Wednesday's Sports in Brief

NATIONAL ANTHEM PROTESTS

NEW YORK (AP) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell disagrees with Colin Kaepernick's choice to kneel during the national anthem, but recognizes the quarterback's right to protest.

Asked by The Associated Press about Kaepernick's decision not to stand before games when the national anthem is played, Goodell said in an email Wednesday: ''I don't necessarily agree with what he is doing.''

''I support our players when they want to see change in society, and we don't live in a perfect society,'' Goodell added. ''On the other hand, we believe very strongly in patriotism in the NFL. I personally believe very strongly in that.''

Goodell added that NFL players have a visible platform for their viewpoints. With that comes responsibility to use those platforms properly.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) – Colin Kaepernick was encouraged that President Barack Obama recently weighed in on his national anthem protest by praising him for generating conversation about social issues.

Obama said Monday that he had no doubt that the San Francisco 49ers quarterback is sincere and ''cares about some real, legitimate issues.'' He also said approvingly that Kaepernick has generated more national conversation about ''issues that need to be talked about'' since his refusal to stand for the anthem became public less than two weeks ago.

Kaepernick did not stand for the national anthem all preseason and his protest became public after he sat before a home game against Green Bay on Aug. 26. Kaepernick has cited racial injustice and police brutality among the many reasons for his actions and said he plans to continue to not stand for the anthem during the regular season.

BOYDS, Md. (AP) – The Washington Spirit prevented Seattle midfielder Megan Rapinoe from kneeling again during the national anthem by altering its pregame ceremonies rather than ''subject our fans and friends to the disrespect we feel such an act would represent.''

The National Women's Soccer League team moved up the anthem, playing it while the teams were off the field at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

On Sunday before the Reign's match in Chicago, Rapinoe knelt during the anthem in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick – the San Francisco quarterback who has refused to stand during the anthem to protest racial injustice and minority oppression. She said at the time she planned to continue to kneel.

Following the match, Rapinoe said she was saddened by the Spirit's move.

During the match a group of supporters chanted ''Let Her Kneel!''

AUTO RACING

LONDON (AP) – Formula One is being bought by Liberty Media, a U.S. company that invests in entertainment and sports, for $4.4 billion.

Liberty Media Corp., which is controlled by 75-year-old tycoon John Malone, has ended years of uncertainty about the ownership of the auto racing series with the deal.

There will be continuity, with Bernie Ecclestone remaining the chief executive officer of F1. But the 85-year-old Ecclestone will have to work under a new chairman: Chase Carey, the executive vice chairman of Rupert Murdoch's entertainment conglomerate 21st Century Fox.

Formula One has hundreds of millions of fans, and Carey said in a statement that he sees opportunity to develop it. In an interview, Ecclestone said he is optimistic Liberty has the resources, expertise and outlook to drive the growth of F1 – particularly in the United States.

PARALYMPICS

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – The Paralympic Games opened with 4,350 athletes demonstrating first-hand their creed: ''The heart knows no limits; everybody has a heart.''

Wheelchair daredevil Aaron Wheelz showed the spirit in the opening act.

As a countdown from 10 reached its end, Wheelz raced down a giant ramp and somersaulted in the air through a giant 0 on the stadium floor. That finished the countdown and shattered more stereotypes about what athletes with disabilities can do.

The president of the International Paralympic Committee, Philip Craven, made a similar point with his speech. Craven, who lost the use of his legs in a rock-climbing fall at the age of 16, reminded Brazilians they have their own problems to overcome.

Brazil is mired in its worst recession in generations. The country just removed its elected president, and these games needed a government bailout of almost $80 million to make it to the starting line.

WRESTLING

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Longtime Minnesota wrestling coach J Robinson was fired after the university said an investigation into an alleged drug ring within the program revealed he wasn't forthcoming to school officials and made unauthorized promises of amnesty to his athletes.

Robinson coached the Gophers for 30 years and led the team to three national championships, developing a reputation as a hard-nosed, outspoken and occasionally combative figure on campus. His teams had as much success as any Gophers coach of his era, but he became embroiled in the drug scandal this spring when police investigated allegations that more than a dozen wrestlers sold and used the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.

Police previously declined to file charges in the case, citing a lack of evidence.