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Nike Signs First Professional Athlete with Cerebral Palsy

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Justin Gallegos (CREDIT: JORDAN BECKETT/COURTESY OF NIKE)

Nike signed their first athlete with cerebral palsy and the surprise moment was caught on video.

Last Saturday, University of Oregon runner Justin Gallegos hit the trail for a team race. It turned out to be much, much more than that. When the college junior crossed the finish line, a representative from Nike was there to surprise him with a contract. Gallegos is the first athlete with cerebral palsy to sign with the sports corporation – and the video will make your heart burst with happiness.

Gallegos joined the cross country team his freshman year of high school. Cerebral palsy restricts the body’s movement, which meant that his early days of running involved a good deal of falling. But Gallegos kept pushing through. He finished his first half-marathon in April and was just shy of his two hour goal.

“I saw that [running] was improving my quality of life,” he told FOX 12. “It was making me stronger. It really didn’t matter that I was finishing last in most of the races.”

When Gallegos headed to his race this past week, he thought the cameras were there to capture the athletes in action. Instead, they were there for him.

“I just wanted to share something with you guys,” John Douglass, Nike’s insights director, told the runners as they gathered around. “One of your teammates has been working pretty hard the last couple years, and Nike has recognized that. So today I am giving him the Nike contract [to be an] official Nike athlete.”

When he heard the good news, Gallegos sobbed and dropped to the ground while his teammates applauded. The whole video will make you sob so, so happily right along with him.

“I’m so grateful to have been a part of this story where so many people put their names in history books, and make records, and break records,” Gallegos told FOX 12. “It’s a been a dream come true.”

The athlete has big plans for the future, including designing a Nike shoe specifically for people with disabilities. He also hopes to send a message to everyone that dreams can actually come true, if you put in the effort to make them happen.

“Hard work pays off! Hundreds of miles, blood, sweat, and tears has lead me here along with a few permanent scars!” Gallegos wrote on Instagram. “I was once a kid in leg braces who could barely put on foot in front of the other! Now I have signed a three-year contract with Nike Running! Thank you everyone for helping show the world that there is No Such Thing As A Disability!”

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Culture

Olympian Gwen Berry slammed for turning back on US Flag during 2021 Trials

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U.S. Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry is facing backlash for a second time after turning her back to the U.S. flag while the national anthem played during a medal ceremony at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon, Saturday.

Moments before the anthem ended, Berry, 32, turned away from the flag and displayed a black T-shirt with the words “Activist Athlete” on her head. The outspoken athlete is no stranger to making a statement against injustices. During the 2019 Pan American Games, she famously protested “The Star-Spangled Banner” by turning opposite the flag towards the stands. Her competitors DeAnna Price, who won first place, and Brooke Andersen, second place winner, put their hands over their hearts and faced the flag.

Following the nonviolent protest, Berry stated, “My purpose and my mission is bigger than sports. I’m here to represent those … who died due to systemic racism. That’s the important part. That’s why I’m going. That’s why I’m here today.”

Texas congressman Dan Crenshaw said Monday that Berry should be removed from the team. “The View” co-host Meghan McCain also called out Berry Tuesday over her controversial protest. See below.

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Sports

Report: SEC suspends regular Season Competition, Championships for all Sports

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The SEC (Southeastern Conference) has reportedly suspended all regular-season competition for teams in all sports on SEC campuses, as well as SEC championship events, until March 30, amid the spread of the new coronavirus.

The announcement follows the cancellation the league orchestrated for the remainder of the men’s basketball tournament in Nashville.

“We understand that this decision will be disappointing to our student-athletes and coaches who have been preparing all season to compete in this event as well as viewers at home,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey in a statement.

“While this was not an easy decision, the health and well-being of our entire SEC community is of paramount importance.”

At that time, the conference also prohibited access in similar fashion to all on-campus regular-season games for SEC member institutions, including A&M. Those measures will be reconsidered on March 30, according to the conference.

According to Wednesday’s statement, the SEC will automatically refund tickets to the conference tournament that were purchased through the SEC office, an SEC university or the SEC Ticket Exchange via Ticketmaster.

Along with the SEC, the Big 10 and American Athletic Conference also canceled the remainder of their men’s basketball tournaments due to the novel coronavirus.

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Business

Jeff Bezos sets sights on buying NFL team

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Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is reportedly planning on purchasing an National Football League (NFL) team and is currently in talks with several current owners.

According to CBS Sports, Bezos “has spent considerable time around owners, including Washington Redskins’ Dan Snyder, and is in the process of moving to Washington.” Bezos, is worth an estimated $110 billion, including ownership of The Washington Post.

“There are not any teams currently on the market, though the Seattle Seahawks will be sold at some point following the death of Paul Allen last year,” the report said on Sunday. Snyder has been trying to get a state-of-the-art stadium built in Washington, DC, and Bezos can help him build one.

“Bezos moved The Washington Post to a new location after purchasing the paper, is setting up an Amazon hub in the area and some believe could aid Snyder`s pursuit of a new stadium, perhaps even with an Amazon sponsorship,” the report elaborated. Amazon has a partnership with the NFL to stream Thursday Night Football and he may buy an NFL team from a business perspective.

NFL is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference.

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