Monday Night Politics: The Intersection of Sports and Social Justice
On October 23, Raben hosted a conversation about the role of the NFL and its players in today’s social justice movements, and the complicating juxtaposition of race, power, and influence. We were joined by Joe Briggs, Public Policy Counsel at the NFL Players’ Association; Colin Allred, ex-NFL player turned Obama-era civil rights attorney; D’Qwell Jackson, 11-year NFL veteran; and award-winning journalist, Chris Jenkins of The Washington Post. More about them below..
From the pee-wee leagues to the Super Bowl, sports have been an enduring American diversion. Athletes have long used their profile and visibility to raise awareness about issues they care about. And in particular, African American athletes, perhaps most famously U.S. Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos who took a historic stance at the 1968 Olympics, often feel compelled to use their platforms as an opportunity to take a stand against injustices they see in their communities.
Colin Allred: Colin Allred is a civil rights attorney and former NFL linebacker who played for the Tennessee Titans. While serving as Special Assistant in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of General Counsel during the Obama administration, Colin worked to ensure that the most vulnerable among us have opportunities to live in dignity. Colin is currently running to represent Texas’ 32nd Congressional district.
Joe Briggs: Joe is the Public Policy Counsel at the NFL Players’ Association, where he interfaces with local, state, and federal elected officials in the interest of current and former NFL players.
D’Qwell Jackson: D’Qwell Jackson is an 11-year veteran of the NFL who spent his career playing for the Cleveland Browns and the Indianapolis Colts. He is the founder of the Real Hopes, Real Dreams Foundation.
Chris Jenkins: Chris L. Jenkins is an award-winning journalist and executive producer. During his 17-year career at The Washington Post, Chris’ prolific writing has explored politics, poverty and social policy. Most recently, he led the Post’s award-winning journalism on police-involved shootings in the Washington, DC area, and on the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.