Derek Chauvin verdict – Have leagues upheld social justice promises since George Floyd’s murder?

8:58 PM ET.

ESPN Staff

The murder of George Floyd – and the graphic images that captured his last breath – has shocked athletes, coaches and leaders in professional and amateur sports. With the country already on the brink of a COVID-19 pandemic, a viral video showed Derek Chauvin, then a Minneapolis police officer, kneeling beside Floyd for nearly nine minutes before he died on the 25th. May 2020 is dead.

The death of an unarmed black man at the hands of police officers is nothing new in America, and the murder of 20-year-old Daunt Wright this month is the latest reminder of that. But Floyd’s murder seems to have had a galvanizing effect on the sports world.

Well-known athletes from various leagues and sports have participated in protests against police brutality in the United States. Legends, including the famous and taciturn Michael Jordan, spoke: I support those who are speaking out against the deep-seated racism and violence against people of color in our country, he said in a Jan. 30 statement. May. We’re done. Some of the NFL’s biggest stars, including Patrick Mahomes, Ezekiel Elliott, DeAndre Hopkins and Saquon Barkley, have released a video titled I Am George Floyd, calling for justice for the victims and supporting their right to peacefully protest.

Rene Montgomery, then a guard for the Atlanta Dream and now a team co-owner, missed the WNBA season to focus on social justice issues. The US national football team has issued a joint statement of support for Black Lives Matter, while individual stars such as Rose Lavelle have spoken out on social media: I will never know the fear and pain of being black in America, but I saw the injustice and the cause of that fear and I sided with the black community in that struggle.

The cumulative effect forces those in power in sports to pay attention: Do you want to support us?

In the months that followed, many unions and organizations promised action, funding, and platforms to combat racism inside and outside the leagues. The source texts include powerful statements, the creation of social justice organizations, passionate Zoom rallies, anti-racist helmet stickers, and Black Lives Matter signatures. Others were less specific or slower to respond.

Michele Meyer-Schipp, MLB’s director of personnel and culture, told ESPN last week that it was a shocking wake-up call. Organizations had to speak up, their staff demanded to speak up, and that was a turning point for us and for other organizations that understood: You know what? We need to be vigilant and keep our finger on the pulse, because this is a serious issue affecting our workers and the community, and we need to pay attention.

Nearly a year after Floyd’s murder and after a jury found Chauvin guilty Tuesday of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, we look at the progress of the unions, their actions and their negligence, and the work that still needs to be done.

— Myron Medcalfe

NBA: Players increase their activity

In the days following George Floyd’s murder on the 25th. In May 2020, professional and amateur athletes from across the country participated in protests against police brutality and social injustice. Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP photo

After the death of George Floyd, the reaction of many NBA players was quick and immediate.

Minnesota Timberwolves players gathered on the 29th at a meeting in Minneapolis hosted by former NBA star Stephen Jackson. May co-organized. As Black Lives Matter marches begin to gain traction across the country, players like Stephen Curry, Jaylen Brown, Malcolm Brogdon, George Hill and Damian Lillard have also taken to the streets to protest.

Commissioner Adam Silver sent an internal memo to league personnel in the days that followed, stating that the NBA shares the outrage and extends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd, Ahmod Arbury and Breonna Taylor. It reminds us that there are wounds in our country that have never healed, he wrote. Racism, police brutality and racial injustice are still part of everyday life in America and cannot be ignored.

The following week, the National Basketball Coaches Association formed a racial injustice and reform committee to find solutions in NBA cities. His statement, signed by 33 current and former head coaches and nearly 180 assistant coaches, reads in part: As NBA coaches – head coaches and assistant coaches – we lead groups of mostly African-American men, and we see, hear and share their feelings of disgust, frustration, helplessness and anger. The events of recent weeks – police brutality, racial profiling and armed racism – are shameful, inhumane and unacceptable.

Prior to the start of the 2020 season bell in Orlando, Florida, some players expressed concern about whether a takeover would divert attention from the ongoing protests and demonstrations for social justice, or whether the environment could hinder their organizing efforts.

But meetings between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have led to decisions that have intensified messaging in the pandemic bubble – from consistent statements on jerseys like Black Lives Matter and I Can’t Breathe to messages on the court showing players how to increase their involvement.

2 Connected

The 5th. In August, the NBA pledged $300 million over 10 years to support economic empowerment in the black community, improve diversity in coaching and leadership ranks, and transform arenas into voting centers for the 2020 presidential election.

