REGISTER: Only A Game Presents: Sports, Racism And The Myth Of Meritocracy On August 12

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On August 12, WBUR will host, Only A Game Presents: Sports, Racism And The Myth Of Meritocracy, a special virtual event discussing racial inequity in sports. Only A Game executive producer and host Karen Given will facilitate a conversation about how we can chart a better path forward for sports in America.

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Sports are supposed to be the great equalizer. Movies like "Remember The Titans" and "The Blind Side" celebrate the idea that sports provide a chance for upward social mobility. But it’s not that simple.

In a recent special episode, Only A Game investigated the many ways sports actually perpetuate racial inequities in the U.S. — from the widening gap in access to youth sports to the way college sports function as “affirmative action for rich white students” to the racist stereotypes perpetuated by sports announcers.

Panelists include:

Amira Rose Davis: Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies at Penn State University and co-host of the feminist sports podcast, “Burn It All Down.”

Russell Dinkins: Princeton track alumnus and recent author of the widely shared article “Brown University, If You Were Actually Serious About Racial Justice You Would Not Be Cutting the Men’s Track Team.”

Derrick Z. Jackson: Contributor to ESPN’s The Undefeated — which explores the intersection of sports, race and culture — and fellow with the Union of Concerned Scientists.

This event will serve as a capstone to Only A Game, which after 27 years as NPR’s beloved and only sports show, will end its production in September. The hour-long weekly program featuring long-form, narrative-based reporting on the world of sports launched in 1993. Notable guests have included: NBA Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal; Baseball Hall of Famers Tony La Russa and Pedro Martinez; Olympic gold medalists Gabby Douglas, Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky; tennis greats Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, and Serena Williams; golfer Annika Sorenstam; US Women's National Soccer Team star Megan Rapinoe; WNBA veteran Sue Bird; and Pro Football Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome.

Bill Littlefield, who served as host until his retirement in 2018, will be back in conversation with analyst Charlie Pierce for Only A Game's special "Goodbye" episode on August 29. The program will continue with special "best-of" episodes through September.

Click here for more information about the show or listen to some of the team’s favorite segments: