Race and Sports in America: Conversations

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“Race and Sports in America: Conversations” airs this Monday across NBC Sports as prominent Black athletes discuss the Black Lives Matter movement, social injustice and the current situation in the United States of America.

Steph Curry, Charles Barkley, Ozzie Smith, James Blake, Troy Mullins, Anthony Lynn, Jimmy Rollins and Kyle Rudolph all feature, with NBC Sports’ Damon Hack as host, as the prominent athletes discuss how sports can help combat inequality.

WATCH LIVE: Race and Sports in America: Conversations

The show airs Monday, July 13 at 8pm ET on NBCSN, Golf Channel, Olympic Channel and all of our RSN channels. Segments from the show will also be available to watch on Peacock and YouTube, while the audio podcast version will be available on Monday too.

In the Premier League we have seen players and staff collectively taking a knee before every single game since the restart in order to show respect and solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, while each team wears a badge on their sleeve saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ on their jerseys.

Below is a snippet from “Race and Sports in America: Conversations” as Damon Hack, Ozzie Smith, Charles Barkley and Steph Curry discuss how Black athletes are treated different to a Black person on the street.


DAMON HACK: It’s interesting. You guys have all played at the highest level. You’ve had people that would cheer for you when you were in uniform. But if you were walking down the street and not wearing your uniform and you had a hoodie on, they might look at you a little bit different. How do you navigate that?

OZZIE SMITH: Let me say this here. Where I live in St. Louis it’s going to be different for me than it is for some other Black guy. I’m not treated the same way other Black people are treated. I don’t know if that’s the case for these guys. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s a little bit different when Charles walks in or Steph or Jimmy, because we’ve been out there and people see us and people have an idea what our personalities and things are like. They know we’re not bad people. So it’s different for us than it would be for somebody else. But in St. Louis, I can’t say that it’s been a terrible experience for me. I haven’t had a lot of bad experiences because of who I am and what I did.

CHARLES BARKLEY: I want to piggyback on something Ozzie said. He’s 100% correct. The notion that rich and famous Black people are treated like regular Black people, that’s not right. We get treated great. But I always worry about how we treat poor Black people.

You know, there’s a great thing and Spike Lee, who I really admire and respect in that movie, “Do The Right Thing,” that’s a perfect illustration what Ozzie is talking about, what I’m talking about, when the guy says, you know, you hate Black people. He says, yeah, I hate Black people. He says, who is your favorite entertainer. He says Michael Jackson. He says, who is your favorite jock. He says, Michael Jordan. He’s says, they’re Black. And he said, well, they’re not “Black.”

And that’s the disadvantage that us four we’re at a disadvantage because White people treat us great. And, like I say, I’m not worried about how they treat us because it really comes down to economics, too, at some point, because rich Black people aren’t treated like poor Black people. And that’s the thing we’ve got to really engage conversation. How can we get more Black people and poor White people also, but they’re in the same boat, give them economic opportunity. That’s what America’s really got to grapple with.

STEPH CURRY: I think one thing you said, too, is the preconceived notions of how they view rich, successful Black people as anomalies and our intelligence and our well spokenness, that’s always the first thing you hear. If somebody knows how to be articulate, if they know how to

ALL: So well spoken.

STEPH CURRY: Come into a room that’s the subtle racism and prejudice that kind of starts to add on itself. And if another White person hears that comment, they’re going to think the same thing. And it’s not going to trickle down to anybody else, and be able to create opportunities for somebody else to get that in that room and prove their value, prove their worth. It’s just shifting perspectives and, again, holding everybody accountable whether it’s a private conversation, whether it’s a tweet, whether it’s a video. Whatever it is, to do the right thing, no pun intended, but to see everybody as equal and that’s all we’re asking for.