But another turning point for the sport and the country came on the 23rd. of August in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where a white police officer shot and killed Jacob Blake, a black man.

Three days later, the Milwaukee Bucks went on strike and failed to show up for the fifth round of their playoff series against the Orlando Magic. On the evening of the 26th. In August, the NBA had postponed all three playoff games, and the WNBA and other pro leagues did the same.

Half my brain is locked in the playoffs and the other half is working on how I can help black people in America get stronger, LeBron James said at the time. I know people are tired of hearing me say this, but we are afraid, just like the blacks in America.

The hiatus led to two days of meetings between players, coaches and executives to discuss how and if they want to continue through the 2020 season. Ultimately, the players decided to return to the playoffs and the league collectively announced initiatives such as improving access to voting rights, promoting civic participation and advocating for meaningful reforms to policing and criminal justice.

We didn’t think it would go like this, Bucks guard Wesley Matthews said at the time. But we are grateful that this moment, this pause, this reprieve has helped everyone to rethink and realize that everyone needs to step forward.

In the eight months since, the NBA has delivered on its financial promises, with most teams and stadiums doing their part. The 5. In April, the league also announced the distribution of $3 million of the NBA’s initial commitment in the form of grants to nine different organizations as part of its broader commitment.

But while the players’ union steering committee receives weekly emails and text messages informing them of the NBA’s diversity initiatives, diversity among head coaches has stagnated, as ESPN’s Kevin Pelton explained last month.

That’s not to say that all coaches should be black, but how often has a black coach had the opportunity to coach two Brooklyn champions in situations like this? I didn’t see it, Chicago Bulls guard Garrett Temple, who is vice president of the players’ union, told ESPN. That doesn’t make it what it was in my opinion, and it would be unrealistic to expect it to be scrapped within a year.

We still have a long way to go.

Every day, police brutality changes the lives of families, Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant said recently. At this point, I don’t know what to say.

— Malika Andrews

WNBA: The competition has definitely reached its goal

The WNBA and its players have dedicated their 2020 season to women who have died as a result of police shootings or alleged racial violence. Stephen Gosling/NWAE/Getty Images

WNBA players have long been social justice advocates. In the wake of the COWID-19 pandemic and the deaths of Bronna Taylor and George Floyd, sophomore commissioner Katie Engelbert gave the league a chance to support its players’ initiatives.

While Engelbert is at 5. June issued an initial statement – the WNBA rejects racism in all its forms … We will build on this commitment and support WNBA players in their fight against racial inequality. Enough is enough – the league and players union teamed up to announce in one month that the season will be dedicated to women killed in police shootings or alleged racially motivated violence. The common platform was called Movement for Justice.

Following the unveiling of the season plan, the WNBA formed the Social Justice Council, which now serves as an educational and organizational hub for player activism. It met with Stacey Abrams, Michelle Obama, Raquel Willis and Kimberle Crenshaw, founder of the Say Her Name campaign. The league also donated $50,000 to the African American Policy Forum’s Aid to the State Farm Community program in recognition of the players’ efforts.

Throughout the season, the WNBA’s players have drawn attention to women’s stories and the prevention of such violence. The league has approved player apparel, e.g. B. Warm-up shirts with a black living mother on the front and Say Her Name on the back. Every player had Brenna Taylor’s name on their jersey.

After the WNBA, as well as other leagues, played their three games on the 26th. In August, after boycotting the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Engelbert told ESPN’s Holly Rowe: We have a very important program for the players. … So I was there to listen to them, talk to them, maybe share some of my experiential knowledge, and help them think strategically about what this evening means to them and where they want to go next.

The players continued to play defense, often with the vocal – and sometimes financial – support of Engelbert and the division office.

Given what the players did last year when they were dealing with several crises at once, I hope they get some relief, Engelbert said recently. It is a heavy burden for players to carry their messages and powerful statements about being a woman and a professional athlete outside of the sports landscape.

After Kelly Loeffler, then co-owner of the Atlanta Dream, was fired at 7. After sending Engelbert a letter on July 7 speaking out against the league’s Black Lives Matter movement, she was urged by WNBA players to lose her seat in the U.S. Senate and sell the team. Both were successful: Player-elect Rafael Warnock entered the Senate, and the dream passed to Larry Gottesdiener, Suzanne Abaire and former Atlanta guard Rene Montgomery.

