From Robinson to Kaepernick: The Evolution of Athlete Activism

From Robinson to Kaepernick: The Evolution of Athlete Activism

(audience applauding) – You know, I’m glad we’re sittin’ down. (Dr Edwards laughing) It’s very rare I get a chance to look up at somebody like that.
– You’re good. – Hey, this is an awesome opportunity and I thank all of you so
very much for being here. Lemme just say at the very top; while we have the foremost authority in this field to talk to you, I know as Tommy Amaker
has been trying to ensure that you guys are getting
some intellectual substance so that you can kinda figure out what path in life you wanna pursue, nothing’s gonna be better than a master teacher in that regard. We are gonna have a Q&A portion as well. So please, it’s only gonna be
as relevant and as meaningful as you guys and ladies ask questions of Dr Harry Edwards as well, too. Now the one thing I know about
Dr Edwards of all the years, he has so much written
on a tablet of his heart because of all of his experiences. We’re not gonna get to
it all this evening. So with that in mind, I
know there’s some things that do weigh heavy on your mind as well that we won’t get a chance to talk about. Give us a thumbnail on
those two or three issues. – Well I think that there are three issues that already will decide of
the sports political horizon that we’re gonna have to deal with that we won’t get to tonight. One is the concussion issue and impact it’s gonna have on
developments that interface of football, race and social change. The concussion issue means that within the next college
generation and a half. Perhaps two, at the
most six to eight years of the NFL is gonna be blacker than the NBA ever dreamed of being because that’s who’s playing the sports. You look at the decline and participation in USA football and Pop Warner Football. You look at the numbers of people who are simply saying that
my son can’t play this game because of the concussion issue. But African Americans in essentially the same numbers
are playing the sport. That means high school up
through the collegian ranks, specifically the super elite
conferences and the NFL, football is gonna be black. It’s gonna look like Ghana
playing Nigeria out there. So given that fact, you’re
goin’ to have differences in terms of management demands. You’re gonna have differences in terms of the politics of the game. And at some point the NFL and these elite college teams are
gonna have to get in touch with the African American
Medical Associations, the National Medical
Association and so forth, and bring African American
doctors into the situation simply to shore up the
trust in what they’re doing in a sport that is about as
close as you can get to war and still stay civil in
terms of the injury issue. So that’s one: the concussions and its impact race relations and so forth in that sport. The second issue, I think,
is already well-decided of the horizon is the
situation of women’s sports, which are under threat
of really going extinct. We talk about 1972 in Title IX, but nobody talks about
1973 and Roe v. Wade, which gave colleges and universities the assurance that they
could give a young lady a scholarship in April and she’d be around that following March to play
an NC2A basketball finals, or that June to run in the
NC2A track and field finals, or to play volleyball or what have you. Now with a title with Roe
v. Wade under assault, with Planned Parenthood under assault, we’re already seeing in some states declines in participation
in women’s sports. Two states that we are watching is North Carolina and Texas. Texas went from 44
women’s clinics down to 14 and only four of those have admissions rights to hospitals which
means they can do nothing essentially that has to do with medical services involving pregnancy. So what we are already seeing is a decline in women’s sports
participation in some states where these clinics are under assault. What that means is that we can
find ourselves very quickly back to a situation where women’s sports began to suffer tremendously because of the diminishing
pool of athletes available. The third thing is the
realization of marijuana. We have a situation now where
we are actually recruiting athletes who have been off
all practical purposes, marijuana users of some
since junior high school and high school; we’re bringin’ ’em in. They’re not picking up the
habit once they get to college. They’re coming in smoking
and with the legalization where a block, two blocks off campus. In these states where it’s been legalized, you can go and buy a bag of grass as easily as you could buy a Snickers bar. A few years back this
constitutes a major challenge for these athletic programs. Because one thing is absolutely clear: everything that’s legal is not legitimate. It’s not legitimate for airline pilots or surgeons or dentists. It’s not legitimate for
somebody to go into a courtroom defending a defendant high on grass. Everything that’s legal is not legitimate, so we have to work with that problem. From the high school level
through the collegiate level right up through the pro level. I see the marijuana issue
particularly in the eight states in DC which have already legalized it and the 29 states where
there’s some measure of medical marijuana tolerance as becoming a major
issue that’s already well this side of the horizon. Especially given the
demographics that are changing in some sports, but more
generally all sports at the collegiate and professional level are gonna have to deal with this. So these are some things that we can’t get through the night. We have opened the Institute for the Study of Sport,
Society and Social Change at San Jose State University where we are focusing in
on some of these issues and trying to devise reasons,
analysis and resolutions to be offered to the athletic institution about how best to deal with these and an array of other
issues that a lot of people simply have not thought about. – You’ve sounded the alarm. But before we move into
the topic of this forum, if you will, are you not
seeing a level of concern, a sense of urgency by those people who are one: either concerned or charged with the responsibility
to address these issues? – No, most of the people
who I’ve talked to have never given the situation with women’s sports and a
threat to women’s sports any thought whatsoever. They don’t realize that Title IX is great, but the thing that made
this whole situation move from 26 schools that gave scholarships to women and athletics to now over 530 is the fact that schools
have some assurance that the woman they
gave that scholarship to in March or April was gonna be around to participate in the season once she enrolled as a freshman and through her senior year. They have never given that any thought. They haven’t put the
assault on Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood and some of these other
women’s services together with how we got to where we
are in terms of women’s sports. Same with the marijuana issue. We know that there’s been a
marijuana problem in sports for some time but now that it is legal, that is going to expand phenomenally. Not just because it’s available in states where it’s been legalized in
the vicinity of the campus, but so many young people
are coming into college because everybody around them is smokin’. Many instances their parents are smoking. Their relatives are smoking
their friends, their homies, everybody is around
them because it’s legal. Nobody goes to jail for it anymore, so they are bringing that with them. The colleges and universities tend to see themselves as
we’ll manage the problem, he’s a great athlete or
she’s a great athlete. We’ll manage the problem. Rather than saying let’s
us figure out a way to manage the problem before we recruit these young people and bring ’em in here. They simply don’t think systematically and analytically about it. – That’s a little
disturbing to say the least. Okay, the topic from Jackie
Robinson to Colin Kaepernick if you will, the growing
social activism by athletes. Dr Edwards, you’ve been
at this for a long time. If we’re talking about
where we’ve come from and where we are today, you struck me with why at this point, you’ve been doing this for how long? You fill in the blanks. Why is the passion still there at age… As I’ve teased before, at age 55? (Dr Edwards laughing) Why is the passion still there now? – Well I think that you don’t choose to do the kind of thing that I’ve done in terms of linking up my academics and athletics with my social activism. I became a scholar
activist from the first day that I realized that sport was not the toy department of human affairs. Nobody was paying any attention to the dynamics and realities
of those relationships. But with African Americans,
one of the few areas that we were allowed some degree of participation in mainstream of sports. I felt that there was a obligation to clarify what those relationships were. Because that situation is a
dynamic situation and ongoing, my involvement with it has been ongoing. The same passion that I had in 1968 when I organized the Olympic
Project for Human Rights, I have today with regard
