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Blacks In Sports: A Preview

One Great Season

Perhaps you're familiar with Sports Illustrated's groundbreaking "The Black Athlete" edition from 1968.

I knew nothing about it until I was a college student at the University of Cincinnati, when SI published an updated issue in the summer of 1991. It inspired me to write my own three-part "Blacks In Sports" series for my school paper the following year. I was pretty proud of it, and I even won a small award for it and was asked to do some interviews with several black media outlets around the region.

Anyway, perhaps you've noticed OGS has been a little slow to publish since the BCS National Championship Game two weeks ago. That's because, with Black History Month around the corner, I'm working on a revision to our own "Blacks In Sports" series that we're thrilled to roll out in the next week or two.

I'm a white dude and some of my friends over the years have asked what my obsession is with race. I've always found the conversation about race — in all facets of our culture, particularly sports — is an interesting and necessary one.

What we won't be trying to do is stir up controversy or even solve problems. It's just our goal with this project to get you to think about things you probably don't often consider, and perhaps engender first or further conversations of your own.

Among the interviews we've been grateful to conduct over the last few weeks was one with Dr. Harry Edwards. An in-depth look at race in American sports is incomplete without him. He is a professor and an author and currently serves as a consultant to the San Francisco 49ers and Golden State Warriors.

Dr. Edwards has been very outspoken since the civil-rights movement was at its peak in the 1960s. He befriended Tommie Smith and John Carlos before their unforgettable, black-gloved display of peaceful protest at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.

I asked Dr. Edwards last week if he thought Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick received equal treatment from the NFL after their high-profile, off-field misdeeds. The first sentence of his reply is in this audio clip below:

That's just a tiny fraction of the great feedback we've gotten from our sources. We hope you're half as excited to read our series as we are about publishing it, and of course we look forward to any comments you'd like to share.

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