tv Discussion on Sports and Social Change CSPAN December 29, 2018 4:50pm-6:00pm EST
this is how to enjoy your holiday weekend. visit book tv.org for a complete schedule. [inaudible conversations] good morning. it's wonderful to see you here this morning. i am not at all superstitious. but most time we give them an umbrella in this goodie bag. this year we didn't. i'm sorry about the weather. i'm really excited to be hosting this wonderful panel on not just a game.
how they can and do move the needle on social justice. they are able to offer programming like this for free. and also thanks to our individual donors if you two would like to become an individual donor and to go to our membership table in our tent we will give you a if you become a high level member. thank you for coming. we have the distinction have the distinction of being the only person to have presented at all of the boston book festivals. >> think you debbie. i'm not sure it's a distinction when people start
talking about what you've done in terms of the number of times you've done it. this is also the first boston book festival in which i had been referred to exclusively in the past tense. he used to host only a game. if anyone wants to talk about retirement when were finished i will be in the back. as well all of these three authors and they will have books that they will sign. and they will even be one or two of mine. i will sign each one. to my best pal. i love these events. for various reasons. one is dedicated to the idea
that it is important that people continue to read even in this when fewer people are doing it. and also because there is so little for me to do. it is a good a gig. for me. the great innovation in the whole process this time as they have this lit up board here. the big screen tv and it has pictures of all of the books. can't see and i can. and there it is. very briefly introduce these three authors and then i'm going to read one passage because it's so powerful. and so timely that i couldn't resist that i'm also getting ready to do a lecture presentation that i'm going to use it in. it will be good practice. it is the one goal.
about high school soccer team. it's made up primarily of immigrant players. it is one of the great stories of how a community can learn to accept people very different than themselves. and how that community can become something far greater than it was. and part of what she is also able to do is set what happened in a historical context because there is a french-canadian that far proceeds what happened when refugees from africa started arriving in maine. howard bryant's book will i believe go down in history as one of the most timely and exceptionally thorough
accounts of a shift in the behavior of professional athletes into a lesser extent athletes at a lower level. it is an extraordinary book. i urge you if you're going to read one book that has anything to do with sports, that has a wide range implications that's probably the one. the great virtue of we matter. is in the energy that he brought to the process of talking to some of them quite well known. kareem abdul jabbar for example. and other athletes who have been sitting up for civil rights and other issues progressive issues for some time.
but also to members of the families of some of the victims of the crimes and some of them committed for police. these are peoples whose voices that they might not had been heard. then i'm good to ask each of them to talk very issue. we will turn the program over. this is a passage from me -- we matter.
i have to write about and write commentaries about and do stories about it. they have that. and it was an indication of the level to which we have descended. competition. this is about as clear as in the effort i have ever read to address how simple that gesture really was and how ridiculously it was a pretrade
and misrepresented. a lot of people have confused if you're not offended by the fact that one out of two veterans who had returned from iraq or afghanistan as a fellow soldier who has attempted suicide or the half-million vets that don't have insurance or the 39,000 who are homeless but you are offended by colin kapnick taking a knee during the national anthem then you have greatly misplaced the patriotism. we will move right along. thank you all for braving the weather.
when we are finish and you have all become extremely enthusiastic about these books. you can go to the back of the room and get them signed. i am delighted to be here. i'm delighted to always think about sports. i think i had written over the sports and politics over the ark of my particularly long career. one of the transformations i have made is that it is no longer to argue that sports are political. as a premise, but how. how do we unpack them. the story of one goal is a real shift for me.
