Wednesday, October 7, 2015

When Sports and Social Issues Collide

Lately there has been a flurry of press about The Undefeated, a web site under the jurisdiction of ESPN that was supposed to provide an African American perspective on issues in the world of sports. It has been described as the "Black Grantland" and was to be headed by Jason Whitlock, but he did not prove to be up to the task. Lack of managerial skill on Jason's part is supposedly to blame, though I expect he begs to differ and will eventually do so publicly. In some way, shape or form The Undefeated will eventually become a thing that sports fans know and care about. Or else it won't.  Time will tell. This Deadspin article gives a thorough summary of the situation.

Depending exclusively on The Undefeated to maybe one day be the definitive "black word on sports" seems unnecessary. After all, I have been providing my own particular African American perspective for years. I used to do so when I had a monthly column entitled Sports Issues at the now defunct I've contributed writings to a variety of other publications as well (e.g. - this John Amaechi profile), and plenty of my thoughts on sports/societal ills have been presented here at A Line a Day.

I invite you to browse. In so doing you'll find pieces such as:

A Black Quarterback By Any Other Name 

Serena Williams - Daddy's Girl 

All He Does Is Lin 

Racial Penalty Flag 

Rivalry Revisited 

I'm Not Mr. PC 

My Reprimand of Don Imus 

Crime and Punishment or Lack Thereof  

Super Repercussions of Rooney Rule

The Michael Vick Story

Colin Kaepernick Sits This One Out

Trump vs. Hill

What I'm saying is  - If you are interested in the intersection where sports and race and inequality talk meet up and you don't feel like waiting for ESPN and The Undefeated to get its act together, I'm here for you.  

Below you will find links to six older articles that addressed social issues such as racism and sexism in notable sports events.  I hope you take the time to walk down memory lane by reading them.  If you do, you'll find that what's old is often enough new again. Just recently for example, as Serena Williams drew close to a calendar year Grand Slam, there was much talk about the fact that Maria Sharapova has considerably more endorsements than her even though Serena has enjoyed a great deal more success on the court.  Years earlier I saw this coming when I wrote From Anna to Maria.   


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  2. You give some great examples of social issues that do collide with sports. Russell Westbrook with fashion, and John Rocker with immigration are my two favorite examples you gave, and I think you would enjoy my thoughts at You can also email me at if you would like to get in touch. I think much of what you are trying to do (bring a conversation of sports and social issues to the forefront) came from similar motivation; we felt that there was a void there, and it wasn't being filled properly by any of the major media outlets (as you stated with The Undefeated and Jason Whitlock. However, I wish you had expanded on the topics you listed with your own thoughts. I was interested in reading them, but I wouldn't want to read 6 different blogs. I think you would benefit from giving your own thoughts and synthesizing the thoughts of others into your own words.