The Social Justice Council and the players union are now focusing on educating players about the COVID-19 vaccine through a series of webinars. The APS Board will address health equity in the 2021 WNBA draft. The Women’s NBA will donate another $25,000 to the Black Women’s Health Imperative.

Sources on the teams and players contacted by ESPN last week believe the league is doing its job by supporting its players.

The league has fully achieved its goal, a source told ESPN. The challenge will be to continue to push the boundaries of what sport can do to bring about change, especially if that change is seen as too radical.

— Katie Barnes

NFL: More money, more attention in Inspire Change

Some NFL players have criticized Commissioner Roger Goodell’s initial response to George Floyd’s murder, calling him and the league out for using the words black lives matter. Kyle Terada/USA Monday Sports

Players and others in the league were disappointed and angered by the lukewarm tone of Commissioner Roger Goodell’s initial statement following Floyd’s death on May 30, in which he promised that the NFL would continue the important work of addressing these systemic issues with our players, clubs and partners.

A group of sports stars felt it reminded them of the league’s failure to support players like Colin Kaepernick during the pre-game protests that began in 2016, and called on Goodell to address the issues more forcefully and directly, urging him to say: Black lives matter.

The 5th. In June, Goodell posted a video on social media in which he stated: We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong by not listening to NFL players sooner and encourage everyone to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe that black lives matter and add that without black players there would be no National Football League. He promised that we were listening, that I was listening, and that I would contact the players who have made their voices heard and others to determine how we can move forward together for a better, more unified NFL family. This second statement formed the basis for what was to follow, and no public complaints have been filed since.

Goodell has since reached out to players, including Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, one of the stars who called on Goodell and the NFL to respond more forcefully to Floyd’s murder. Mahomes confirmed on June 10. that he had spoken with Goodell, adding: He gave us his support. Mahomes’ presentation was about the NFL’s Voice Project, which seeks to encourage voting and community involvement.

In the meantime, the League has increased its financial commitment to social justice initiatives. At the time of Floyd’s death, the NFL was finalizing plans for the third season of its Inspire Change program, which is aimed at reducing barriers to opportunity in four areas – education, economic development, criminal justice reform and police-community relations – and was funded in part by a $100 million grant from the Players Coalition alignment.

We really decided that this work should continue. Social justice shouldn’t be something that only happens at a certain time of year, it should actually be 365 days a year.

Anna Isaacson, senior vice president of social responsibility for the NFL.

Floyd’s murder prompted the NFL to make two changes. In addition to the $8.5 million that will be paid out over a 10-year period, 13 new grant partners have been added, bringing the total number of grant partners to 30. In early February, the union said $95 million was in the works. A total of $1,500 was distributed through more than 1,200 individual scholarships. The second, according to Anna Isaacson, the NFL’s senior vice president of social responsibility, was an internal change that brought the program to the forefront of the league’s consciousness during the season.

This has manifested itself in public messaging, including an agreement with players to allow social justice messages on helmets and playing fields during the 2020 season. Previously, the NFL limited its social justice efforts to the postseason. But last season, the End Racism initiative was featured just outside the end zone, and players had the chance to honor a victim of systemic racism and police brutality with their name or initials in the form of a slam dunk.

Plans for the end zone and slam dunk for the 2021 season remain in development, said Isaacson, a longtime NFL executive who was transferred to his current position in 2014 to lead the league’s primary response to domestic violence. This work has been extended to all aspects of social responsibility.

We really decided that this work should continue. Social justice should not be something that only happens at a certain time of year, but it should actually be 365 days a year, she said. We really wanted to make sure that everyone in the organization was accountable and that it was part of our culture.

— Kevin Seifert

MLB: Amazing Awakening

Major League Baseball was the first professional league to join the Citizens Alliance, a non-partisan business group dedicated to increasing voter registration and early voting/voter education via email. John Spink/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP Photo

Major League Baseball rarely takes a public stance that could jeopardize its standing with fans. Players like Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente, and Hank Aaron, now known as sports heroes, were often criticized during their careers for their pioneering work.

Because of this culture, baseball players have often been slower to react, and the MLB was the last of the four major American sports leagues to publicly acknowledge Floyd’s murder, on the third. June, nine days after his death, made a statement on social media.

The reality that the black community lives in fear or dread of racial discrimination, prejudice or violence is unacceptable. To solve this problem, we must take action, both within our sport and in society, it says. MLB is committed to engaging its communities to make changes. It will take time, effort, and collaboration to address the symptoms of systemic racism, prejudice, and injustice, but we will pay equal attention to the roots of the problem.