to what Colin Kapernick and Michael Bennet and Malcolm Jennings and so many of these
other athletes are doing. Lebron James, Cp3D Wade/Carmelo, what these other athletes are doin’. So that passion is still there. Probably on my death bed, the last words out of my mouth will be I protest. This is a life-long endeavor,
it’s not just advocation. Let me go back to not
just to Jackie Robinson but to Jack Johnson because at
the turn of the 20th century, is when the pattern was set in terms of sports role in the
struggle to broaden the basis of democratic participation
in American society. If you go back to the turn of the century from 1900 up until World War II, what you saw was a group of athletes who by virtue of their
athletic participation principally in the national arena were demonstrating unequivocally that African American athletic
talent was legitimate. They were pressing for a legitimacy in a society where by law and most certainly by
custom and tradition. African Americans, black people, colored folks, Negros at that time, were defined as physically inferior. Incapable of participating
in organized sports in the mainstream American society. So you found Jack Johnson
who fought Tommy Burns, a Canadian in Australia, to win the heavyweight championship. You found Jesse Owens participating in the Munich Olympic Games. He had been declared in 1932 and 1933 the greatest schoolboy athlete in America but nobody paid any attention to him outside of the Negro press. Even when he went to Ohio State and began to break records, he really didn’t get the kind of attention that he should’ve gotten and accolades that he should’ve gotten. But of course after the
Munich Olympics 1936, he got all kind of accolades. Again in the international arena. Joe Louis had fought
52 professional fights before his name appeared
in a sports headline in a major American mainstream newspaper. He had fought 52 fights. But after he had knocked out
Max Schmeling in the rematch in 1938, he became The Brown Bomber. He became The Maroon Marauder. He became The Shufflin’ Slugger. Anything they could do
to keep him in his place, but it was recognition again
in the international arena. Paul Robeson was the
first African American, all-American name to the
Walter Camp All-American team. But he received his greatest accolades in the international arena as a actor, as an author, as a singer most certainly. So that first wave of black athletes struggle for legitimacy. If we can beat the world, we most certainly should
be able to participate in mainstream American sports. Then post World War II,
you had Jackie Robinson. You had Larry Doby in baseball. You had Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Marion Motley, most certainly Bill Willis with the Cleveland Browns. In football you had Chuck Cooper and Earl Lloyd in basketball,
they struggled for access from the end of World War II in 1946, up until the middle 60s. Then in the middle 60s you
had a group of athletes in a third wave that came along who struggled for dignity and respect. Here we’re talking about
Bill Russell, Jim Brown, most certainly Mohammed Ali, Tommy Smith and John Carlos, Curt Flood, Arthur Ash. Curt Flood said, “I’m a
$80,000 a year slave.” He was saying you owe me
more dignity and respect than to simply up and
move me and my family as if I was a piece of
property that was owned. I want the dignity and
respect of being a human being as well as being a great athlete. Today we’re looking at a
fourth wave of athletes who realize the power inherent in their positions in sport. When the owner of Under Armour, who had a multimillion dollar contract with Stef Curry came out and said Donald Trump is a tremendous
asset and so forth. Stef got on the phone and said, “Hey, you don’t have to explain that to me “because I agree with you if you remove “the ET from the asset. “He most certainly is.” That next day that owner
took out a full-page ad in the Baltimore newspaper
saying that he was misquoted, he was misunderstood,
here’s what he really meant. You have Lebron James and Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade go on ESPN say, hey we
got something to say doin’ the espace. How much time you need? That would’ve been
unimaginable in the 1960s when I was organizing the
Olympic Project for Human Rights. You have athletes who
are lining up and saying, “What we see going on in
the community is wrong. “We’re better than that.” They also realize as
Michael Bennett found out that the only reason it was
Mike Brown lying in the street in Ferguson, Missouri
and not Michael Bennett and not Lebron James
and not Malcolm Jenkins is that they were not there because they are subject to the same identical kind of treatment. So now they’re saying,
let’s leverage this power. Let’s leverage this money,
let’s leverage this position as a world-class athlete
in this age at this time. This is our generation’s obligation. They’re not doing it
the way that we did it, but we didn’t do it the
way that the generation who came before us did it. That’s why Bill Russell was
not Earl Lloyd to Chuck Cooper. Curt Flood was not Jackie Robinson. Tom Smith and John Carlos
were not Jesse Owens. Most certainly Mohammed
Ali was not Joe Louis. So we’re now in the fourth
wave of athlete activism. As always it is framed by
the ideological substance and structural conditions of the times. What Jack Johnson did, what Joe Louis did, Jesse Owens, Paul Robeson was framed by abject American apartheid. What Jackie Robinson did was framed by post-war World War II movement to desegregate American society. What we did was framed by something that came to be known
as black power ideology. What is happening today is framed by the Black Lives Matter movement ideology, however you want to call that. But it helps to frame the trajectory and coloration of the struggle
in this particular era. These athletes have stepped
into the traditional role of the black athlete in this whole process of broadening the basis of
democratic participation in American society. – Does that framing suggest real progress on a general scale? Because in a court of public opinion, there are still a substantive
and significant attitude of: hey, stick with sports
is the response you get; particularly today as it relates to Colin Kaepernick, et cetera. – Well first of all, progress is one of those
concepts like Prophet. At some point it comes down
to who’s keeping the books. To look at even the situation sense, the onset of the civil rights movement beginning with Brown
versus Board of Education Topeka, Kansas in 1954. Have we made progress? There’s more segregation today than ever in terms of the numbers and
proportions of African Americans who are in predominantly
black or all-black schools. Have we made progress in
terms of voting rights? Today we’re not fighting
for a voting rights bill, we’re fighting voter suppression. Have we made progress in
terms of civil rights? Well, it all depends on
who’s keeping the books. From 1882 up through Dr
King’s assassination, there was an average of
40 reported lynchings. There were more lynchings
but there were 40 a year that were reported. In American society today, 147 African American
men, women and children are shot by police every year. Over three times as many. So in looking at that, is that progress? Are we simply fighting the same battles in a different time period
over different terrain? When we look at Colin Kaepernick, when we look at Michael Bennett, when we look at Lebron James speaking out about some of the statements
and sentiments expressed by the President of the United States. The epithets that are written on the wall outside of his home. They are fighting the same war. It’s a different battle
over different terrain. What has remained the same? Are the dynamics and
processes of struggle. The overriding reality
is that our circumstances in American society are
diverse and dynamic. The struggle, therefore,
has to be multifaceted including sports and perpetual. There are no final victories. It doesn’t mean that
there are not some wins. – What do you mean
there’s no final victory? – I mean that anytime you live in a society such as America, where you have a majority population that is utterly unwilling to deal effectively, openly and honestly with the two major contradictions that’s at the very core and foundation of these integral problems. Namely white supremacy and patriachy which were set in place when ships of European, now would be called white men, came to these shores
and went back to Europe and reported to their superiors. We have discovered a new world and there were people
standing on the shore watching us get off the boat. Right there that told everybody that those people watching
them get off the boat did not matter any more than the trees and the fauna and the squirrels and the wolves and the bears and so forth. They were just another
element to be moved aside in this new land. Then of course when
they shipped in Africans to totally and completely dominate their labor, their bodies,
their minds, their spirits toward the end of economic profit. They had no choice but to dehumanize and subjugate that population not just during slavery,
