August 4, 2020

Taking a Knee

Julio is joined by guest co-host Jamilah King, reporter and host of the Mother Jones podcast, and today they are talking sports. They're joined by Howard Bryant, senior writer for ESPN, and Shireen Ahmed, co-host of the feminist sports podcast Burn It All Down, to discuss what professional sports look like during a pandemic. They also dive into how the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight for racial justice is playing out on the field. And finally, they reflect on the need for systemic change in the world of sports.

Bryant points out that if you begin to normalize COVID-19 in sports by saying if outbreaks emerge we'll just "keep it moving," a dangerous precedent is set for moving into the fall.

"Let's not forget, people are thinking about that same thing when it comes to college sports, when they're thinking about reopening public schools, when we think about how we're going to begin moving into the fall. So it's not simply a, "I'm really, really glad to have sports back." On the one hand, that's very true. But on the other it's, like, okay, how much policy is being shaped by watching these guys play?"

While many disadvantaged communities might think that their struggles are intrinsic to their own communities only, Ahmed points out that Black, Indigenous, POC, immigrant and refugee communities need to understand that their struggles are inherently connected to white supremacy.

"You can't choose for whom you stand. Like if you are homophobic, you can't be like, well, Black lives matter, but not gay Black lives. Like what does that even mean? Does that even make sense? This is the thing of getting communities, whether Latino, whether LGBTIQ, whether a mix of everything, getting them and immigrant communities, refugee communities to understand the struggles are inherently connected—that's key."

This episode was produced by Nour Saudi.

ITT Staff Picks: 

  • Jamilah King writes for Mother Jones about soaring coronavirus cases as baseball, basketball, and football leagues consider how to reinstate their seasons. 
  • Jemele Hill writes, "The NFL can only make a difference if those in positions of power—a category that most certainly includes Ross—embrace this opportunity to make bold statements rather than maintain the status quo" in this piece for The Atlantic.
  • Nathaniel Friedman and Jesse Einhorn write about the process of restarting the NBA in this piece for The New Republic.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool

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