The most interesting decision the league has made since that announcement is to move the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest of a new law in Georgia that Democrats and voting rights groups say will disproportionately disadvantage voters of color.

We really try to keep politics out of the game, we really do, Michele Meyer-Schipp, MLB’s chief human resources and culture officer. The decision to move the All-Star Game] is about democracy and basic human rights and the strong values that everyone should have fair and equal access.

Commissioner Rob Manfred hired Meyer-Schipp, who is black, in August as part of his effort to overhaul the league’s approach to racial inequality and diversity in sports. The MLB has taken further steps to empower minorities in the sport by having conversations about diversity in baseball on social media, and the MLB Network.

The commissioner’s own position diversified last year with the hiring of several former players, including Ken Griffey Jr. as special advisor to the commissioner, Michael Hill and Raul Ibanez as senior vice presidents of baseball operations, Rajai Davis as senior director of field operations, Joe Martinez as senior director of field strategy, and Bo Porter as a consultant for coach development.

MLB also contributed a total of more than $1.1 million to the Zero Campaign, Color of Change, Equal Justice Initiative, Jackie Robinson Foundation, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and, along with the MLBPA, contributed $10 million to Player Alliance programs. Programs with the Players Alliance include joint annual grants through 2024 that provide player-led mentoring, increase black youth participation in baseball, support black cultural education, camps and programs to remove barriers to participation in baseball, expand partnerships with black youth businesses and provide scholarships to the black community.

MLB is the first sports league to join the Citizens Alliance, a non-partisan group of companies that aims to increase voter registration and engagement through a corporate initiative called Voting Time, to make it easier for employees to access and learn about options to vote early or by email. The NBA, WNBA and G-League have since followed suit.

— Jun Lee

NHL: Action by an ally

The NHL doubled a $50,000 donation to PC Subban’s daughter, George Floyd, one of the league’s most prominent black players, in June, but made no other public financial contributions. Jamie Sabau/NHLI/Getty Images

The NHL remains one of the most white-dominated leagues in professional sports. The league has no black owners, team presidents, grandmasters or head coaches, while about 95 percent of the players are white.

The 31st. In May, six days after George Floyd’s death, the NHL issued a statement acknowledging that he was still deficient.

We share the sentiments expressed by our players and clubs in their demand for justice and encourage everyone to use their platforms and privileges for systemic change, the statement said. In our own sport, we will continue to improve and work hard to develop the culture of hockey, while trying to be aware of our own shortcomings.

To do this, the league had to align the entire hockey ecosystem around training.

According to Kim Davis, NHL executive vice president of social impact, growth initiatives and legislative affairs, it was really important for people to get a better understanding of what is going on in our country and how we need to evolve as a sport. Especially since our form of change will be by allies because we have so many white players compared to other sports.

When the NHL made the announcement, Davis, who is black, said the reaction was surprising. Many league members told him that they wanted hockey to be part of the social justice movement, but that they knew of no better approach given the lack of diversity in the league.

It was never a question of not having enough money. Frankly, people didn’t know what to do, said Davis, who reports directly to Commissioner Gary Bettman. I heard the owners and the presidents talking: We know we need to do something, but we’re not sure how to do it.

Mr. Davis leads 21 people in the Social Impact, Growth Initiatives and Legislative Affairs (SGL) group, the Industry Growth Fund (IGF) group and the Public Affairs group. Davis’ team introduced a program for NHL teams in the summer called Bold Talks, but warned that was just the beginning.

By June, 50% of the 32 NHL teams had already collaborated or committed to collaborate with external organizations to advance diversity and inclusion education. At the same time, 72% of groups (23 out of 32) reported having established or planning to establish a diversity and inclusion council, task force or advisory board. In addition, 59% of teams (19 out of 32) reported having programs in place to increase the participation of youth from the official BIPOC language community in ice hockey.

As for the NHL’s call for everyone to use their platforms and privileges for systemic change, Davis cited former NHL players Anson Carter and J.T. Brown working with the Alliance for Penal Reform. You’re on this committee with people like Ariana Grande, Diddy, Chris Paul, Davis said. Historically, the NHL would never actively intervene.

