2016 Archives

SMU hosts conversation on sports and human rights

“Sports put personal faces on big issues,” organizer says

March 17, 2016

DALLAS (SMU) – A professional athlete, a sports journalist and an athletics administrator will assemble for a panel discussion about the role sports play in furthering the conversation on American human rights issues at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in Dallas Hall’s McCord Auditorium on the campus of SMU.

WFAA sportscaster Dale Hansen will moderate “A Conversation on Sports and Human Rights.” He will be joined by SMU alumnus and professional football player Kelvin Beachum and SMU Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director Monique Holland.

“Sports provides an easy doorway for social analysis, and a common ground for open dialogue,” says Embrey Human Rights Program Assistant Director Brad Klein, who helped organized the event.

“In sports media and the conversations of fans, it is common to hear discussions about paying college athletes, women's and LGBT rights, race relations, team mascots, athletes with disabilities, drug use in competition and more,” Klein added. “In this way, sports has a remarkable ability to get people of different backgrounds and perspectives talking together.”

The April panel will pull back the curtain on what those debates look like in the locker room, the newsroom and in the front office. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions of the panel during the course of the discussion.

“There are important differences between the way athletics works in the U.S. compared to, say, politics,” Klein says. “Sports has a special ability to put a personal face on big issues. How many more people can name the quarterback of the Cowboys rather than their Congressional representative? Sports touch many people at a young age before prejudices and biases about identity are fully formed.”

The event is free and open to the public.