but in perpetuity. We’re still fighting those battles today. This is why there are no final victories. Final victories will come when white America is willing to sit down and discuss and debate and dialogue about the two factors that
most define who they are, their identity and
their station and place, not just in society but in this world. This is what the backwash was about in terms of President Obama’s nomination. If you have an African American family in the White House (chuckles), then what does that mean? Where are we? Who are we? What are we? So you have this backlash in the wake of the Obama two-term
10 year as President. That was a large part. It wasn’t all of it, but
that was a part of it. So until we are ready to sit down and have an open and honest
discussion in American society, not about race. The whole concept of race
comes out of this need to stratisfy people into dominant, superior,
minorities and majorities. We need to sit down and have
an open, honest discussion about white supremacy and patriarchy. At that time will all of our brothers… Don’t tell anybody old
Edwards told you so, but our sisters too will be free and be everything that we should be and that we could be as a society. – I’m gonna ask a few more questions before we open up to the audience. Doc, you talked about a fourth wave when you documented this
back from the early 1900s. We’re talking 100 plus years now. You are still ensconced in academia dealing with young minds
and influencing them. You mean to suggest to me
that you have not seen any discernible progress amongst young people who are willing to engage in non-homogenous discussions with people who are not looking like them frankly and openly to make progress. You and Bill Walsh signified that however many years ago that was and the optics of that are
not lost on me as well, too. You’re not seein’ any
discernible signs of progress amongst young people today to have those kinds of conversations? – I’m didn’t say that there’s no progress. I said what constitutes
progress as opposed to change often times comes down to
who’s keeping the books. Because we don’t measure
intragroup progress based on a personal relationship such as my relationship with Bill Walsh or my relationship with
the current owners. – That did lead to changes with the minority internship program and coaches numerically. – It led to changes
that were sorely needed. – Correct. – And that is where– – But that was done at
the interpersonal level with you two getting along well. – That’s right and still to this day black coaches are underrepresented. Still to this day we
have one owner in the NFL who is not white. – (mumbles) like progress,
but I’m positing a fact that that interpersonal relationship that you two had to be able
to talk openly and frankly without being offended, or
exposing yourselves if you will, to be sensitive; that
represented numerical progress. – You know what? I’m even willing to be offended as long as the conversation continues. I have no problem with being offended. I’m not thin skinned.
– Hold on, hold on. How did you describe this? You said you’re not a
revolutionary, you are a reformer. But when describing the establishment, you said the change in the
establishment represented what? – Well I think… Look I think what you’re getting at. When I first organized the
Olympic Project for Human Rights, J Edgar Hoover put together
a 3,000 page file on me that he insisted on handling personally. Called me a revolutionary and a subversive for making such outlandish statements and asking such questions as: why should we play when we can’t work? If they won’t hire us a coach what are we doing here
paying their mortgage, putting their kids through college and organizing the Olympic
Project for Human Rights? Today I’m saying
essentially the same thing. Only they call me a consultant and pay me a whole pile of money and say Dr Edwards can we get you to come and speak at Harvard? So at the end of– – Tell me, are y’all paying him? – Now, now. (laughs) – Go ahead. – Now the question that I’m askin’ is is that progress in
terms of the situation? I was fired from San Jose State. Last year they invited me back to give the commencement
address to 10,000 graduates, gave me an honorary doctorate degree and said, “Look, we’re
gonna open this institute “and build it around
all of those questions “that you asked as an academic “including your dissertation
which really jet-fueled, “pioneered the sociology of sport.” Is that progress? Well, time will tell. Tommy Smith and John Carlos
were harangued and harassed and driven off campus. Now they have a 30-foot statue
on San Jose State’s campus right in the heart of
the campus community. Is that progress? As another Boston citizen once said, Malcolm X, “Time will tell.” But we can’t get so caught
up in accolades of the moment that we lose sight of the
challenges of the times. These athletes are sounding the alarm about something that is
critically important. This society has taken a hard right turn. As always as the case
when there’s something systematically negative
afoot in a society. It happens to the nominally
integrated minorities first. Worse, not only but first and worse. These athletes have
been sounding that alarm now going on two years. Beginning by the way with a young lady by the name of Ariyana Smith, a basketball player from Knox
College in Galesburg Illinois, who went to Statton Missouri, a few miles from Ferguson where
Mike Brown had been killed, and when they played the National Anthem, she walked out on the floor
and laid down on the floor in front of the flag for
four minutes and 20 seconds to commemorate to remember to memorialize the four hours and 20 minutes that Mike Brown’s body lay in the street. She was the first athlete to do a National Anthem protest in protest of these killings
that were taking place. She felt that there was something obscene about going within 10 miles of Ferguson playing a basketball game and acting as if nothing had happened. Of course she was suspended. She lost her scholarship. They eventually voted
to give it back to her, she said no it’s okay. She said no I think I’ll move on, but she was the first athlete and I’m so proud of women. This is the thing I wanna press too about the point that I
made about the assaults on Roe v Wade and so forth. Women have played such
a role in this thing that we need to acknowledge that. We need to acknowledge that
dealing with the issues of race and color will not deal with the issues of gender. That that is one that has to
be a front burner concern. There were three black women who started the Black
Lives Matter hashtag. We have to be conscious of these things. So what Kaepernick is doing is following in the footsteps of Ariyana Smith. – I don’t even know if I
like using the phrase Doc, a price to pay, or consequences to be paid, but that seems to be a
reality as you just described with the lady there in Galesburg. Let me go to a clip right quick when you and I chatted prior to the opening of he National Museum of African American History and Culture, I asked you specifically then
about Colin Kaepernick then. however many months
ago, and your response, let’s give a listen to that. So what’s the next step for modern-day athletes in
what we call the struggle? – How do we frame it up so that we can move forward and make our contribution? Right now Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers is
a team I have been with for 31 years is the face of that effort. We have a lot of work to do in
terms of trying to figure out exactly where this is going to end up in terms of the framing. – And how are you helping him frame that? – Well basically it’s
an ongoing conversation. He’s very very bright. Colin is very very bright. He’s very very committed. More than anything else, he wants to have a constructive impact. He understands the
evolution of this movement in athletics going back to
the pre World War Two years. He’s aware of that. More than anything else I
try to answer his questions and to put everything in perspective and give him a broader
handle on exactly where he is and what he’s involved in and as much as anything else, the price, the cost of what he is doing and he is good with all of that. – The price, the cost of all of that. I may have too many
questions wrapped up in this and I’m certainly not going to try to play an attorney up here at Harvard with some of the best legal minds around. But understanding that we all have a First Amendment right, free speech, limited for sure, what would you like to
see these young folk do with respect to growing social activism because Colin clearly has to understand from minds like yours
and his other advisors, that there could be a price to be paid because if you consider the ownership and the multiple layers
that they’re washing this kind of decision through, recognizing what your dealing with, there may well be a price to be paid. So what are you hoping that
this collective young people, men and women, have to
take away from this? – These young people have a
dream of a better society. You don’t do the kind of
