FROM Ken Belson
Sports… politics and patriotism Colin Kaepernick took a knee instead of saluting the flag. Will he ever play again in the National Football League? Gregg Popovich has called President Trump a " soulless coward ." Will he still be coaching in NBA basketball? It's often claimed that "sports are separate from politics," but that's a far cry from reality — especially in this era of hyper-partisanship. Men and women athletes, fans and owners — from sold-out stadiums to high school fields and gymnasiums — are all getting in on the action. Today, team owners with players behind closed doors at NFL headquarters in New York City. Now, the owners are meeting separately by themselves.
Politics were unavoidable in this year's Super Bowl Before the Super Bowl, President Trump predicted an eight-point win for the New England Patriots. He reportedly left a viewing party early when the Atlanta Falcons were leading 28 to three. When the Patriots pulled it out in the first overtime in Super Bowl history, Trump tweeted, "What an amazing comeback… Tom Brady, Bob Kraft and Coach B." Ken Belson, who covers the NFL for the New York Times , has more on the game — and the politics.
The Nuclear Danger Escalates in Japan As workers battle to cool spent fuel rods and damaged reactors, Japan's nuclear safety agency raised the assessment of danger to 5 on a scale of 7. That makes the crisis comparable to the partial meltdown at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island reactor in 1979, but not to the total meltdown at Chernobyl in 1986. In the only country ever struck by atomic bombs, is there residual fear of radiation — even for medicine? What must it be like for the workers trying to control one of history's worst nuclear calamities? We speak with former inspector who blew the whistle on the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, a Hiroshima survivor and others.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?