i wanted to tell a story and i wanted to tell a story that would reach a wider range. something on my work in the 1960s. the 50th anniversary this week. that is about overt political gestures in sports. i think the story of one goal speaks a little bit more to how the competition and the game itself can be read in so many ways. .. state championship a
one of the words used to describe was heart warming but the reality of the stories with the step forward and the step back is important and then what we can learn from is that a long time coach learns what it means during to have players during ramadan. now they have to invoke a large poor - - part of the community so the kids can play. think of all those journeys as a somali coach as an assistant coach you are creating a connection but that's can call
that to a team in maine which is an enormous competitive advantage so these kinds of things to embrace change not just tolerate change or capitalize or all of the components to figure out how sometimes it is this. >> thank you for having me. there are a lot of things that are my fault thank you for coming out to brave this i swear if i look at my steps every time for the past 16 years since i wrote my first book it is always raining. [laughter] it's only then sunny a couple of times also congratulate on 25 years. [applause]
because all of us who love books and love to write books and have her books promoted only a game was a best friend and one of the places when you get the call that. >> so i sort of felt when i went to projects and i wondered and anxiety is do you have an idea? and in this case there was an idea and i think it really started for me around the 2013 super bowl terrible game when the power went out then colin kaepernilck was in it before he became colin kaepernilck.
that the reason why it hit me was the super bowl commercial tells us what we need to know of where we are in america 60 percent of those had to be before halftime or patriotic if you are a veteran or american flag. there trying to tell us or sell us something you cannot sell a bag of doritos without having a flag or a veteran. and then to watch a football game and then you watch the red sox game and then that shift taking place obviously you could see it now even the referees have a flag on their
uniforms. that then with ferguson or new york and now to deceive these athletes to do something they haven't done since mohammed ali. and i apologize for your generation used to refer to them that they were too rich and removed from it with a few important examples. all of a sudden you see lebron james in 2012 wearing hoodies. and then all of a sudden and
combining these two images and then the arrival of the return of the athletes that tell me that was news the second part of my anxieties so now how do you get this idea? and then to figure out a way to put the idea together in the conclusion that this country is not reconciling the effects of 9/11 what we are talking about sports post 9/11 that was pre- 9/11 and the optic of sports and with that collision of the black athlete
you can see what is taking place is a referendum of their patriotism and citizenship and now we are asking ourselves questions maybe you don't belong in the country for taking a position and that told me there is something here and that something else is police and military. and all of these things are coming together. to go to the spending - - sporting development.
in so those who are in the sphere and why some choose to remain silent are those that protest in different ways and those that have encouraged me or give me support. so to have that personalized narration and getting involved right now that this person did this. and to have that incredible conversation and to ask if
they want to do energy and that everybody knows and with trey von martin but then to ask why they did that? so during the interview to talk about and then and with that regulatory. without mainstream america who may think that from black america is exaggerating when they say things are the way that they are.
show the power of the athletes voice. but i interviewed the family of the victims and then to interview them but i did not expect him to say it many people do not know my brother's name. when trey von martin was first killed the family was trying to get the media to cover it. but then it with the entire miami heat team.
and those who are fans of theirs. and they were covering and we are trying that shows the power of a road to law as to criticism that they will receive to prepare for it. and that something they have been interested in since high school. and this resurgence is speaking out is beautiful to see. >> to shut up and play or shut up and dribble and that reminds me of jane fonda.
but if anybody should be talking about young black men coming for a lot of those places. and it is insulting for someone to tell me to be quiet about something but what strikes me where we are we listen to famous people and the microphone. we talk about mark cuban as a presidential candidate because he is rich. michael bloomberg's mayor because he is rich. and now talk about oprah because she is rich.