thing that they’re doing. You don’t do the kind of
thing we did in the 1960s. You don’t do the kind of
thing that Curt Flood did. That Tommy Smith and John Carlos did. You don’t do the kind of thing that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lucius Allen and Mike Warren did in boycotting the 68 Games altogether, unless you love this country. They have a dream. – Unless you… – Unless you love this country. Because otherwise you take your money and say “Hell I’ve got mine. “Let them get theirs the way I got mine. “I don’t care what happens,” in terms of the land of the
free and home of the brave with liberty and justice for all. You walk away from it
because you got yours. You have to love something
about this nation to make those kinds of sacrifices. They have a dream that, as Dr King used to say, that is inextricably bound
up with the American Dream. And what that means, and what I try to advise young people, it’s great to have dreams. But you must learn to
dream with your eyes open. You’ve got to understand
that there is a price to pay and you’ve got to go into this thing understanding that all along the way, for you to even get into a position where you can be part of a
fourth wave of athlete activism, people have paid the price. And so I try to get them to understand how important it is for
them to do their homework. For them to be student athletes. For them to understand that this thing is not about vengeance. It’s about advancement. It’s about this society, this nation, our country, being everything that we could be and some of what we should be and that there is always
a price to pay for that. So if they will simply learn
to dream with their eyes open, that will be alone will
be a phenomenal step in the direction of behaving intelligently in an informed fashion about these issues. – As much as folks react
on a visceral level to a lot of what they see before
they get to the substance, with the intellect that you have, with the passion that you have, optically you still a big black man with a brilliant mind but yet I’ve heard you use that word love in describing that passion that hasn’t waned in you at all either. – Oh hey you know what I’ve found out in my 75 years, I’m not gonna say 55, I’m not gonna serve
and lie to these folks. (James laughing) In my 75 years, what I have found is that before you can get anybody to care about anything, especially young folks, the first thing you’ve got to do is demonstrate that you care about them. And if you can get them to believe and understand that you care about them, not as basketball players
or football heroes or some young lady
because she’s beautiful, but you care about them as human beings because they’re here, because your interacting with them. You can get them to begin to do things that they did not even
believe that they could do. Love is the single most powerful force on the face of this earth and which is what makes it so
frightening to so many people. It’s one of those things
that we simply have to make part of our strategy moving forward. We not only have to change America, we have to care enough about America to pay the price of change, much less of progress. That goes down to the
individual relationship. Every chance I got, always let Bill Walsh
know that I loved him. That was something that we
said on a regular basis. His last words to me between us was, “Hey I love you.” It made everything move more smoothly. – [James] Yes sir. – So that’s one we have to… Once we get off into hate, once we get off into vitriol, once we get off into downing people, I mean this is what I find so frustrating about our President. I mean we’ve had ignorant
people in there before, that’s not a big deal. But when he speaks of Muslims, when he speaks of women, when he speaks of African Americans, the way he speaks of
protesters versus Nazis and Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists, that’s such vitriol. That’s laced with such hatred that it is disturbing because what that means
is whatever agenda he has, he’s not going to be able to get it done. He’s gonna find himself on
that same historical shelf tier of Presidential irrelevancy alongside the likes of Chester Arthur and Franklin Pierce, you remember Frank and Chester. – You trying to check out
how old I am now right? – He can do so much more. As much as I disagree with his politics, he can do so much more and that bothers me. – So as we move to the question phase, we’ve got microphones
back here as well too but I have to ask Dr Edwards this ’cause when we talked however
many months ago it was down in DC at the museum, I did get some practical
advice from him Satch when he said when he dropped
something on the floor at his height of 6’8, what did you tell me, Doc? – Hey while I’m down I’ll look and see if there’s anything else I need to pick up ’cause I’m not gonna get back
down that far for a while. (James and Dr Edwards chuckling) They should have told
us about this old age. That’s the biggest secret in the world. You know what, you look up there and
you get up in the morning and you can’t just get up. I used to get up and just hop out of bed. Now I get up and sit
there for a few minutes make sure my knees are
gonna bend the right way. (Dr Edwards and James laughing) – I love it, Doc. Do we have a question here? Your name and your question please. – Yes, my name is Lorraine Solito. I am the wife of a football
high school and college coach and I strongly feel so
positive about what you’ve said and your respect in training young people, black or white, to be scholar athletes. It is so important. I’m also a 9/11 mother who
lost her 23 year old son and I wanna remind you
that last football season was the 15th anniversary
of 9/11 on a Sunday in the NFL games and it was that game that the players first took a knee. Those of us that were in New York that afternoon were heartbroken. Many of us cried and were shocked. We were white. we were black. We were from over 25 countries and it was to us, a lack of respect. So I say to you scholar
athletes that are here in these seats and have such a
great venue for young people, I think that knee was a cop out. I do not think the football team now that Mr Kaesternack is on the Bills are being proactive by
making it open dialogue. I even think that young
man who was stereotyped in Las Vegas is considering
making a federal law suit, that’s proactiveness. But taking a knee to me personally and mainly to the 9/11 community, and I think all of our
armed service people, it’s more than just the cops. It’s making a degradation
of a good many people who lost so much and have
seen our country survive. So I ask you, what can you do for these athletes to teach them that they
might have a better voice than taking a knee? – First of all my
condolences for your loss. I’m aware of losses due to terrorism. Since the turn of the century, including my own hometown
of East St Louis Illinois. In 1917 where over 350
black men women and children were burned alive in a white riot. Then Tulsa in 1921 another 350 to 400. Between the turn of the century and Dr King’s assassination
owing to terrorism, lynching and so forth in this country, we lost almost three times as many people as were lost in 9/11, so I understand that loss. My condolences. I know that feeling. I was raised in East St Louis and we lived every day with the results
of the 1917 white riots and terrorism. The second point that
I would make is this. There are people who
have legitimate feelings about the reflection on patriotism of what Colin Kaepernick has done. We also know through analysis, social science surveys, that there is a direct correlation between people who have
some degree of antipathy toward African Americans
and people who are in other disagreement with what he did. Not all by any means. Some of them like you who are
honest and straight forward. I felt hurt. I understand that and
I sympathize with that. I also want to tell you about an incident. I was invited to speak at West Point and while I was there, the young man who was showing me around, who was my escort during the
three days that I was there, had been mentored by another
young man in his freshman year. The young man who had
mentored him was a senior had left three years earlier
and was in Afghanistan and was killed there and they
were having a memorial service that day for that individual. I asked him I said, “You know when you leave here “that you’re not going to
an Ivy League University “to get a PhD like I did. “You’re not going to the NFL. “You’re not going to the NBA. “You’re not going into
some major corporation. “You’re more than likely
when you leave West Point, “you are going to end up in Afghanistan “or Iraq or in harm’s way. “in light of what we’re seeing here “with this memorial service, “what are your feelings about that?” He said, “I’m more committed than ever.” He said, “Because somebody has to step up, “that’s what I’ve committed to. “Duty, honor, country, “the Constitution. “That’s what keeps us free.” As I stood there listening to the playing
of the National Anthem, with tears in my eyes, I fully support standing
