“We want people to stand.” So said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in announcing the league’s long-awaited decision on player protests during the national anthem. Team owners have collectively decided to allow athletes to remain in the locker room if they wish during the performance — but they’ll be required to stand if they’re on the field. Teams, not players, will be fined for any violations of the policy. In a statement, Goodell added it was “unfortunate” that on-field protests by certain players made thousands of fellow athletes appear unpatriotic.
The Presidential Daily Brief
After Pyongyang’s threats to skip a planned meeting with President Donald Trump next month in Singapore, the U.S. leader now says there’s a “very substantial chance” the summit may not happen. North Korea refused last week to abide by American demands that it unilaterally denuclearize before the meeting without any concessions on the U.S. side. But Trump backed away from that demand yesterday, leaving open the possibility of a phased dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear program. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he’s still optimistic for the June 12 meeting.
Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams — who holds a law degree from Yale and has written eight romance novels under a pen name — is also the first female gubernatorial nominee in the state’s history. Her rise, profiled on OZY in 2016, is part of a wave of female and minority candidates entering politics to make a change and capturing the public imagination in the process. Meanwhile Kentucky Democrats nominated Amy McGrath, one of the first U.S. female fighter pilots, to run a key House race.
“I did the best I could with what I had.” That was the author’s verdict after rereading his own oeuvre in 2014. Roth, who died last night of congestive heart failure, wrote dozens of books including Portnoy’s Complaint and American Pastoral, exploring themes of sexuality and Jewish-American life with a dark comic wit. He was born in Newark, New Jersey, and set many of his stories in those middle-class environs. Before retiring from writing in 2012, he won National Book Awards, a Pulitzer and a Man Booker International Prize.
He’s not making any friends. A 90-minute session with Facebook’s founder was aimed at easing concerns amid the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but reportedly left lawmakers frustrated and angry. Zuckerberg fielded questions about his social network’s adherence to EU privacy laws and transparency policies, but the session’s structure allowed him to pick and choose questions, leaving some feeling like he’d dodged difficult topics. He promised to answer those queries in writing within a few days, and said Facebook is doubling the number of employees working on security to 20,000.
Know This: Congress has agreed to water down the Dodd-Frank law regulating big banks, leaving only a handful under strict oversight. Venezuela has expelled two top U.S. diplomats. And a New York lawyer who verbally abused workers at a restaurant for speaking Spanish — one of a string of incidents in which he allegedly subjected strangers to racially motivated harassment — has issued a statement denying that he is racist.
Remember This Number: 200. That’s how many professors at the University of Southern California have demanded university President C.L. Max Nikias step down as scandal mounts over the fact that he allowed a campus gynecologist to stay employed despite numerous complaints of misconduct beginning in the 1990s.
Talk to Us: This year, OZY is going Around the World on a year-long tour to visit every single country, and we’d love for you to get involved. Where in the world are you when you read OZY? Send us pictures — they might make it onto OZY.com — and tell us what rising stars, new trends, music and food we should be writing about. Or even pitch us a story! Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Though the vaccine developed during the massive Ebola epidemic of 2014-2016 hasn’t yet been licensed, 7,500 doses have been sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo to prevent a new outbreak from spreading. So far, 46 infections have been reported and 26 have died. Health workers and those in contact with the infected will be the first treated with the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine, which was found to be “highly protective” in a clinical trial. Vaccinations began Monday, and another 8,000 doses are on the way.
At least two police departments in two different states are already using Rekognition, Amazon’s cloud-based service that can identify people in real time. In Orlando, police say they’re using the technology in conjunction with city-wide cameras to track people of interest. The ACLU called on CEO Jeff Bezos to stop selling such technology to law enforcement, saying it contributes to “government surveillance infrastructure” that could potentially monitor and track protesters or law-abiding immigrants. Amazon responded that it requires all customers to comply with existing laws.
We kid you not. American companies are increasingly upping their family-friendly policies to compete with rival firms, offering paid parental leave and work-from-home options — and even letting employees bring their infants to the office. In 2007, only 70 major American companies allowed babies at work, but today that number has gone up to 200. The U.S. remains one of the only countries without national paid parental leave. But with more workers getting used to the family treatment, private perks might become the norm.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives followed the Senate in approving a hotly contested bill allowing terminally ill patients to seek experimental drugs. Critics warn the “right-to-try” legislation would give patients access to potentially dangerous drugs that could worsen their conditions — or fuel false hope — but supporters say it promotes easier access to treatments that have already passed early clinical trials. If President Trump approves it, as expected, patients will still be required to secure permission from both their doctor and a pharmaceutical company to obtain an experimental drug.
They’re playing it safe. At their annual spring meeting, team owners gave temporary approval to new rules in a bid to make kickoffs less dangerous. Changes include eliminating two-man wedge blocks and banning running starts for kickoff coverage teams. Though concussions dropped sharply after 2016, medical data still showed that concussions were five times more likely to occur during kickoff plays. The new rules will be reviewed after the 2018 season and if the number of injuries hasn’t fallen enough, kickoffs could be eliminated entirely in 2019.