and there is the corollary to what you said of course, and athletes should have the same right as everybody else to spea speak. and this is the point that he made that anybody anybody that has been principled and has a platform should make use of that to present their principled stand. and exclusively about professional athletes. the other thing that is interesting to me coming off what you said and then
seriously at the story with important implications is that a comment and how screwed up our culture is that we don't pay attention to something as significant as a murder on the street until somebody that we recognize from watching them on television speaks out? . >> the fact is so should athletes be required to speak you can somebody require somebody to speak if they are not passionate if they are passionate is their duty to speak as they could say the wrong thing they don't have
that follow-up if they are challenge because what happens if you say something somebody disagrees with the first thing they will do is make you look like a fool like laura ingram did but the whole piece after that was to show lebron james had no business talking about politics other than basketball that was her point and you have to be able to show that person almost kill the messenger to kill the message and show them what you know, what you're talking about and then automatically ready to debate them off-topic and people are not prepared to do that or even want to do that so those people who have a passion to speak out but not just anybody. >> or even the athletes then themselves there is that expectation when an athlete steps onto the field or the
court they are race who they are they are just playing the game. >> as act - - as entertainment but they are workers and laborers and moneymakers but there is still not just the conception of a level playing field but what is supposed to remain not political but you keep talking about a non- athlete mike pence principal to strut out of the colts game as soon as they went down on the knee he told the press hang in the parking lot he would be right back and had a fundraiser that night but then flash forward to him representing the united states in pyongyang at the winter games everybody stood up except for mister and mrs. penson this incredible
night tva he gets it what a great place to make a political statement but of course, it's not. it is hypocrisy that these politics are okay of patriotism the politics that howard was talking about but also sports as an arena and the debate whether or not it is okay and if okay which kind quick. >> i always say we look at black athletes especially in sports as the filter as why donors white coaches white media white season-ticket holder black player. that is how we use sports and that's how it works when you watch television there are very few journalists out there who are talking about the sport they cover normally look
at talk radio especially in this town it is geared to a white audience they don't try to understand the player because who buys the tickets? is not as if the people are watching the games as a cultural mix but who has the disposable income anybody that can afford that? it's not a corporation. it's a lot of monies if you start to look at when i grew up here in dorchester when my family moved down to the south shore we live right down the street a couple years earlier there is the question of ownership and that's one of the things that offends people he look at the player if you were here to entertain me i want to hear your politics and what you have to say.
field and then to ask the group why your numbers drop so badly when they showed the picture of derek rhodes? one of the women said that's political i don't want politics and my sports is of that being hypocritical because when they showed the flag and the soldiers the response changed and they said that's not politics that's patriotism. and he said what's the difference? and we talked about this before our last the audience the same question how many of you with a show of hand believe the american flag is a political symbol?
good audience. most times there's just a few hands if you say what is it they say at the political symbol or they will say a patriotic symbol what's the difference? this is where they have the battle of what is being sold to you were not even talking about the fact when you go to a sporting event it isn't even patriotism it is money because the united states government the pentagon plays for all of these displays is somebody runs out on the field if there is an induction the massachusetts national guard is paying for that it is advertising in the patriots should be ashamed of themselves and every other sport because they don't disclose this but when you watch a game and you see someone from the national anthem it looks like it is an organic display of patriotism
the brewers 2014 through 2016 charged the wisconsin national guard $80000 a year to sing god bless america. there is that money aspect and nobody is telling the public that so all the soldiers in the luxury box your taxes pay for that that is an patriotism to say we support the troops that financial transaction they never disclosed to the public. >> that's part of the reason why you see what you don't see in the nba as much because i interviewed a lot of those ceos from the nba and i wanted to ask him and mark cuban and these interviews with coaches and ask them how they interpret athletes
speaking out and then i said even if it's a topic you disagree with if they speak out on topics that you disagree with where do you have the issue? because i wanted to be encourage those young athletes and all of them said no. we appreciate that talk about oscar robinson or the platform yada yada yada. and to endure a response through the nfl and so i went to be fair just to see. it's not like you didn't know
already but you know, the position here is the response. no question. . >> so that question that occurs to me there is a question the fact that we are where we are and i think howard you eloquently talked about the current landscape mohammed ali was pretty much universally recognized as a person of peace before he died and was cheered mightily when he lit the torch at the atlanta olympics and decades after the 1968 olympic display are recognized as brave and heroic figures any number of athletes would fall into that category why are we still in this place where as a culture
we cannot accept? we have to wait 30 years for colin kaepernilck to be celebrated as a patriot? why can't we learn collectively as a culture from what we as a culture in the movement is that we only celebrate people after they are dead or so old they are no longer dangerous? . >> i interviewed john carless one - - san carlos and he said that he was at a speaking engagement speaking to different universities that mohammed ali was public enemy number one. but then what was going on in the sixties and malcolm x.? can you imagine?