for the National Anthem, because I got to know that young man. One of the big problems
with not having a draft is that now we’re so
distant from the military, so many of us have forgotten that freedom is not free. I also cannot get out of my mind what he said. “I’m here, I’m committed “in order to keep us free.” So the backside of that West Point young man’s commitment is the freedom, the right of Colin Kaepernick to protest for our right. The backside of that is that if he wants to take a knee, you may not agree with it. I totally support your disagreement, but he has that right. So often our disagreements
about the method get in the way of the message. What Colin Kaepernick is saying, what Michael Bennett is saying, what Malcolm Jenkins is saying, what Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1968 and Tommy Smith and John Carlos and Bill Russell and Muhammad Ali… What they were saying is
we’re better than this. So we can disagree about the method as long as we’re on the same page in terms of the message. I believe that you and I are on the same, so we can talk about that. You know we can discuss that, we can discuss the message so I’m good with that. We don’t have any issues. We don’t have any antagonistic issues. There are people that I
also know in this society, like the folks that were
marching down the street in Charlottesville. They would be against Colin Kaepernick if he was on the sidewalk taking a knee to the playing of chop sticks. That’s another whole issue. That’s not our no, so I understand. Believe me we don’t have
any antagonistic concerns. – Let me play off that and ask this and you’re the focal point. I certainly have some very strong feelings about that as well. So another way of asking you the question when I said some people feel that you ought to stick to sports, is there such a thing as a right way to protest something about which you feel very strongly about, that which is indigenous or
endemic in your community, when you know there are many neighborhoods where people get stopped
for a traffic offense, a license plate has expired, and somehow many people end
up dead for traffic stops? So what is the right way to protest a very serious issue so
that it can be addressed? – Well I think that that’s something that grows organically out
of the movement itself because the methods that are employed are truly methods that are consistent with the tone and temper of ideology that is
supporting the movement. So when the Black lives
Matter hashtag came out and morphed into a slogan
and then into a movement, it literally framed up and
defined what the boundaries were for legitimate activity. The other point, James, is this. As long as you are going against the winds of tradition and
custom and power and authority in terms of these fundamental basic kinds of human relationship challenges, there are going to be all kinds of efforts to delegitimize and derail that kind of an effort. So you see a lot of people, not the sister back here, but people who say “I don’t
mind what he’s trying to say “but I don’t like the way he’s saying it.” So all of a sudden you’re
discussing the method. We can discuss the method
as long as we don’t have any major antagonistic
differences about the message. Other things that happen that again, people are all shocked about and now there’s a big thing about do you agree with Colin Kaepernick or do you agree with Jim Brown Ray Louis and Michael Vick who
say Kaepernick is wrong? People bring me that about
Jim Brown all the time. Me and Jim Brown have
been talking for 50 years. Ain’t nothing that is happening now gonna come between me and Jim Brown sitting up and talking and
we getting on the phone and calling Jim,”Man what is going on? “Did you see this?” We gonna talk; we been
talking for 50 years. But that again is a way of
deflecting the conversation from the message. All of a sudden it’s about
Jim Brown versus Kaepernick. All of a sudden it’s
about Ray Louis versus… That’s not the issue. That too is as old as these
waves of athlete activism. Joe Louis was brought out of retirement. Used to be a time when you saw Joe Louis, was when he walked through the ring doing a fight or something like that. All of a sudden he’s sitting
there almost at ringside doing color on “Clay’s fight” because they brought
him forward to do that. Jesse Owens who was the first individual to suggest the boycott
of the 1936 Olympics over the treatment of Jews in Germany, before Eva Brundage
went over and came back and said this man Hitler is alright, we can go to Germany and
manage to push it through and avoid a boycott. Jesse Owens was the first
one to advocate that in 1935, but he was sent by the
American Olympic Committee into the Olympic trials
to tell Smith and Carlos, “Hey don’t y’all get involved. “This Olympic project
for human rights thing, “stay away from it. “Don’t do that.” So it became a debate between whether you side with Jesse Owens or whether you side with Smith and Carlos as opposed to what are the issues that Smith and Carlos are talking about? Jesse went in and told Smith
and Carlos the funniest thing. “If you all go through with this boycott “and these demonstrations, “you’ll never be able to get a job. “You won’t be able to get
a job when you get back.” John Carlos stood up and said, “what the hell you talking about? “I can’t get a job now.” (Dr Edwards and James laughing) You know which got us back to
the subject that was at hand. So even when you look at Jim Brown. Even when you look at Ray Louis. Even when you look at Michael Vick saying well Colin needs to cut his hair or somebody saying he needs to talk softer or Jim saying I support
the flag and he shouldn’t be doing this doing the course of the flag like the lady back here said. Those are not the issues. You know we can talk about that. I have no problem talking about that, but what I really want to talk about are the issues and so forth that Colin and all of these athletes in this fourth wave are raising and insisting that we as a society do something about it because we’re better than 147 black men women and children, not to speak of Latinos who are being shot down in the street mostly
unarmed in this society and people simply walking
away from those homicides. – Yes sir? Your name? – Dr Edwards, my name is Wes Furlock, I’m a student here at the Kennedy school. I’m also an active duty military member. I’ve been doing that for the lat 13 years and thank you so much; you’ve given me a lot
to think about tonight as a father of two little girls. You’ve brought up things that
I really hadn’t thought about. Hopefully with my athletic skills, they’ll get it from their mom, and they’ll have to worry
about that down the road. (Dr Edwards laughing) But there’s been a lot of
talk about coming to the table and having the discussions
about the issues and the methods. As an active duty
military member that is… Every minute of my adult life has been in service to this nation and that flag that stands behind you and the National Anthem that we sing and it represents and I
too have tears in my eyes when I hear the National Anthem. It puts me at a crossroads morally in thinking about the future of my girls and what I want America to be for them when I have to decide in a way between the flag and within the methods that I think that are
out there that are right and I believe in but it
puts me at a crossroads to make me decide and it’s hurts my heart because I want to be on the side of right but I also you know, my god my family and my country are the things that have
represented everything in my being. It’s emotional to me. it hurts me and it’s a conversation I’ve had with a lot of people. Similar to the Gold Star mom over here and you say that the
methods aren’t important but the conversation is. I want to have those conversations, but I am morally and physically torn to have those conversations and I think that though the method may not be important, and the conversations are, the method by which it’s going is causing us not to
have those conversations. It’s tearing us apart
versus bringing us together and I agree with you on Charlottesville. I think people that are
walking down the road and doing atrocious things and saying just filth out of their mouth is not the American I want to be a part of and though I don’t in any way think that Colin Kaepernick or any other person doesn’t have the
right to take a knee, they completely have that right and I support that right and I devoted my life
to everything I’ve come for them to have that right. But please help me, Doctor. Please me figure out how
to work that in my mind. Help me to find a way
to come to that table and be able to do both; to be a patriot and to be supporting this method because though the means may not be important, the means are really the conversation. Though you say that we need
to be having the conversation, I think it’s taken away and to follow– – [James] So let him answer the question. – Okay first of all thank
you for your service. I mean that is paramount now. (audience applauding) If I were a billionaire
there would be two groups I would turn to first in terms
