This past Monday, the sports networks of NBCUniversal – GOLF Channel, NBCSN, NBC Sports Regional Networks and the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA – simulcasted Race and Sports in America: Conversations, a one-hour roundtable discussion special on race and social justice. As a result of the viewer response and feedback from the special, an encore presentation will air Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry and Basketball Hall-of-Famer and TNT/NBA analyst Charles Barkley headlined the panelists participating in the roundtable discussions that focused on topics ranging from social justice, locker room conversations about race, and ways that sports can help combat inequality. Additional topics included the relationship between athletes and law enforcement, reaction to George Floyd’s death and reflections on personal experiences in the weeks since, and thoughts on what the conversations should be a year from now.
Hosted by NBC Sports’ Damon Hack, athletes that joined Curry and Barkley on Race & Sports in America included:
- James Blake – 10-time ATP tennis champion
- Troy Mullins – World Long Drive competitor
- Anthony Lynn – Los Angeles Chargers Head Coach
- Jimmy Rollins – World Series champion Shortstop, NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst
- Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings Tight End
- Ozzie Smith – Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer
Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Jerome Bettis also sat down with Damon Hack for an extended one-on-one interview that is available on NBC Sports’ digital and podcast platforms. The full interview is available HERE.
The special was filmed on Thursday, July 9 at the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe, where the panelists were a part of the field at the 54-hole celebrity golf tournament that aired on NBCSN and NBC.
“This crap started 400 years ago. We can't do anything about that. We can't do anything about systematic racism. What I challenge every Black person, every White person to do: What can I do today going forward? And you have to tell yourself, ‘I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.’ Because if you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem.” – Charles Barkley
“We have to continue to double down and keep people accountable in all walks of life, all industries, all forms of leadership, the judicial system. And hopefully for my kids’ generation, their kids, we will see change. – Stephen Curry
“People are now ready to listen and ready to learn. I was so encouraged to see that America cared. The protests. There were so many people that got up and did something about it. The message is we're still looking for equality. It's not here yet. It's 2020. It should have happened many years ago. It's not going to happen overnight, but they're still fighting for the right cause and for justice.” – James Blake
“You have a group of guys, sometimes they grow up and they're taught to hate each other. But they come together under certain circumstances, they grind every day, get to know one another, trust one another and become like brothers. I can't think of a better example of guys coming from different backgrounds, economic‑wise, different races and different beliefs and religions. When it's all said and done, so many times I have seen racism change on a football team.” – Anthony Lynn
“We're so into our phones and into ourselves that we have no more humanity; that we've lost it somewhere. And what it means to be an American, what it means to be a Black American, a Black woman playing a very majority white sport. I felt that I wasn't doing enough, that I needed to change my life somehow to be a bigger voice for people that don't have a voice.” –Troy Mullins
“What I like about this movement, what I just said, it isn't just Black people out there. It isn't just Whites supporting Blacks; they're Asians; they're Hispanics. And people from every walk. Because they understand. If a Black life matters, then all the rest of the lives will matter.” – Jimmy Rollins
“Until you step out of your environment and put yourself in someone else's shoes ‑‑ for me that was sitting in those social justice meetings and listening to my teammates and to their stories and things they've gone through, because I've never gone through that as a White male. But it allows me to have empathy instead of sympathy. And I think that's what's important for us as White Americans to help change things.” – Kyle Rudolph
“There's hope when you look at the demonstrations that are going on. Our White brothers, our Latino brothers, there's more of them out there than there is us. So there's an awareness now that hasn't been there, that I think as we go forward, if we keep the pressure on, change is coming. Is sports the vehicle? It's always leading the way. Once we get sports back, we'll continue to take the steps for us to get to a point where there's some degree of equality.” – Ozzie Smith
“I know that the next generation will benefit from the demands that we put on our country, on our government and on the individual people themselves. So, there's going to be a benefit. We may not see the clear benefit of it. But hopefully my children, my children's children and all our children will see that benefit. But we have to continue to stay diligent and not let up. Because if we let up and say, okay, it's enough, then things go back to the status quo. And we can't have it let it go back to where it was.” – Jerome Bettis
-NBC Sports Group-