[laughter] . >> you're right. so they are like hey. so 30 or 40 years from now as we read about calling caper neck and to be surprised by all the people say all these wonderful things about him wait. that's not what happened when he took a knee and that's what happened to mohammed ali and he said all the time that loved him and embraced him. >> but there is this shock that always happens when an athlete opens her mouth and unless you have one of those moments of national transformation like joe lewis who becomes an american and a
defender of democracy because of his opponent who was a german and the rise of fascism or jesse owens we have these moments of acceptance because it is out of context but every single time it is operating as an organic individual they are shocked. >> somebody said let's not forget mohammed ali died in june 2016 and colin kaepernilck took any less than 90 days later so people say why are we celebrating mohammed ali? because he's dead he's not a threat anymore. he was not indicting anyone in the present and i think it's the same thing with jackie robinson when i took my time to go see 42 i lived in northampton so we went to the cinema and we were watching the movie and you are
listening everybody is laughing at this cartoonish racism because it is so preposterous i'm looking around in the dark but this is not a remarkable position they were taking back then it was a common position and the difference is it is one thing to indict the past and another to look in the mirror but colin kaepernilck was not indicting the past but our current system and looking at you and everybody and said this is unacceptable to you who have friends or relatives on the police force whereas jackie robinson or mohammed ali talking about uncles and grandparents from 50 years ago or 75 years ago that's the biggest difference looking at this from the indictment standpoint you know, that
jackie robinson descended into the culture we know it was a mistake because you know, how the story ends but the story now if who wants to be the bad guy? that it happens with the notion something that was brought up a lot throughout my book interviewing athletes of the past it was that ungrateful athlete they were just so ungrateful you are so ungratefu ungrateful. >> if you make money now you are supposed to be a citizen you no longer have relatives and the other thing goes back to what was said earlier about labor-management relationship that they have with the players but also the public has with the players that we
treat the players as if they are given something they work harder than you. trust me. and the reason they work harder is because if i mess up a story tomorrow i'm not getting cut there's not an eighth grader right now trying to take my job and there's not a farm system or they have somebody slaughtering to replace me at the end of the season. >> a lot of people think that athletes are in a protective bubble they don't have to worry about society and i was talking to big group of young males and they said they don't understand the issue with the police because that's not the reality they don't see that and i said people say it all the time but look at what they
say and i have no issue. [laughter] . >> but i say that you understand your interaction with the police is completely different than my interaction when i was driving some of the players home after practice one night we were stopped by the police immediately i turned on the interior light i turn the music down and roll the windows down and pulled out my wallet and check out the registration and hands at ten and two and they look at me like what you're doing a policeman comes up how are you doing license and registration please i am going to put my registration on the dashboard is that okay? he says yes. i would slowly move to go get
it and give it back to him. slow movements as i'm talking to them because those are my players. that's just the reality that my son was really upset you should not have to do all that. you do not do anything wrong he looked at you like you were a criminal treating you like a criminal and i said listen the way that i act in that situation can be the difference of us getting home safely or not getting home safely now let's talk about reality right now the most important thing is to get home safely and to get you all home safely so yes i can just have
my windshield up there is tension that i did not create in the first place because that's the nature of being a black man in america. as you say that it resonates differently you're not supposed to have that issue as an athlete a lot of athletes say they experience this after they are at a game thousands of people are cheering for them i could go through so many different prescriptions and in the airport there are so many they have these stories so those personal stories maybe something is wrong. >> with that as a question of ownership what are you
supposed to be what are you supposed to have? i finally bought a nice car. that my cousin on the other hand, he would live in a box and have a great car he doesn't care about anything about his car so we were at wimbledon i went to go play some tennis and here comes the police right behind me. and he says your registration has expired i wasn't even thinking about it because i got home in mid july it had expired while i was out of the country and the cop said to me legally i cannot let you drive away we are supposed to impound the car because you are not supposed to have an expired registration do you have a smart phone?