of distributing the money. The first would be the children; the second would be the soldiers. The soldiers keep us here
today free and functioning and the children are the
future of this society. That would be what my emphasis is, so thank you for your service. Let me tell you how I
wrap my mind around this. If we require that we be in agreement and all of the big issues are resolved before we come to the table, there’s no reason to come to the table. Problem solved. You can be in disagreement with Colin Kaepernick, with Marshawn Lynch, with Michael Bennett about the protest disposition they take during the playing of the National Anthem. But you can take tremendous pride in the fact that thanks
to people like you, they have a right to that even though you would not do it. That doesn’t mean that you
can’t sit down across the table, in mutual respect and say let’s talk about these issues so that eventually we
can be on the same page, even in terms of our disposition toward the National Anthem. I know people who don’t
stand for the National Anthem not out of political disposition, but out of historical understanding. Francis Scott Key was a slave owner. He wrote words to a song, a tune that involved murdering slaves who were trying to free
themselves in the third stanza of the National Anthem. So people say I’m not going
to stand for this song because it was written by a slave holder who enslaved by ancestors and literally enshrined
the murder of slaves who were trying to be free. Does the extend to the day where you murder black people who are trying to realize they’re full human and civil rights
in American society? When we stand, we honor that. All of that’s out there, but if we are going to allow those differences to stop us from talking about the core issues that bring expression
to those differences, then there’s no reason to go to the table. So am I in total agreement with everybody who
disagrees with me organizing the Olympic Project for Human Rights? Who disagrees with my
support for Kaepernick? Who disagrees with my
support for Lebron James? Am I going to cut them off? No we have got to
continue the conversation. So if I were in the military, I would take tremendous pride in going up to somebody
who felt so strongly about their disposition about, not the flag, not the National Anthem, but about issues that they would
put everything on the line, even talk about the death threats. They put everything on the line in order to make that statement. I would walk up and say,
“Brother let’s talk,” in my uniform. I would walk up and
say, “Sister let’s talk” because one thing we have in common is that we both believe that we’re better than that. We have in common that
we love this country, that we love this nation. Let’s as Americans lets sit down and talk. Let me tell you something else, brother. We gonna come through this okay. We’ve been through a civil war. We’ve been through a
bloody labor struggle. We’ve been through a bloody
civil rights movement. We’ve been through a women’s movement. We’ve been through an
environmental movement. We’ve been through an
anti-war movement over Vietnam that split families, that split mommas and daddies
from sons and daughters. And you know what, not only
did we come through it, we came through it better. We came out better after the civil war. We were better after the labor movement. We came through the civil
rights movement better. We came through the
women’s movement better. We came through the Vietnam
War’s movement better because there’s a line, the first line of the
United States Constitution, we the people. It doesn’t say we the courts. It doesn’t say we the
Presidents, thank God. It doesn’t say we the Congress. It doesn’t say we the Corporations. It says “We the people, “in order to form that
more perfect union.” It doesn’t say we the people
with the exception of athletes. That is what Colin is trying to say. That we are better than that. And it is people like you in uniform who make it possible for us, for we the people after
all is said and done, to pick up the pieces and
make another stride forward toward that more perfect
union in this nation that we all care about and love. I’m more aware than anybody
that if I was almost anywhere else on this Earth, other than the United States of America, behind what I did in the 1960s, forget what I’ve done since then, 3,000 page FBI dossier
and everything else, I’d be pushing pig manure in a barrel and be glad to have the job
if I was still alive at all. Instead I went through and
completed an Ivy League PhD, spent 32 years on the
faculty at UC Berkeley, have four Super Bowl rings with the 49ers, two Championship rings with
the University of Florida under Billy Donovan, a school that I could
not have walked on campus when I came out in 1959 as a scholarship athlete
unless I had a rake or a mop in my hand. So don’t give up so easily. We’re better than that. You see a brother out there
demonstrating, let’s talk. That’s no contradiction to the flag. The only reason we can do this is because this is the
United States of America and that is what Americans do. We’re not only gonna get through it, we’re gonna come out of it better, I guarantee it. – Let me try to get to these
other two here real quickly (audience applauding) Tommy Amaker is kinda giving me the eye, so let’s try to end– – And I’ll be brief – In succinct fashion, do it. So let’s get these last two here. Yes sir, your name? – I wanted to say thank you Dr Edwards, I’m a Mandela’s Scholar
at the Hutchins Center. I’m currently writing a
book on the relationship between Jack Johnson and
the first black champion in Britain was actually
a South African boxer and a meeting they had
in a London prize ring. So in my conception of activism and athletic activism in terms of America, for me they are inextricably linked to how South Africans
see the possibilities of athletic activism
going back as far as 1910 speaking about that relationship
between Jack Johnson and Andrew Jafta who both at that stage, were married to white women and were in some ways transgressing the norms of their time. So my question to you is in
the fourth wave of activism that you speak about, do you think these athletes are also thinking about their
relationship to Africa? – I continue to try to broaden their vision of relevance because the more things you
can hook up historically, the more things you’ll be able
to hook up contemporaneously. Let me tell you a story very quickly about our relationship to South Africa. In 1968 I brought the Olympic
Project for Human Rights to include the banning of South Africa and Southern Rhodesia
from the Olympic Games because of their governmental
apartheid policies. After the demonstrations in Mexico City, Nelson Mandela who was on Robin Island, had the poster that we created in unity with South Africa
and Southern Rhodesia, along with a photo of Smith and Carlos smuggled into his jail
cell on Robin Island. And what he said if you go
back and read the December 13th I believe it is, New York Times, December 6th 2013 when he died, they had a column in there where Mandela had stated that when he got out of Robin Island, everybody was saying get
rid of the Springboks, totally and completely tear ’em up. Let’s start over from scratch. He said “We’re not going to
get rid of the Springboks. “One of the things I learned “from the Olympic Project for Human Rights “is that sports can be used to leverage “the model that you wanna use for society. “We’re not gonna get
rid of the Springboks; “we’re gonna broaden the basis “of democratic participation.” So the Springboks that you see today are the result of him not tearing an organization down and throwing them out and getting rid of them
and starting from scratch with a black and a colored core. He said “No we’re just
gonna open up the try-outs.” Low and behold, they found
that there was some coloreds and some blacks who could play rugby. So at the end of the day, there’s a very close connection between what we were doing in this country and what was happening on
the continent of Africa. By the way, the first group to come out and support publicly the Olympic Project for Human Rights, the first group of athletes
to come out and publicly support what we were
doing at San Jose State was the Harvard University
eight man crew of all… Kurt Canning, Paul Hoffman and that group. When they invited me to
Harvard to speak, I asked them, “What brought you to this
disposition at Harvard “and a crew team at that? I mean to find somebody black
who was dealing with crew is a very rare situation, why? He said, “Because you are right.” Kurt Canning, who was the
captain of the team said, “Because you are right “and the point that you
make is crystal clear. “We are better than
what it is we have shown “and we support you.” In point of fact, it was Paul Hoffman who gave the Olympic Project
for Human Rights button to Peter Norman on his
way to the victory stand so the third man on the stand who was wearing an Olympic
Project for Human Rights button was directly tied into Harvard University. So it’s really a pleasure
and a privilege for me to be back here so I hope I
responded to your question. – Thank you so much.
