EDITORIAL STAFF

Matt Spolar

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The Birth of Free Agency

The drama of modern free agency has become as much a part of professional sports as the games themselves. But it wasn’t always that way. Today’s free agents owe a big debt of gratitude to Curt Flood.
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DNA Clues Solve Crimes . . . With a Privacy Cost

DNA information that is available on genealogy websites is doing more than satisfying curiosity -- it's solving crimes.
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Athletes vs. Injustice: Protests in Sports

When N.F.L. players, starting with Colin Kaepernick, took a knee during the National Anthem to protest they ignited an uproar over injecting politics onto the playing field.
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Louis Armstrong And The Black Celebrity's Dilemma

As America's jazz icon, Louis Armstrong was seen as a smiling, easygoing entertainer. But in 1957, he invited controversy by speaking forcefully on behalf of his fellow African Americans, putting him in a position familiar to many black athletes today.
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What Jesse Owens's Story Tells Us About Sports and Politics

This season, NFL players have been derided for injecting politics into the country's favorite sport. But, when convenient, America has also celebrated black athletes for acting as political emissaries.
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The Split (1860): Conventional Wisdom

Some issues are too fundamental for a party to withstand, and the consequences can last for a generation.
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The Speech (2004): Conventional Wisdom

Sometimes the most important speech at the convention isn't delivered by the nominee.
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How Anti-Immigrant Sentiment Gave Birth to a New Democratic Party (1924): Conventional Wisdom

Immigration has been a defining issue in a campaign before, and the consequences transformed the Democratic Party.
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The Modern Primary (1912): Conventional Wisdom

In 2016, some Bernie Sanders supporters complained that the delegate process wasn’t fair. In 1912, a battle over the primary process transformed American politics.
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How It Started (1831): Conventional Wisdom

In 1831, a radical third party had a new idea for selecting a presidential candidate, and it’s still in use today: the national nominating convention.
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The Outsider Republican (1964): Conventional Wisdom

Donald Trump's candidacy wasn't the first time the Republican Party was split by an outsider declaring war on the establishment elite.
Image from The Mess In Chicago (1968): Conventional Wisdom
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The Mess In Chicago (1968): Conventional Wisdom

There are important lessons to be learned from the Democrats' 1968 Chicago convention.
Image from The Power of the Delegate (1976): Conventional Wisdom
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The Power of the Delegate (1976): Conventional Wisdom

In 1976, Ronald Reagan found owning the soul of a party isn't the same as taking home its nomination.
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Smoking Man: Political Ads That Changed the Game

In the 2012 Republican primary, Herman Cain's campaign produced an unusual video featuring Cain's chief of staff, Mark Block, giving a pep talk while smoking a cigarette.
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The Rock: Ads That Changed the Game

In 2007, long-shot Democratic candidate Mike Gravel released one of the strangest ads in political history.
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Willie Horton: Ads That Changed the Game

The infamous Willie Horton ad placed a nail in the coffin of Michael Dukakis' 1988 presidential run.
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Morning in America: Political Ads That Changed the Game

Future "warm and fuzzy" ads can trace their lineage to this one. For his reelection campaign, Ronald Reagan employed a team of advertising all-stars, resulting in one of the most famous catchphrases in American politics.
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It's 3:00 am: Political Ads That Changed the Game

After a string of critical losses in the 2008 Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton's campaign put out a hard-hitting ad that questioned Barack Obama's readiness for the White House.
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Daisy: Political Ads That Changed the Game

Perhaps the most famous political ad of all time, this early television spot ran on air just once, but generated enough media coverage to become a real factor in the 1964 presidential election.
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Boxing's Popularity Declined Due to Health Concerns. Is Football Next?

In 1982, boxing fans tuned in for a fight the sport wouldn't soon forget. Today, with concerns about the toll of football on the rise, is America’s favorite game nearing its own inflection point?
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Leaving NFL Over CTE Concerns Made Chris Borland Football's Most Dangerous Man

He’s been called the most dangerous man in football. Not for what he’s doing on the field -- but what he’s saying off of it. A new series of original Retro Report short docs produced for Facebook.
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How Napster Created the 'Culture of Free'

In 1999, a file-sharing program created in a Boston dorm room sent shockwaves across the music industry and served notice that a major cultural shift was underway.
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The NFL Draft 20 Years After Manning-Leaf: How Teams Try to Pick a Winner

After the 1998 NFL draft produced one of the greatest busts in history, what have we learned about the science of evaluating human talent – on and off the field?
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Blackout: Understanding the US Power Grid's Vulnerability from the 2003 Failure

In 2003, a blackout crippled areas of the U.S. and Canada, leaving some 50 million people in the dark. Years later, we are still grappling with concerns over the vulnerability of our power grid.
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Hurricane Katrina's Aftermath and Lessons in Dealing with Disaster

Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, and Louisiana’s troubled housing recovery has shaped the response to every major disaster since, including Hurricane Sandy.
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How Cloning a Sheep Set Off a Sci Fi Panic

In 1997, Scottish scientists announced they had cloned a sheep and named her Dolly, and sent waves of future shock around the world that continue to shape frontiers of science today.
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GMO Food Fears and the First Test Tube Tomato

In the 1990s, a bunch of gene jockeys brought the first genetically engineered food to market. The business crashed but biotech science has flourished far beyond the produce aisle.
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