moderate their sentiments on racial resentment. 

The #BLM movement rallied together unionized athletes to participate in protest for a growing social cause. It struck the whole world as a major league halted to challenge political issues surrounding today’s society. This serves as a clear reminder of the significance brought by labor unions towards more progressive and democratic politics. Movement mobilization and partnerships can create a transformative political stand that will pave the way for future proceedings.

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Basketball

Los Angeles Lakers Lead 2-1 Past Trail Blazers

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Los Angeles superstars Anthony Davis and LeBron James lead the Lakers to another win against the Trail Blazers on Saturday night. Through a stunning performance of dominating defense, the Lakers now lead Portland 2-1.

Power Plays

The Lakers defeated the high-scoring Trail Blazers in two straight games after a roaring James scored 38 points, made 12 rebounds, and eight assists, combined with Davis’ 29 points, 23 of which were scored in the second half. The game ended at 116-108 in favor of LA, who is now starting to look like the best team in the West.

As the Lakers rallied to conquer Game 2, Anthony Davis stepped up to the plate and shared a message to his teammate. “I told LeBron at half I’ve got to take some of the pressure off of him,” said Davis.

Portland has been outstripped of its number one spot after losing Game 1 to Los Angeles. The second game is the Trail Blazers’ highest-scoring game in the series, yet the effort wasn’t enough to overcome the impressive performance of the Lakers.

Scoring Points

Damian Lillard raked in 34 points even with a dislocated finger, and CJ McCollum contributed 28 points for Portland. The Trail Blazers tweaked their lineup, playing a big starting five with Hassan Whiteside and Jusuf Nurkic. This strategy kicked-off a great first quarter for Portland as they managed to ease through the second quarter with a lead. McCollum scored 13 points in the quarter, capped with a three-pointer at the buzzer ending the first half at 57-53.

James continued to execute 5 for 6 for 15 within an eight-minute period in the second quarter, preventing the Trail Blazers from outscoring the Lakers. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and James added a total of 12 consecutive points to pull the lead down to six at 70-64. Davis answered back with three straight jumpers and a dunk, tieing the game at 72. 

Los Angeles went on a shooting spree with a 10 to nothing run that easily ranked up the scoring to 89-78 as they entered the fourth quarter leading by seven points. 

Catching Up

The Trail Blazers quickly caught up and were only down by three in the fourth quarter with nine and a half minutes of playtime. But then, Davis re-entered the game all fired up, making perimeter shots and dunks, closing the period with 12 points.

A pressing defense handled the rest for the Lakers as the Trail Blazers were put off-track, making only three field goals in over seven minutes in the quarter. Los Angeles was able to escalate the lead to 109-98, with only over 2 minutes left in the game.

Everything came down to the fourth quarter, in which Lillard’s dislocated finger started to affect his ball-handling and shooting, causing the veteran to miss all four attempts from the three-point arch at the crucial last quarter. 

Where It Boils Down

Tery Stotts, Portland Trail Blazers’ coach, said, “It came down to a fourth-quarter game. Anthony Davis made his perimeter shots, and we came up empty too often.”

The Trail Blazers will attempt to make a comeback and even the series on Game 4.

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Baseball

Why The Braves Are Determined To Win Over Workman

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The Atlanta Braves rallied for a 6-5 win over Philadelphia on Saturday, disrupting the newly acquired Brandon Workman’s first match with the Phillies. Atlanta’s Adam Duvall scored the winning point after two outs and full bases, finishing the game with a back up the middle.

Workman set out charged for his first game with Philadelphia with one out and gave up a couple of runs. Matt Adams of the Braves quickly took advantage of the breach and finished a two-run double, leading to the Phillies to trail Atlanta by one point at 5-4.

“That’s not the first impression I’m trying to make, obviously,” Workman reiterates after a letting the Braves knock four hits and a run. 

Right before Adam Duvall’s winning run, a play by Didi Gregorius of Philadelphia was withdrawn after a video footage review. Gregorius pitched home from a grounder by Travis d’Arnaud. Umpire Chad Whitson already called safe on Alex Jackson upon reaching the plate. However, a review reveals that J.T. Realmuto tagged Jackson out.

What Happened

Bryce Harper knocked the second-longest home run of his career. His drive also made a record as the 2ndlongest homer at Truist Park. Harper pulled a strategic move by sacrificing in the ninth inning spared some time for Neil Walker to safely slide onto the plate, adding another point to the Phillies.

Mark Melancon, Braves’ closer, also performed blowing up the lead 2-0 with five save attempts. On the other hand, Philadelphia closer Hector Neris gave away two hits and a few scores to a run by Marcell Ozuna and an easy walk opening the eight.

Another walk was by Rhys Hoskins who was driven in by Harper’s second of the two-run hit off Robbie Erlin. The ball shot off the field at roughly 470 feet and descended straight into the seats at the stadium’s middle section’s right side.

Head-to-Head

The Phillies tried to get back in the game as Andrew McCutchen showed up for Philadelphia, going head to head with Atlanta’s Grant Dayton. Then again, Austin Riley cutback Phillies’ lead to 4-2 after a two-run hit off of Zack Wheeler, who allowed five hits in the game.

Wheeler had quite the strong start said, “I know our fans are struggling with it, but it’s baseball. It’s a hard game. I have trust in our bullpen.” He eventually gave up two runs within seven innings.

Dashed Hopes

This game is Philadelphia’s fifth consecutive loss this season, and sadly, the team has been in this position before. Phillies are falling under the rankings of the major league with an ERA of 7.59. The team has been hopeful for progress with the newest addition to the team through the role of Workman, who was traded into Philadelphia from Boston.

In Other News…

Philadelphia also recently acquired Heath Hembree and David Hale from trades held last Friday.

Atlanta currently leads the NL-East conference by winning five out of six games in the series.

Brian Snitker, Braves’ team manager, said that the win was “nerve-wracking, nail-biting, exciting” and “gut-wrenching.” Sadly for the fans, they were not permitted to physically be present on the stands this season due to the pandemic.

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