This season, the NHL and Bauer created special skates in honor of the league’s first black player, Willie O’Rea. Fourteen players wore skates, the proceeds of which will be auctioned off to benefit the Black Girl Hockey Club scholarship fund. Although the NHL is looking for ways to honor O’Rea this season, the idea of using the proceeds from the BIPOC project was prompted in part by Floyd’s death.

As for the league’s own financial commitment, in June the NHL received a $50,000 donation for George Floyd’s daughter from P.K. Subban, one of the league’s most prominent black players. No other public financial investments have been made by the league, although an NHL spokesman said the league has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on diversity and inclusion training in recent months.

In June, the NHL established four management teams of its own: Executive Involvement Committee (co-chaired by Buffalo Sabres owner Kim Pegula and Bettman), Player Involvement Committee (with current and former male and female players), Fan Involvement Committee and Junior Hockey Involvement Committee. In November 2020, the CIS commissioned an analysis of the current state of diversity in the NHL.

Many would say it took longer than it should to get up to speed, Davis said, pointing out that the league deliberately selected committee members and trained them in courses at the Korn Ferry consulting firm before they could even meet.

What we want from them is action, Davis said. The Executive Committee is not there to generate ideas. They listen to the ideas of the key stakeholders – the fan involvement committee, the player involvement committee and the youth involvement committee – and then make certain decisions about resources, advocacy, sponsorship, which we have to control at the highest level of the league.

Davis said the union is now considering how to use the movement as motivation for long-term, sustainable change.

I’ve started thinking about the frameworks and models that we need to put in place at all clubs so that in five, 10, 15 years we’re not starting from scratch, but making progress and measuring it over time, Davis said. I am proud of the progress I have made. And I’m very optimistic about our future, based on what I’ve seen of us over the past few months.

— Emily Kaplan

MASCARA: Racing needs to become more inclusive

After George Floyd’s murder, Bubba Wallace asked NASCAR to ban Confederate flags at his track. A few days after his comments, the organization issued a statement banning the flag from all its events and properties. Chris Greiten/Getty Images

On 1. In June, NASCAR issued a statement on the disturbing events that occurred in America following the murder of George Floyd.

If we are to heal and move forward as a nation, we must all listen more and unite against racism, hate, senseless violence and loss of life. And we should all be held accountable for positive change, the statement said. While progress has been made in our sport over the years, there is still much to be done and we are aware of our responsibility to close the racial gap that still exists in our country. We must do better, and our commitment to promoting equality and inclusion remains and will never waver.

A week later, Bubba Wallace, the only African-American driver in NASCAR’s premier league, said the next step should be a ban on the Confederate flag so everyone can feel comfortable in NASCAR. Two days later, NASCAR issued a statement informing fans that displaying the flag was prohibited at all NASCAR events and facilities.

Over the next ten months, NASCAR made several changes, including the creation of management alliances and various employee committees within the company, to stay true to its commitment to fostering a more inclusive environment.

One week after the confederate flag ban, former black NASCAR Touring Series manager Brandon Thompson has been named to the new position of vice president of diversity and inclusion. One of Thompson’s priorities was to identify areas where support has been lacking in recent years, including engagement with black consumers and supporters, more specific outreach to women, and broader support for the LGBTQ+ community.

NASCAR’s recent diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives include the creation of four employment advisory groups (EAGs) for women, blacks, Hispanics and Latinos, and LGBTQ+ employees to provide additional support and community building, with plans to use the EAGs more strategically. Thompson also began working with human resources to develop a hiring policy that encourages recruiters to choose from a wider range of candidates. The team also decided to focus on professional development and leadership development initiatives to further promote a more inclusive environment within the firm. Since June last year, seven colored employees have been hired or promoted to the level of manager and above, and three of them have been promoted to senior positions in the company.

Everything we have done should not exclude anyone, but should include everyone.

Brandon Thompson, NASCAR vice president of diversity and inclusion.

Following the discovery of a noose in driver Bubba Wallace’s garage last year at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR updated its sensitivity training methods by partnering with Ross’ Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), the Institute for Sports and Social Justice and DECK Leadership. Since then, more than 3,000 successful courses on sensitivity and unconscious bias have been taught. NASCAR did not respond to requests for information about financial investments.

In addition to the changes to the office, NASCAR has partnered with the Women’s Sports Foundation, UnidosUS and the Trevor Project to support organizations that promote diversity and inclusion and social causes. NASCAR has also added initiatives to its existing partnerships with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Over the years, NASCAR has strengthened its relationship with HBCUs through numerous partnerships, including. B. Drive for Diversity to HBCU campuses to bring the sport to a more diverse group of students.

