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.
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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]