– Thank you (audience applauding) – Sandy said these will
be the last two; go ahead. – Dr Edwards, I’ve been
sitting here thinking. You and I are both the same age and grew up in the same era and you chose to be a Panther. I was a military man like
this young man over here and I got out of the
military because I made the decision that if I’m
going to give up my life not to go to Vietnam, but I might go down Mississippi
and give it up maybe but I was going to fight in that way. But what gives me the most curiosity about you is your transformation from being a Panther to
be a man who talks about a message of love who has the kind of broad understanding to allow people of all ideas and concepts and so forth and to express their Americanisms in
their way and everything, but gets your support and everything, What turns you around, brother? – Look I was a member of
the Black Panther party. The Black Panther party was about love. They put everything on the line in order to support the community. The Black Panther party started out by delivering food to the elderly, taking older people to
pick up their prescriptions and to pick up their pension
checks and go to the bank. They started an after school program, as I stated in a little short piece, all of the programs that I put together with Bill Walsh were originally designed as after school programs
for the Black Panther party. The Black Panther party was about love to the point that they were
willing to put their lives on the line in order to make life better in the black community. So this idea that the
Panthers were about hate and this and that, hey yeah it metastasized
in that direction, but when Bobby Seale and Huey Newton started the Black Panther party, it was about supporting
and loving black people and doing whatever they
had to do to make sure that black people were safe and secure and progressing in their own community. In terms of what played into my own life as far as reaching out to
people and understanding that the whole core of this thing is that we have to care about
and believe in each other is experience. It’s simply the truth. I worked with Dr King. Got to know him, to sit and talk to him the way I’m talking to brother here. Malcolm X same thing, Huey Newton, H Rap Brown, Stokely Carmichael. Angela Davis and I see each other every year at the Monterey Jazz Festival, get a chance to sit down and talk. She’s as beautiful and intelligent as the first day I fell
in love with her mind. You begin to learn a few things as you age and mature. There is something to
this issue of wisdom. Fortunately I learned earlier rather than later. So again, we’re not going anywhere. We’re not going back to Africa. European Americans are
not going back to Europe. Women are not going back to being chained to the stove and the bed. We’re going to have to move forward, but the beautiful part about is if you understand American history and American society and the dynamics of what makes this America is that’s what we do. That’s what we do. And in no circumstance
that I have ever looked at has it ever happened
without mutual respect and ultimately mutual love
and caring about each other. So that has to be at the
core of whatever we’re doing. If Colin Kaepernick has a problem, if Michael Bennett has a problem, if Malcolm Jenkins has a problem, if Marshawn Lynch has a problem it’s that they love and care about black people in this country, people of color in this country and by extension, about this country. If they have a problem,
that’s the problem. But I’m gonna tell you something, don’t tell anyone old Edwards told you so, that’s not a bad problem to have. (audience applauding) – Now you know I’m torn
between and betwixt because Tommy gave me the
(mumbles) about ten minutes ago but how do I tell two
sisters they can’t ask you the question in public? (Dr Edwards laughing) – No let them ladies speak. – I’m gonna try and see
if we can squeeze this in as quickly as possible. – Okay mine is brief, my name is Ioka Drake. I really appreciate your time. So I think that you’re absolutely right in saying that time will tell all things. But for those of us that don’t have the ability to know the direct effects as to what Colin and
other people are doing, because you got fake news, you got media conjuring news, and where that is our primary
source of information, how do we know what
the direct impacts are? So it seemed like this
thing was kinda smoldering and was going to go away at some point and then it kinda caught fire again. So the longer it goes on, the better and more fruitful this is. But last year they were saying
that the ratings were down because of Colin taking a knee. Okay fine, but now the season has started again and the ratings are down. Now they don’t really know what to say and some of them are saying it’s due to Colin too but nobody’s talking about how the games suck, right? And other things that are making people not really care about watching. So how do you decide what the effect is of what Colin’s done? – And before Dr Edwards
answers that question, I’m doing the worst thing
that we are taught in media is not to ask two questions the same, can I get what your second question is and Doc can deal with them both? But let me just say to the
first one, that’s incorrect. Whoever published that title
saying that the ratings were down because of Colin Kaepernick, that’s flat out wrong. I know that definitively because the President of CBS sports, take that back, the Chairman of CBS sports, never said that. When that question was posited to people, somebody asking specifically could you say so that was what do you call it, anecdotal. That was not based on anything that was asked specific in
terms of a sample of people. That’s false. What’s the second question? – Well I firstly wanna thank
both of you for being here, two icons of American society. Dr Edwards and Mr Brown, thank you for a frank discussion about the moral challenge
of a true democracy. I just have a simple question to both of you. In the Kennedy school,
we spend a lot of time talking about leadership. I’m wondering to Dr Edwards
how you perceive leadership, or how you would define it in the 21st century and the challenge of the power to love
as you’ve described it? Mr Brown, I would like to know how you would define
leadership in this time? – Let me see if I can run through this. Leadership is one of the
most difficult concepts to define in any specific fashion because it tends to be so intricately intertwined with the challenges, the circumstances, the context within which it emerges. The reality is that in terms of leadership in a popular sense, we have never been able to see it coming. We have never been precise
enough in our analysis and vision to see it coming. Nobody saw Dr King coming. Nobody saw Malcolm X
leaving prison and coming. Nobody saw Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, two junior college
students at Mary College coming and organizing
the Black Panther party. Nobody saw Angela Davis coming. Nobody saw Smith and Carlos, nobody Ali coming; they called him the Louisville Lip, the Kentucky Clown. Nobody saw him coming. We probably, in all likelihood won’t see the next wave of
critical leaders coming. Nobody saw Colin Kaepernick coming but he’s become the face of a movement. We probably won’t see the next wave of critical leaders coming. We most certainly won’t see the next Malcolm X or Dr King coming and when she gets here, we probably won’t believe it! Just like a lot of folks didn’t believe, we didn’t see Barack Obama coming. When he got here people said,
“You gotta be kidding me.” (audience laughing) Some of us didn’t believe he was President until he got elected the second time. (Dr Edwards and audience laughing) I think a lot of this
is going to be framed up going forward in terms of leadership by the role and position
and situation of women because I think that men are finally waking up to understand that
we’re not going any place. That women do not go as
full and equal partners and in many instances lead and I think we’re just about beat up broken down and understand. People ask me sometimes do I
think women can be leaders? Absolutely. Somebody asked me at a lecture
I was at about a month ago do I think women are equal? No I do not. I do not think women are equal. I think women are superior
and I’ll change my mind on that when a man has a baby. (audience applauding) Not only that sister, they’re not only physically superior to us, you’re not only physically superior to us; you’re morally and ethically superior. You have access to half the money. You have access to just as many guns. You have for all practical purposes all of the sex, and still despite the
fact of the treatment that you get from us– – [James] What was that
last line you just gave? – Hey I know this is a family show (mumbled crosstalk) At the end of the day, that is no reason for
you to have us around. You don’t need 50% of
the population as men. In a city the size of New York, you could coral off 50,000 or so, go out and cut out 15 or
20 when you need them. We’re nothing but sperm carriers. But you hang in there
because of your morality. You love your sons as much