His latest project is to launch pilot esports programs in partnership with the Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC) esports community, which will include games featuring athletes from the 12 SWAC member universities and esports competitions streamed live on Twitch. The partnership with the airport provides an opportunity to learn more about NASCAR and gives students the chance to explore future careers in motorsports and gaming.

In a February brand tracking study commissioned by Directions Research, a company that specializes in business solutions for NASCAR, 1,750 avid and self-identified NASCAR fans were surveyed about their opinions of NASCAR’s attitude toward social justice over the past year. Those 16 and older were three times more likely to approve of the actions of NASCAR fans, those 4-15 were six times more likely, and those 0-3 were eight times more likely.

NASCAR is open to everyone. Everything we did was not meant to exclude anyone, but to include everyone, Thompson said. In fact, we have taken an inside-out approach. There wasn’t much to do about the application. We focused on the work and the actions rather than the words. We spent most of the time on ourselves.

. Maya A. Jones.

University sport: Athletes have the greatest impact

Kailyn Hill has vowed not to play his final season at Mississippi State in 2020 if the state flag is not changed. Mississippi was the only state flying the Confederate flag at the time. Allison W. Smith / Washington Post / Getty Images

In response to George Floyd’s murder, NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement that the college sports community needs to make its position clear that this cannot be tolerated. We must therefore commit ourselves, individually and collectively, to see what we can do to make our society more just.

The NCAA has since tried to be proactive with statements, stories and programs highlighting the efforts of athletes, conferences and schools, assistant director of communications Greg Johnson told ESPN earlier this month.

She created a website to promote athlete activism, conduct a study on athlete involvement in activism, and present strategies on how to become active yourself. In addition, the organization’s website contains a page with several references to issues the organization has addressed since Floyd’s death, including a list of goals related to racial justice and equality. The NCAA also developed a six-page racial justice policy, most recently following the mass shooting in Atlanta on 16. March Resources to Combat Racism in support of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Information about diversity and inclusion campaigns is also disseminated through social media.

And while the NCAA’s response and actions have been more educational or symbolic, it is the athletes from the 1110 NCAA schools that have had the greatest impact on college campuses. Their own statements, actions and protests have led to awareness and bridging of the equity gap in college sports.

Mississippi State running back Kailyn Hill vowed not to play if the state flag was not changed, as Mississippi was the only state flying the Confederate flag at the time. A week earlier, the NCAA expanded its policy on the confederate flag by banning all of its championships in states where the flag flies.

Iowa fired strength coach Chris Doyle after complaints that he contributed to a racist team culture. Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard criticized head coach Mike Gundy for wearing a T-shirt from One America News, a far-right news network known for promoting conspiracy theories and whose hosts have called the Black Lives Matter movement a farce.

These are just some of the actions athletes take to address racism in a sensitive way. An action that only draws attention to the problem or gives a false sense of equality and unity cannot be tactful.

One of the biggest and most important efforts was the #WeAreUnited movement, started by Pac-12 athletes, whose main goal was to end racial injustice in college sports and society. The group identified actions under four specific objectives that included actions to improve COWID-19 safety protocols, protect the livelihoods of all sports, protect economic freedom and equality, and end racial injustice. It is the most ambitious and comprehensive plan to eradicate systemic racism in college sports and ensure equality for all participants. Most of the players’ requests were not met by then-commissioner Larry Scott.

Elisha Guidry, a UCLA advocate who is a leading member of the #WeAreUnited movement, said: I feel like people are more aware now, and that there has been a lot of education, but I don’t feel like there has been a lot of action.

Things are moving, but not as fast as we would like. The NCAA is still stubborn and just trying to slow down the flow of this group of athletes into college, and the new group of athletes don’t care that much, Guidry added. As we have seen, the police are still killing people. That doesn’t change, Guidry said. It should be, but it isn’t. Let’s see if they keep doing all this token stuff or take it to the next level?

— Harry Lyles

Tennis: players take over the torch from.

Neither the ATF, the WTA, nor the USTA made a financial commitment to social justice after George Floyd’s murder. Thomas Cordy/Palm Beach Post/USA Network Monday

Like college sports, professional tennis has no central voice.

Because tennis is a global sport, most of the players on the ATP and WTA tours are from outside the United States, and there is no formal union in which the players can act collectively, most issues are settled by individual players – mostly black Americans.

