NFL co-hosts 'social justice' training for college athletes

Toni Airaksinen
Columnist at PJ Media

  • The NFL is co-hosting a three-day workshop at Morehouse College where student athletes will learn to become "influencers and community leaders with the mechanics to develop their advocacy platform."
  • The NFL recently pledged to spend $89 million dollars on social justice causes over the next seven years in response to the controversy over players protesting the national anthem.
  • The National Football League has partnered with Morehouse College to host a three-day workshop dedicated to teaching student athletes strategies for “effective advocacy.”

    The “Advocacy in Sport” workshop, which will be held in February, vows to teach students “how to develop and implement effective advocacy platforms that positively impact society.”

    "Linking with the NFL and their players in pushing forward social justice agendas that mirror present and past activist foundations of Morehouse College is important work."   

    The workshop comes on the heel of the NFL’s recent pledge to donate $89 million dollars to social justice causes over the next seven years, a commitment that notably came in light of the protests against racial injustice seen by NFL players like Colin Kaepernick and others.

    [RELATED: UNM prez: Players meant ‘no disrespect’ by kneeling for anthem]

    “This historic workshop is aimed at training the next generation of athletes who wish to use sport as a powerful platform for advocacy,” said Troy Vincent, the Executive Vice President of Football Operations at the NFL, in the NFL press release.

    “Our partnership is designed to equip athletes as influencers and community leaders with the mechanics to develop their advocacy platform,” Vincent added.

    David Wall Rice, a psychology professor at Morehouse College, took the lead on developing the upcoming training, but it was also developed in consultation with NFL athletes, social advocates, and sports administrators, the NFL says.

    The NFL and Morehouse College have been in meetings since October 2016 that were convened by the RISE, a nonprofit dedicated to “harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress.”

    “At RISE, we believe that harnessing the unifying power of sports and empowering athletes to be effective advocates can improve race relations and drive social progress in our country,” said Jocelyn Benson, CEO of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality.

    [RELATED: VIDEO: Students call Kaepernick ‘heroic’ for anthem protest]

    The selected student athletes will also be required to enroll in Rice’s winter course on “Advocacy, Sport, and Social Justice.”

    Harold Martin Jr., the president of Morehouse College, praised the upcoming workshop in the NFL press release.

    "Linking with the NFL and their players in pushing forward social justice agendas that mirror present and past activist foundations of Morehouse College is important work,” he said. “We take our relationship here and the trust that many of the players have already communicated to Dr. Rice seriously, and we know that the work we do in February and beyond has the capacity to impact lives.”

    Campus Reform reached out to Wall and the NFL for comment, but did not receive responses from either in time for publication.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen





    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    Columnist at PJ Media
    Toni Airaksinen is Columnist at PJ Media and a Consultant at Youth Radio. She was previously a New Jersey Campus Correspondent, reporting on liberal bias and abuse for Campus Reform with a focus on Title IX, the OCR, and the First Amendment. During college, she also was a columnist for Quillette and The Columbia Spectator. Her exclusives have been featured on FOX News and The Drudge Report. She graduated from Barnard College in 2018.
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