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Events Calendar

Activism in Sports

Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at 10:00am to 5:30pm

Various Locations

From Jackie Robinson to Colin Kaepernick, sport has activism in its very DNA. We can trace may instances of social justice progress to the stage that sport provides: racial integration in Major League Baseball; Title IX protection for female athletes; the right to opt out of military service; multiple issues related to sexual orientation; new sportswear that allows athletes of all faiths to compete on the field of play; and many more.

Activism within sport remains a lightning rod for controversy due to its high-profile nature. It continues to spark questions about whether we ought to have political discussions in a sports environment at all. Topics ranging from the Black Lives Matter movement, to National Anthem protests, gender-inclusive restrooms, and silenced sexual violence have dominated the headlines this year.

Join the Lundquist College of Business's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics for a day of joint programming centered around the role of activism in sports. 

As part of the university's Freedom of Expression Series, talks will seek to create a dialogue around the history and legacy of activism in sports, how this activism impacts the business ecosystem around sport, and to understand how athletes today view their opportunities and responsibilities.

Seminar Panel: "How Athletes Today View Activism"
10:00-11:30 a.m. - Jaqua Center, Harrington Auditorium

Moderated by former three-sport UO athlete and retired NFL player Jordan Kent, this panel will feature current collegiate and professional athletes who have all engaged in various forms of activism. We will discuss their views on the opportunities and responsibilities that athletes have today, the platforms with which athletes can reach people with their message and how the modern environment for activism may differ from the past. Panelists include:

  • Darya Kaboli-Nejad - UO softball student athlete
  • Mick Stanovsek - UO cross-country and track student athlete
  • Johnny Ragin III - Former Tennessee Titan and founder of E8GHT Studios

Seminar Panel: "The Impact of Activism on Sports Business"
1:00-2:30 p.m. - Ford Alumni Center, Ballroom

This panel session will feature guest speakers from sponsor brands, media, sports teams, and leagues. We will discuss the ways in which activism by athletes and sports organizations impacts the business ecosystem within sports. Speakers include:

  • Whitney Wagoner - director, Warsaw Sports Marketing Center (moderator)
  • Kristel Wissel - vice president of community relations, Portland Timbers and Thorns
  • David Higdon - former head of communications, LPGA Tour; ATP Tour; NASCAR
  • Brian Berger - industry consultant; founder, Sports PR Summit
  • Mike Nakajima - former head, Nike Tennis

Keynote Address and Reception: "From Robinson to Kaepernick: The Evolution to Athlete Activism"
4:00-5:30 p.m. - Ford Alumni Center, Ballroom

Dr. Harry Edwards (—the architect of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, which led to the Black Power Salute protest by two African-American athletes at the 1968 Summer Olympics—will present and lead a public forum hosted by University of Oregon professor of history Curtis Austin and professor of journalism and faculty athletic representative Tim Gleason.