Days after Floyd’s death, teen star Coco Gauff spoke at a Black Lives Matter rally in her hometown of Delray Beach, Florida.

She said it wasn’t just about George Floyd. It’s about Trayvon Martin. We’re talking about Eric Garner. It’s about Brenna Taylor. It’s about what happens. I was 8 years old when Trayvon Martin was murdered.

So why am I here, at the age of 16, demanding change?

Frances Tiafoe released Rockets Down, a protest video in which she reached out, and Naomi Osaka participated in a protest in Minneapolis and wrote an article for Esquire magazine about systemic racism and police brutality.

Osaka’s decision not to play in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open after police shot Jacob Blake in August caused the most visible uproar in the organization. The USTA, ATF and WTA jointly suspended the tournament for one day to make a statement against racial inequality and social injustice.

Next week during the US Open, the USTA will unveil its Be Open campaign, inspired by this moment, featuring original artwork by black artists at Arthur Ashe Stadium and video vignettes about champions and pioneers of diversity and change.

It’s important that we hold all of these organizations accountable for what they’ve said they’re going to do, because if we don’t continue to see progress, I think it’s absolutely fair to say: What you’re doing isn’t working.

Marisa Grimes, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, USTA

Our commitment to openness has been made even more urgent this year by the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, the organization said in a statement about the initiative. Continued efforts to make our culture inclusive and welcoming to all can only help us in our search for answers that heal our communities. Seeing our differences as valuable assets will only make us stronger.

Osaka, who won the U.S. Open, wore seven different masks during the tournament – one for each match – with the name of a black American who died as a result of racial injustice or police brutality. It’s about getting people to talk, she said at the tournament.

The leaders of the sport haven’t said much.

Neither the ATP nor the WTA have issued a statement in response to George Floyd’s murder, but have used Tennis United’s joint digital broadcast to give players an opportunity to speak about the issue. In the episode of the 6th. In June, black players Francis Tiafoe and Taylor Townsend spoke separately about their experiences with racism in the country and in sports, and their efforts to change it.

Tennis United provides a platform for our players to make their voices heard, is the message at the beginning of the nine-minute video. Today is no different. Tennis United, together with its players, supports unity and equality.

The USTA, which as a national governing body serves 650,000 members at all levels of sport, hired Marisa Grimes in January to fill the vacant position of chief diversity and inclusion officer and has since made increasing diversity in all sports a priority, from recruiting in the national organization to hiring players, coaches and officials at the local level.

On 1. In June, the USTA issued a statement on current developments. The organization did not mention Floyd’s name, but referred to the painful and relentless hardships and dangers faced by the African-American community and called for reflection and conversation.

The USTA encourages us all to reflect on the idea and legacy of our sport’s motives, listen to the African-American community and work together to find answers that will heal our communities. It’s time to stand up and show solidarity with our friends and colleagues of color. We know that these efforts are simply not enough, but given our humanity and that of all, we hope that this is a good start.

None of the three organizations made public financial commitments. In a joint statement, ESPN, the ATP and the WTA said the tours remain committed to increasing tolerance, diversity and inclusion, but did not provide specific numbers or initiatives to achieve these goals, other than to continue using the Tennis United platform to discuss social issues among players.

Grimes said she spent much of her first three months hearing from both internal audiences and other partners in the tennis community.

Because there have been so many women of color in sports in recent years, I didn’t realize [until I considered the position] that sports wasn’t always as diverse and inclusive as it seems, Grimes told ESPN. But my goal is to realize my previous perception and build a more inclusive culture.

It hopes to build on the growth of last year’s Be Open campaign at the 2021 U.S. Open and will be more action-oriented this time around. The USTA is working with the players and other organizations, including the ATF and the WTA, to formalize its plans.

It’s a lot of work, but it also takes a lot of time, Grimes said. But it’s important to hold all of these organizations accountable for what they’ve said they’re going to do, because if we don’t continue to see progress, I think it’s only fair to say: What you’re doing isn’t working.

I think the focus should be on us and the other organizations that are working to move forward so that we continue to do that.

– D’Arcy Maine

Football: Slow steps in a quiet sport

U.S. Soccer has made an effort to reinforce the social justice message with its senior national teams, including the women’s team, by using Black Lives Matter letters during the warm-up for their recent games. Brad Smith/International Intelligence Agency/Getty Images

Soccer in the United States has many stakeholders, from the US Soccer Federation to the MLS to the NWSL, and all of their leading organizations have issued statements in support of social justice in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

On 1. June MLS wrote among other things: We are united with the black community in our country and share the pain, anger and frustration. We hear you. We can see you. We’re with you.

