NEW ORLEANS (Sept 27, 2018) – Sports journalist and author Howard Bryant emphasized education over sports, but said black athletes have always been prominent and political figures in a Brain Food lecture Sept. 18 to a crowd in Georges Auditorium.
The Boston journalist has written “The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America and the Politics of Patriotism,” the title originating from other influential people saying, “This is the black athletes’ heritage,” he said.
The next Brain Food lecture is 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8, in Georges Auditorium, featuring Candace Owens, communications director for Turning Point USA. The first of the year featured Tarana Burkes, founder of the #MeToo movement.
Bryant noted that when athletes were not saying anything regarding politics, people complained. When they did begin to speak out, the response was, “Stick to sports” or “Shut up and play.”
“A movement was needed to integrate sports. Sports integrated before anything else,” Bryant told the audience. “It has always been the black body over the black brain.”
He said since athletes are standing up for what they believe, the nation’s president has questioned and challenged the patriotism of black players even though they have First Amendment rights as citizens. “Be quiet” is the message to black players from Trump and others.
Bryant told the story of a focus group at ESPN with Trump supporters; when they were shown images of the American flag and soldiers, the ratings went up, but when they were shown an image of Colin Kaepernick, the ratings went down.
When asked why they responded that way, a woman said, “I don’t want politics in my sports.”
“Why is the black athlete not allowed to speak?” he asked.
He said that like sports, the military uses the black body.
“When does the black body catch up to the black brain?” he asked.
“My hope is that the black body overcomes the black brain.”