he said hop on the registry website you can renew it i will just sit in the back and then you can go so i registered and gave him the signal and then i lost the match that i played but if that had taken place in rocks. could've been a different story because i wasn't supposed to have that car maybe instead of a professional who can afford a car why do you have that quick so you are drug dealer? you have something i believe you should not have it's all a question of ownership and optics and if you have no concept of what you are supposed to have a not supposed to have you will never get it. >> or what you are allowed to have. that you are supposed to choose the sport if it chooses
you but the context of that is that we are letting you. >> and that they are given nothing the first thing they say in football man up. they don't care about you. you are a widget. you are a commodity to be replaced if your head is bashed in. >> which you will. . >> we do want to get to some questions. >> i know who you are. out. every event i do this man shows up i don't know why i don't want him to ruin your event. . >>. >> he is at every event that i go to. . >> not a heckler.
why do you think some of these are more terrified than others? to embrace the nfl are they terrified her major league baseball? there is an underlying reason because as you mentioned the players roughly the same demographic the owners of the same demographic those that watch the game. >> i think this is just that that was may take after interviewing him and if anybody wants to go to the details of donald sterling but the way he handled the players and respected their rights i don't think it move that swiftly with other commissioners but they had to
start at the top but a lot of times you look at the demographics and the sponsorship and a lot of stuff done does lead to money. >> one thing i would say is that the biggest thing to me is money. the football player contract the team still controls your money the money is not guaranteed you are under contract. so in the nba you have to respond to the player if the league and the nba they offer something else i know magic and mary the league was on its way out they need each other as partners because they were in deep trouble in 79 and 80 in the nfl knowing that they could survive without the players it is more of a spirit of partnership that lebron and michael jordan.
>> but also do you think what happened was sterling it happened in the nfl? . >> but if they did if all the players said they didn't want him there? do you think the league would have reacted crack. >> i can imagine. [laughter] i can even imagine if they did. >> that brady and aaron rodgers and all those guys. >> is it a parallel situation that the numbers of players have said they regard the name of the washington franchise as a racist name but then nothing has changed. >> everything is related to economics and consequences of what happens on every level
consequences for the league and the players and that's one of the reasons with college sports most of that conversation is professional because the consequences of the athlete that you're not old enough to know what you are doing you're too young there consequences can be more dire they are cutting off the future before they start. >> that is true. >> what happened with crossing the picket line in boston do you think that will continue happening because it's happening around the country and if it the nfl? at the hotels i don't know where the astros stand but they are on strike and this is
the question if you begin to put all of these together do you have the connectivity between the players in football and basketball and baseball? do they recognize there is a labor community? do they connect with the players in college like shut the game down because of what was happening on campus? and do you also recognize when you check into a hotel that the workers are on strike will you walk right past them do you feel a connection? is that taking place or are you out for yourself. >> that's what i was going to talk about you spent a lot of time talking about the recent protest of black lives matter
but then there is the other stuff like athletes refusing to go on trips to israel or the sons with taccone and laws about immigrant so of fido on one becomes a fight for all if there is a connection there? . >> and even the white house. you look at somebody like lindsay voss alpine skier very much not black making a statement during an interview to cnn that she asked the question directly and she thinks about it and says no i will not go to the white house then everything blows up i hope she breaks her neck i hope she does this admittedly this is america's golden girl and this is what is thrown at her i remember reading the comment section don't do that
ever ever. [laughter] that this one woman whose name was susan who said she really helps united states olympic community asked them if they take any before they put them on the team that's the craziest trial i ever heard of. so you play the anthem to see how they react before they get on the airplane? so even that then you look back at the anniversary a 68 they didn't even have the opportunity to say no. >> it's an interesting place right now because the referendum is very dangerous to me when you start to think about the implications for example, i don't know if anyone has questions about nike but i have two lines