The NWSL also tweeted on the same day: The NCCW, its athletes, owners and officials stand in solidarity with those calling for fairness and equality. Our country simply has to do better, and our league will do everything in its power to lead the change that this moment demands. Commissioner Lisa Baird added that diversity will definitely be the guiding principle for us. He should be in America today.

The USSF statement just read: A nation. The team. United Against Racism.

And while none of the groups have come forward with immediate steps to address the problems within their leagues and the sport in general, some have taken several initiatives since last May.

The MLS and its clubs have been the most active in the last eleven months. In February, the league hired Saul Winley, a former NFL executive and A+E television executive, as its first chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. A DE&I committee was also formed, consisting of members of Black Players for Change (BPC), Soccer Club for Racial Equality (SCORE), and members of Pitch Black, a group of MLS premier league employees.

Last October, MLS committed $1 million to BPC and launched the Supplier Diversity Program to create opportunities and engage minority-owned businesses. As part of its youth development initiative, MLS NEXT, the league announced last month that it would offer anti-racism training seminars, as well as better access to coaching licenses for diverse applicants. The MLS also uses resources from the league to help close the representation gap in the sport. (Currently there are only two black head coaches and two black athletic directors.)

MLS teams participated in Black Lives Matter pre-game ceremonies when they returned to play in July 2020. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Five MLS club stadiums were used as polling places/voting booths in the 2020 presidential election to increase access to voting rights. There was also an MLS Vote for initiative to encourage voter participation. D.C. United has hired Danita Johnson as president of business operations, making her the first black female team president in league history.

Commissioner Don Garber recently told ESPN that MLS will take steps to financially support organizations that can make a difference in our community. This includes addressing the general inequalities and injustices in football, from youth to professional level, and ensuring equal opportunities at all levels.

Not much has changed at NSFR since last year, which league officials say is because there are about 15 people working at the league office. The NHS has announced a sponsorship agreement with Ally that includes key diversity, equality and inclusion initiatives over the lifetime of the sponsorship.

For the fall series, the league awarded scholarships to the top three teams, which in turn could donate to local charities. Several league teams have chosen causes related to racial equality and social justice, including the Houston Dash (local chapter of the NAACP), OL Reign (Black Future Co-op Fund) and Gotham FC (New Jersey Institute for Social Justice).

In June, the USSF Board of Directors, which determines the day-to-day operations of the federation, rescinded a policy that prohibited players from kneeling during the national anthem, a decision that had been formally approved by the USSF National Council (the organization’s voting members) in February. The vote was not without controversy as Seth Ian, then a member of the Sports Council, made inflammatory remarks downplaying the effects of slavery and calling instances of police violence against the black community a statistical anomaly. Ian was then deposed by the other board members.

The USSF was later criticized for not doing more to condemn Yang’s comments, although he later issued a statement distancing himself from his remarks. Meanwhile, former US international Kobe Jones lost his candidacy for the USSF vice-presidency and expressed his disappointment.

It’s a missed opportunity for American football, Jones said of his election loss. It was a day and time when everyone was talking about social issues and everything that was going to happen, and it was a great opportunity for American football to get involved in the different events that were happening.

USSF has been working to spread social justice messages to its national senior teams. The men’s team adopted the slogan Be The Change and the women’s team the slogan Black Lives Matter during the warm-up for their 2-0 win over the Netherlands in November.

Much of what has been implemented has been internal to the organization, which is a necessary step given the lack of diversity in the past. The USSF assessed the organization’s O&M needs, created an internal committee, implemented training programs, and hired a human resources director.

These changes are considered the first in the series. Once the USSF puts its house in order, ESPN hopes to introduce more open programming to a sport that many believe is not effective enough to be inclusive.

I’d say it’s a mixed bag, really. The court’s decision is still pending, said Justin Morrow, defender of Toronto FC and executive director of BPC, about the actions of the MLS and USSF. For us black players for a change, the MLS has done a fantastic job. I know that enthusiasm and intentions are on their side, and that they come from a truly authentic place. … We may be a little frustrated that things aren’t moving faster, but that’s what MLS is telling us. This is how it works.

— Jeff Carlisle

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