Monday Aug 03, 2020

Episode 33: The Sports Industrial Complex with Kevin Blackistone

In this episode, Derek is joined by national sports columnist Kevin Blackistone to talk about the sports industrial complex, social and political upheavals and rebellion in the sports world, and how sports media upholds, contributes to, and silences racial violence, racism, and white supremacy. Kevin Blackistone is a long-time national sports columnist now at The Washington Post, a regular panelist on ESPN’s “Around the Horn,” a contributor to National Public Radio and co-author of “A Gift for Ron,” a memoir by former NFL star Everson Walls. He is also Professor of the Practice in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, where he teaches courses on sports reporting and on sports, protest and the media.

The episode begins with Kevin’s take on the place of sports media in considering wider cultural and social implications of sport and sporting culture. They talk about the complicity that sport media have in contributing to, reinforcing, and suppressing white supremacy and racism, which Kevin has written about in his piece “The Whitening of Sports Media and the Coloring of Black Athletes,” published in the Wake Forest Journal of Law and Policy. The two then shift the focus to the powerful role that athletes have in mobilizing social and political change and specifically address recent statements made throughout professional sports leagues, including the brilliant work done in the WNBA by athletes like Rebekkah Brunson, Maya Moore, and others. The episode concludes with a discussion of the exploitation of predominantly black athletic labourers in the NCAA, which Kevin has written about in The Washington Post, and some of the futures we can envision for both the NCAA and higher education more generally.

You can keep up with Kevin at The Washington Post or on Twitter @profblackistone. Please also check out the documentary Kevin is producing on Native American mascotry in sport called Imagining the Indian, and perhaps refresh with our own discussion with Jacqueline Keeler on the same topic.

After listening to the episode, check out our recent piece "Canceling the College-Football Season Isn't Enough" published in The Chronicle of Higher Education.



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