whether or not this was raw commercialism and this is what bothers me with one corporation and the nfl in professional sports which profit from patriotism and now you have another with kendall jenner and now the other corporations profiting off of protest so neither one of these concepts should ever baby for sale protest and patriotism should not be for sale but then on the other hand, you have a message being sent in this country right now it is all right for a corporation to take everything that you have because you disagree with them we will remove you even somebody head of his own for something that she said they just took from her and she is wiped out and she said something that was
people don't realize that. that is retirement that is recruitment. >> i was going to say we have to get out of there but i will be very quick i had a wonderful conversation from the three star general who was instrumental in katrina and i asked him with book research, i don't know if i feel comfortable with my 12 -year-old being recruited to join the army because he's watching the red sox and he said that's too bad. we have to man the force in our recruitment numbers are down they are the lowest they have been and in the last ten years and he said we tell parents hold them as long as you can because we need them in the force and if we can get
that exposure anywhere else up there watching a cowboys game to see the f-14 flyover and he's motivated to serve his country because of that then so be it. >> having massachusetts play down south it is dangerous. [laughter] . >> thank you thank you for a great discussion i am just curious i will buy all three of your books and read them and enjoy them but you are our favorite but to this audience i feel there are people like me who might do the same thing. how do we take this message to a different audience?
to reach a much more diverse group? . >> i think is happening right now different groups are helping each other and you are getting different people in favor of other people so you are getting that message that not just one group but into a wider audience i just came back from a conference and it was absolutely amazing so what you are saying is definitely true we just need more of it. >> it's okay for sports not after a week of brett kavanaugh. [laughter] [applause] but if you encourage kids like anything else that they study to investigate and read about it and take meaning out of it. >> i write for scholastic news
and i write for kids. [applause] what is your best advice for writers who want to make a difference? . >> read. >> read. >> a lot of research. >> not just your opinion but an informed opinion based on research and read people that you disagree with a lot. >> read people you disagree with and get the facts. >> last question. >> talking about moveon and can you address the issues? . >>. >> there is one issue i think i read about in your book about the wnba so i devoted a whole chapter to the wnba what they could do collectively i thought was amazing with those back-to-back killings one
summer during their season so minnesota first where she was killed in that we support and black lives matter and then the president of wnba said nobody else do that again so that it ignited them collectively the new york liberty, everybody started wearing the shirts to gather so i interviewed a prominent player and said how did you do that how did you get everybody? you have four players don't even understand and they said first women do it differently. [laughter] laptop and then they had empathy so they saw we were hurt by something this assisted their teammate if their sister is hurt then we will stand by her.
>> they by the way you don't get that especially with white men 60 years worth can barely name a white player but i do want to throw out one quick thing. looking at my project when i was finished one of the questions that came across was the idea of a female heritage and where are they but what is important is without the wnba they are paid virtually nothing compared to the men. must of the women in our individual athletes. dorothy hamill, hamill, olympians, serena williams, their money comes directly from sponsors. if you see somebody go out to take up a prominent or controversial stance the very first thing they are worried about if the sponsors will pull.
>> and a double gold medalist to put their hand on their heart. >> that is what made it so special they are all speaking out. and then to come forward after a long time when they were abusing all of these olympians it was heartbreaking to hear it had been going on for that long and nobody said anything. one player says something and then they outcast her. but then they say that happened to me as well. i saw this then everything started to move. but i thought that was a great model to show especially young female athletes who don't feel empowered. so to show the power that they have collectively. >> or if they are empowered they are held to different standards is the case in point. >> true. >> thank you very much.
[cheers and applause] . . . . >> you can also follow along behind the scenes on social media at booktv on twitter, instagram and facebook. >> well, good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the national churchill library and center. my name is michael bishop, and i'm the director of the library.