A look ahead to top enterprise and feature stories planned globally by AP Sports. New digests will go out each Thursday and Monday and will be repeated on other weekdays. Please note that story plans may change depending on news and other issues.
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As with all our operations, we welcome and want your feedback. If you have thoughts or questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, assistant sports editor for the U.S. east region, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia(at)ap.org.
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All times are Eastern.
NOTE: The stories slugged Black History-Game Changers are part of AP’s coverage during Black History Month of how African-American athletes have used their platforms during the last 100 years to influence social and political change. Please see the Black History Month advisory for more details on the series.
Additionally, please note that the story slugged BLACK HISTORY-GAME CHANGERS-MUTED ERA below will now move early Friday, instead of Thursday as listed on previous digests.
FRIDAY, Feb. 16
BLACK HISTORY-GAME CHANGERS-MUTED ERA
Black athletes become superstars, signing lucrative endorsement deals and gaining tremendous popularity among whites. They become saturated in pop culture. And with so much to lose, some of the most prominent athletes became voiceless, not speaking out on societal woes and not willing to take a stand. O.J. Simpson. Michael Jordan. Tiger Woods. Rodney King’s brutal beating creates an outcry about police brutality. So much so that when Simpson is charged with murder, his trial will divide the country and stir racial tensions. Woods bursts onto the golf scene, destroying records held by whites. He was heralded by blacks, but wants to make sure he paid respects to his mother’s Asian heritage. By Jesse J. Holland. SENT: 900 words, photos, video and interactive timeline.
Dale Earnhardt ended a 0-for-19 streak in the Daytona 500 in 1998. The 46-year-old Earnhardt was the sentimental choice and finally won ”The Great American Race” in his 20th try. This is the story of that memorable day, told by men who lived it: his owner (Childress), his crew chief (Larry McReynolds), two fellow championship drivers (Jeff Gordon and Darrell Waltrip), and the race announcer (Mike Joy). By Dan Gelston and Mark Long. SENT: 1,600 words, photos, as well as 1,000-word abridged version.
In North Dakota, no one can outrun the speedsters of New Town High School. The students of New Town High School, drawn from five towns scattered on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in the oil patch territory of the far northwest, have won 12 state titles in the last 14 years. And when they didn’t win, they finished second. One star says the runners hope their success inspires younger people on a reservation that can be a tough place. By Dave Kolpack. SENT: 800 words, photos.
SATURDAY, Feb. 17
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Darrell Wallace is blazing a trail that hasn’t been such much in NASCAR history. He’s set to become the first black driver to start the Daytona 500 since 1969 and he has a full season ride driving for Hall of Famer Richard Petty. Wallace is also set to get a promotional push usually reserved for only sports biggest stars – and he’s ready for the opportunity and pressure that comes along with such expectations. By Dan Gelston. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 3 a.m. Saturday.
TUESDAY, Feb. 20
BLACK HISTORY-GAME CHANGERS-WILLIAMS
WASHINGTON – Serena Williams had just won her seventh Wimbledon title when she raised her fist into the air in a black power salute, and condemned the violence and death of black men in the United States from one of the biggest platforms on the planet, years before any other athlete of her caliber took such a strong public stance. But she isn’t alone. While women don’t command the same attention as male athletes, Williams and others have been out there on the front lines pushing and sacrificing as much as they can in a push for a more just world. By Jesse J. Holland. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos and video.
Again, if you have questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, assistant sports editor for the U.S. east region, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia(at)ap.org.