Game changed – My takeaways from yesterday’s eye opening event

By Ryan Vermont (@Your_Pal_Ryan)

Much was said inside Yoshihiro Uchida Hall room 124 Thursday morning at “Game Changer,” an event addressing media coverage on black athletes.

The event, which was put in conjugation with the Bay Area Black Journalists Association, featured a number of prominent individuals such as Dr. Harry Edwards, former 49ers Junior Bryant and Derrick Deese and SJSU alumnus Marc J. Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated.

Dr. Edwards has spent his entire life trying to identify the engraved issues within sport and social problems and was not shy to voice his thoughts in front of both the panel of intellectuals and the viewing audience.

“White supremacy and patriarchy have gone hand in hand and have framed up everything in sports, in the arena and beyond from the very outset of the ‘discovery’ of this great land,”  Edwards said.

After reading Edwards’ statement back to myself a couple of times, the man is right (and that’s coming from a white guy).

What Edwards has figured out from his studies is that no one moment has created this corrupt view of wrong and right. The prejudice goes back to the birth of the Americas.

As unfortunate as it is, and as much as hope it isn’t the case, it will take just as long, if not longer to reverse the trend.

To some degree it has gotten better, but in other cases it’s the same-old-same old.

“I think we have to be honest even if we can’t be right,” Edwards said, discussing one of the key steps that needs to be taken.

Again Edwards was spot-on.

It’s up to the everyday people — the modern man — to acknowledge mistakes, but instead of hiding from them, embrace them and act properly so that the same mistakes won’t be made again. This goes for everything, not just sports, but for this case we will stick in the sporting realm.

Throughout both panels, again and again one man’s name kept entering the conversation.

Colin Kaepernick.

The man who led the 49ers to the Superbowl just five years ago remains off of an NFL roster. Is it because of his skill level? Nope. It’s because he took a stand (or kneel for that matter) for his beliefs.

Talia Caldwell, a former college star turned professional basketball player was another one of the panelists. One of her former coaches at UC Berkeley, Charmin Smith, was an audience member and when the discussion opened up for questions, released a bold statement which I agree with to some degree, but not wholeheartedly.

“Until they stop making money for the white male, it’s going to continue being the way that it is,” Smith said.

Caldwell may be onto something about athletes refusing to play the game, but then, who will pay their bills? The white male owners who I presume she is referring to are the ones who write the checks.

So that’s not happening.

I do think that athletes can band together more than they do and use the assets provided to them based on their stage a la Kaepernick, but that’s when things come full circle.

In my mind there is really only one solution to this problem.

The answer … exposure.

Events like the one yesterday where knowledgeable individuals can share opinions way to truly leave an impact and ideally make some forward progress.


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