Following the death of George Floyd, a call for social justice continued this week.
Nelson Mandela once perfectly articulated, “Sport has the power to change the world. It has a way to unite people in a way that little else does.” Perhaps, now more than ever, our nation needs sports to unify and to heal.
The NHL and NBA continue to showcase both ingenuity and flexibility in their plans to resume play. Health and safety remain the preeminent concern.
Checking in with the talkies, social media accounts were stirring:
Jim Rome (CBS Sports) – @jimrome
- Rome posted a brief segment from his show on Monday to his Twitter account. In this clip, Rome presented a picture of former San Francisco 49ers QB, Colin Kaepernick, who continues to be one of the visible individuals voicing his views on racial injustice and police brutality. Rome admitted that although he, himself, has worked very hard to achieve his personal goal, “It has been easier for me to get where I am than it would be if I had different skin color.”
Hannah Storm (ESPN) – @HannahStormESPN
- Hannah Storm openly expressed her appreciation and respect for individuals who undertake leadership role with their voices and platforms. She retweeted strong messages from Patrick Mahomes, Barack Obama, and her alma mater, Notre Dame. These messages underscore how all citizens must unite and love one another to spark change and to pray for the family of George Floyd.
Stephen A. Smith (ESPN) – @stephenasmith
- Stephen A. used his social media platform as a way to encourage more and more individuals to “keep on marching.” However, he advocated numerous times that to effectively promote justice, the marches must remain peaceful. Stephen A. is in disbelief that he is witnessing people getting tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets, but he also emphasizes how rioting and looting detracts from the real purpose of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Smith on Twitter: “PROTESTING has worked. Not Rioting…..more so looting, to be specific. It empowers those who want to oppress us to justify and validate their actions. And when the smoke clears, we’re left holding the proverbial bag.”
Charissa Thompson (Host of FOX NFL Kickoff Show) – @CharissaT
- Thompson openly illustrated her support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. On Tuesday, June 2nd, she posted a black square on her Twitter. The black square symbolizes #blackouttuesday.
Jeff Passan (ESPN MLB Insider) – @JeffPassan
- Passan continued to tweet about the various options and proposals for the 2020-21 MLB season. At this point in time, the negotiations seem endless. There is a lot to be worked out, from salary reductions to having no fans in the stands, to proposals covering the length of the season ranging from 50 to 114 games.
Colin Cowherd (Fox Sports) – @ColinCowherd
- Cowherd had several posts this past week covering the influence that both collegiate and professional players and coaches can have on their communities. Their platform extends far beyond their athletic prowess and ability to successfully lead a team to victory. Texas head football coach, Tom Herman, said that he pursued a career in coaching to “have an impact on young men’s lives.” Cowherd also tweeted that LeBron James is a sports icon who has “always been more than just an athlete.”
Michelle Beadle (ex-NBA studio host pn ESPN) – @MichelleDBeadle
- Beadle used her Twitter handle this past week to encourage followers to educate themselves and to invoke positive change that’s necessary to benefit the #BlackLivesMatter movement. In her bio, Beadle posts a link to donate to numerous social justice organizations.
Dick Vitale (ESPN Analyst) – @DickieV
- Vitale talked a little NBA and said he feels as if the Wisconsin Badgers are “loaded-for a major year.”
Many don’t get it when they hear BLACK LIVES MATTER ! They reply ALL LIVES MATTER.U must realize it’s about the situation .We have seen brutality in the killings of George Floyd/Ahmaud Arbery/ Brianna Taylor etc & so the cry is valid if #BlackLivesMatter than ALL LIVES MATTER!
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo (Sirius XM) – @MadDogUnleashed
- Russo was quieter on Twitter this week. However, it is evident by his tweets that Russo is concerned about the health and safety of protesters. He emphasized that thousands of individuals are protesting throughout city streets without wearing masks, while places like his local deli and NYC golf courses are still on lockdown.
Doris Burke (ESPN Analyst and Reporter) – @heydb
- Burke is a strong proponent for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. She retweeted Barack Obama’s tweet quoting how the death of George Floyd was a “turning point for real change.” Burke also retweeted several other posts relating to the protests and “generations of pain” for racial minorities.
Dan Le Batard & Stugotz (ESPN) – @LeBatardShow
- The Dan Le Batard show Twitter account posted a variety of polls with which fans could interact. Taking a break from serious issues facing everyone worldwide, the poll questions did not relate to sports, protests, or COVID-19 news. Instead, the questions were based off random topics. For example, a poll question on Tuesday, June 2nd, was “Do you like rainy days?”
Trey Wingo (Co-host of Golic & Wingo on ESPN) – @wingoz
- Trey Wingo was very active on social media this week. He posted tweets on whether the 2020-21 NFL season will go as planned and as to what the various options are for the 2020 NBA postseason. Wingo also retweeted a powerful quote from Arizona State head football coach, Herm Edwards. It reads “When America huddles up, we are a powerful team.” America must unite.
Mike Jones (NFL Reporter for USA Today) – @ByMikeJones
- Jones shared examples of many moments when professional athletes have made statements or become involved with the protests. Some of these professionals include NFL athletes, such as Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, and Anquan Boldin.
Darren Heitner (Founder of Heitner Legal) – @DarrenHeitner
- Unlike many of the talkies from this week, Heitner’s Twitter account took a different direction and zoomed in on former Duke superstar and current New Orleans Pelican, Zion Williamson. The tweets raised the issue of whether Williamson and his family “accepted any improper benefits” during his time at Duke University. Williamson was the 1st overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Rich Eisen (Rich Eisen Show on NBC Sports Network) – @richeisen
- Eisen kept busy this week on social media. NBA Legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar joined Eisen’s show to reflect on what has been going on in the country. Eisen also opined that it “would be a great chance for an NFL team to sign Colin Kaepernick.”