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The ALOST Podcast, XXIII: No Final Victories

Los Angeles Lakers' Carlos Boozer stands before team introductions for an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Los Angeles. Dozens of athletes in recent weeks have responded to confrontations between authorities and black citizens in Ferguson, Mo., New York and elsewhere by wearing T-shirts bearing such statements as "I Can't Breathe" and "Hands Up, Don't Shoot!" (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
After recent high-profile incidents and tragedies in America centering around race, many athletes have used their status and have not been afraid to threaten protests and make statements calling out injustice, including wearing T-shirts bearing such statements as “I Can’t Breathe,” like Carlos Boozer did soon after the death of Eric Garner in New York in July 2014. (AP)

Sport has long played a role in enacting societal change and calling people to action for causes they believe in. The latest occurrence of that happened in Columbia, MO a couple of weeks ago.

In our latest episode of The A Lot of Sports Talk Podcast, our main focus is on the decades-long impact athletes have had in challenging the status quo ante in American society, as well as the impact those positions and actions have had stateside and beyond. Our feature interview is with renowned sports sociologist Dr. Harry Edwards, professor emeritus in the sociology department at the University of California, Berkeley, and our half-hour conversation hit on many topics, including his thoughts on how not to lose the momentum generated by the temporary boycott by the University of Missouri football team amidst the racial tension and protests on campus, as well as why many actions taken by athletes and other protesters to highlight societal ills end up petering out. Edwards, who was a professor at San José State College (now San José State University) when he led a protest in 1967 that helped to cause the cancellation of a football game with Texas Western (now UTEP) over the conditions black students were subjected to at the California school, also contends that there are “no final victories,” as athletes of future generations will continue to fight what their predecessors had fought for off the field, and he explains why that is the case. 

Last month marked the beginning of the inaugural season of the National Women’s Hockey League, a professional league for women that stands out, among other ways, in that all of the women are salaried to play in the league. One of the ladies who plays in the league is Brianna Decker, the 2012 Patty Kazmaier Award winner while at the University of Wisconsin and a member of the United States women’s national hockey team. She joined us after a game last month in New York City to talk about being a member of the pioneering American-based league. Decker shares with us how fun it is to be playing alongside former teammates and other members of the national team, as well as the importance of playing in the league and being someone that young hockey players can look up to.

Please enjoy the podcast, and leave us any and all comments that you have. Click here to go to the A Lot of Sports Talk podcast page on iTunes, and from there, you can download this show as well as subscribe to our podcast page and receive new episodes on your device the second it is posted. You can also open iTunes, and in the Podcasts section, type in “A Lot of Sports Talk” in the search box to find our shows.

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Interview Order: Intro (0:00 – 5:56); Dr. Harry Edwards (5:59 – 40:27); Brianna Decker (40:34 – 45:58); Wrap-up (46:05 – 48:24)


[Cover photo (Brianna Decker) courtesy of the National Women’s Hockey League]

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