Uneven Playing Field

Why does Black activism look so different in the NBA and the NFL?


Episode Notes

Whether the issue is COVID policy or police violence, Black athletes can’t run, jump, or score their way out of the racial power dynamics of major sports. On today’s episode of A Word, veteran sportswriter and author Howard Bryant joins Jason Johnson to talk about the intersection of sports and race. They discuss the controversy over basketball star Kyrie Irving’s vaccine resistance, former NFL coach Jon Gruden’s offensive emails, and Colin Kaepernick’s endless campaign to return to the football field.

Guest: Howard Bryant, veteran sports writer, commentator, and author of several books including The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism.

Podcast production by Jasmine Ellis.


About the Show

America doesn’t need another conversation about race. At least, not the kind we’ve been having … the ones that are sparked by a crisis and move quickly from shock to empty promises to forgetting. No. What America needs are REAL conversations about race—ones that shine a light on the facts, the history, and the reality of how race plays out in our politics and society. That’s what Slate offers each week on A Word … with Jason Johnson. A veteran political commentator, Johnson will bring his incisive wit to thoughtful discussions with leaders, journalists, and other change-makers who will tell the truth about America’s challenges around race and offer ideas on the way forward.

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