as you love your daughters. So at the end of the day, going forward, when I look for leadership just between you and me and don’t tell anybody
old Edwards said it, but I’m looking to women because I think that’s
where it’s gonna come from. You’re just that much better than we are. You don’t get into a thing were my missile is
bigger than your missile. You are better than we are. So I look to that and
if you have a chance, I think that is where the answers are gonna come in terms
of us moving forward as a society and as a nation. We came close this time to a President. As I’ve stated before, Barack Obama ran against Mit and he ran against McCain. I have to admit, I didn’t vote for Barack. I voted for the one
whose name begins with M because as long as Michelle was there, I believed that Barack was gonna be okay. So I voted for her and he happened to get into the White
House as the President. But that’s what my intellect, my spirit and my faith
have led me to believe. And again we probably won’t see her coming and won’t believe it once she gets here. – I’m going to say goodnight (Dr Edwards and James laughing) Dr Edwards has said it exceedingly well. First of all did we answer about Colin Kaepernick
for you in terms of… – [Woman] No. – The issue of how we–
– The 30 second answer is… – Yeah I will. The issue of how we know
that change is taking place, that something relevant is happening is that we’re still talking about it. The way that we know that we’re moving in
terms of these issues, which is why they call it a movement, is that we’re talking about it. A lot of people thought
that Kaepernick’s effort would go away, but he touched something critically central in American life and the next thing you know you’ve got junior high
school football teams in Nebraska taking the knee. You’ve got a young white
girl who plays soccer taking the knee. You’ve got police officers in New York saying we support Kaepernick. You’ve got soldiers overseas sending out Instagram saying we support Kaepernick. That’s something
important that’s going on. Is it the way we envisioned it? No. But let me tell you something. A lot of times we’re not bright enough to connect all of the dots
and hold them together long enough to say this
is where we need to go; this is the way it ought to be. It’s like the old spiritual says, “Things may not fall
right when you want them “under the guiding hand. “But usually they’re right on time.” You have to wrap your mind around that dimension of it. The greatest slogan coming out of the 60s was not black power, we shall overcome, power to the people. Iit was keep the faith because that’s about
what we got going for us. But as long as we do that,
we’re gonna be just fine. (audience applauding) Thank you. – If we can, hold on one second, Dr Edwards. If we can so I’m not being
disrespectful to the question, I think Dr Edwards has said
everything so extremely well, eloquently, articulately and passionately. I’m not dodging the question
that was asked at all. I don’t wanna steal any thunder from what I thought Dr
Edwards did so extremely well. Somebody asked about leadership. To me leadership, and
understand Dr Edwards mentioned the word faith
and unabashedly my viewpoint is a biblical world view. I firmly believe in that which is stated in Ephesians 4-16 when it
talks about how well the body, and the body is all of us. It uses the analogy of the body, I said this earlier and quite frankly, every joint on the body supplies to the fervent effectual
working of the whole body. The little finger has an
important a role as the head. I hear a humorous example, if you don’t think the little finger plays a meaningful role and if the little finger gets the entire body involved, go outside, slam your little finger in the car door and it’ll be just about 2
seconds before your lips get involved when you start
biting your bottom lip. It’ll be three seconds from
there before the tears ducts get activated and about 10 seconds later, your feet will get activated
when your jumping up and down. So every joint supplies for the fervent effectual working of the entire body. So I am in complete agreement with how Dr Edwards
dealt with all of that. Number two, we talked
about women and leadership. Are you kidding me? The Bible talks about
the man is supposed to be the head of the household. Well guess who turns the head? Women. Women turn the heads. Matter of fact and my wife
hates me using this example and I hope she understands
where I’m coming from. In Proverbs Chapter 21,
there are two verses that deal expressly with women
although they shouldn’t deal with it negatively like this. But it talks about the power and it’s under the subheading instructions for life. 21:9 says “It is better for
a man to be on the corner “of a rooftop than to
live in a white house “with an angry woman.” 21:19 says “It is better for a man “to live in the wilderness “than to be in a house
with contentious woman.” The bottom line if mamma
ain’ happy, nobody’s happy. So that’s my little bit. I’m loving the fact that Dr Edwards as strident as passionate
as determined as he is, at the core of it and this
probably speaks to the leadership more than anything, I think there needs to
be a moral component. I think there needs to
be an ethical component, wrapped around love because John Wood, and I use a lot of athletic analogies because it makes a point
in the game of life. He says the most powerful, he dead God bless him. “The most powerful four letter word in the English language is love.” Dr Edwards says that’s what drives him and take away that we’re better than this, to me I have eternal hope and faith that we will get to that point as long as we recognize
that it is about love. The young lady back there who talked about her son a 9/11 victim as
well as Alvin Patrick, my producer from CBS news, we’ve done a number of
stories and we are trying to showcase stories not only in sports but in news where I’m blessed
to be a special correspondent that aims towards aid to Dr Edwards point about the Constitution, a more perfect union. We did a story on two churches, a black church and a white church that grew out of the same church. But when the slaves outnumbered the parishioners at this church, they gave them a separate church. But all these years later now they were spending more
time talking together and it’s good to see
that people can sit down as Dr Edwards said, you know you can offend me. Be honest and open about it to the point that we can
have some frank, honest dialogue to the military
brother who is here as well too, to hear the other person. People frame Colin Kaepernick’s
quote unquote protest, his passion through the
lens of what they think. He was clear about saying he was speaking to an issue that plagues our community, that is true. The only community that I know of that has to have the conversation with their young males are black people, have to the conversation
with their young men about how to handle yourself
when stopped by the police. I mean that intimates a real serious issue that should certainly be heard. Now we can talk about the method
but hear the other person. I remember seeing a white
woman having a conversation in this congregation
with people of all hues, saying “Well the one
thing I don’t understand “about black people is
they give their kids all these weird names
like Shaneka and Boqueta “and what have you.” The black woman lovingly said
to her without being offended, “You might not wanna say strange. “Why don’t you just different or unique?” So that was her ability to
have that kind of conversation where you can hear the other person. I truly hope that love
will characterize it and that the optimism that
Dr Edwards is expressing will in fact be the
case and let me commend the coach Tommy Amaker for
having his young people and those who are coaching
the young ladies as well, to have these kind of
open and frank dialogues because that’s only gonna
I think to the point that we started this forum off, seeing Dr Harry Edwards
and Bill Walsh together, the optics of it were not lost on me that you guys had a personal
relationship and cared about each other. You said you all closed
the day with I love you. If we have love at the core of it, we will make it because love endures all, love assumes no ill, love truly and this has been
proven throughout history, love conquers all. Thank you guys so very much. I appreciate (mumbles) (audience applauding)

10 Replies to “From Robinson to Kaepernick: The Evolution of Athlete Activism”

  1. This was a compassionate and beautiful discussion. Dr. Edwards was patient and respectful to audience members' questions about Kaepernick's patriotism, which continues to obscure the message and the right of athletes to protest, especially Black athletes like Ali, Abdul-Jabbar, Smith, and Carlos who care about the harms of racism in America. God bless Edwards and his patience.


  3. Is this the same guy … during the blk athletes protesting the 1968 Olympics , this dude backed out at the last minute when the stood up a protested with there first raised …who bumps with negroes like this

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