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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Five activist athletes were named Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated, honored for their accolades on the field and dedication to bettering the lives of others off it.

The big picture: The athletes, ranging across three sports, "were champions in every sense of the word: champions on the field, champions for others off it," displaying leadership during a difficult year for the nation, the magazine writes.

  • Naomi Osaka: The U.S. Open champion wore a different face mask for each of her seven matches, honoring seven Black victims of racial injustice and police brutality "to make people start talking."
  • Breanna Stewart: Seattle Storm's star and this year's WNBA Finals MVP played an integral role over the summer in the ongoing fight against racism, regularly attending protests and successfully lobbying the league to include "Black Lives Matter" on the court in the bubble.
  • Laurent Duvernay-Tardif: The Chiefs' starting right guard helped lead the franchise to its first Super Bowl in 50 years before returning home to Canada — where he remains, having opted out of the season — to put his medical doctorate to good use, working on the front lines of the pandemic at a long-term care facility.
  • Patrick Mahomes: The Super Bowl MVP was not only instrumental in pushing the league to recognize the Black Lives Matter movement back in June, but also helped fund the voting machines that allowed Arrowhead Stadium to become a polling location.
  • LeBron James: The elder statesman of the group, James won his fourth NBA title while launching "More than a Vote," an organization dedicated to fighting voter suppression and encouraging voter education.

Go deeper: Sportsperson of the year, the activist athlete (SI)

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Sports

CDC looks at lessons learned from NFL's testing and contact tracing protocols

Signage prior to the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Photo: Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

The NFL found that transmission of COVID-19 occurred in less than 15 minutes of cumulative interaction between individuals, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: The protocols and resources for contact tracing and testing allowed the 32 teams to complete its regular season and the playoffs on time with only the Super Bowl remaining.

Ohio sues Biden admin over reversal of Trump-era abortion referral ban

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration Monday over a Trump-era ban on abortion referrals that President Biden overturned earlier this month.

The big picture: The lawsuit aims to reinstate two measures included in the 2019 legislation that required federally funded family planning clinics to be "financially independent of abortion clinics," and refrain from referring patients for abortions.

Oklahoma Supreme Court temporarily blocks abortion restrictions

A pro-choice activist demonstrates outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 4, 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday temporarily blocked three abortion restrictions set to take effect on Nov. 1.

Why it matters: The laws would place new limits on medication-induced abortions and require doctors who perform abortions to attain board certification in obstetrics and gynecology.