Povich Symposium Will Discuss Race in Sports


Povich Symposium Will Discuss Race in Sports
Nov 9, 2018

By: Tyler Byrum

The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism will host the 13th annual Shirley Povich Symposium at the University of Maryland’s Riggs Alumni Center at 7 p.m. Nov. 13. This year, a panel of experts, including NFL Players’ Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, will tackle the topic, Race in Sports: The Challenge Continues.

In addition to Smith, the panelists include Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, Tom McMillen of the Lead1 Association, Kevin Merida, editor-in-chief of ESPN’s The Undefeated, and Scot Van Pelt, host of ESPN’s Sportscenter. Maury Povich, television host and son of the center’s namesake, Shirley Povich, will moderate the event.

“The panel is very distinguished. They come from wide ranging positions,” George Solomon, the director of the Povich Center said. “With Maury Povich, the most experienced moderator you’d ever hope you have, I’m very excited about the event.”

As a columnist at the Washington Post, Shirley Povich was outspoken about the issue of race in sports for several decades. Many of his opinions were voiced well before the idea of integrated sports was considered. His columns regularly featured the Washington Redskins’ lack of integration — even as other teams in the National Football League began to highlight African-American players.

“The subject, right now, is one of the most topical conversation pieces in sports and something that needs to be addressed, which we will do,” Solomon said. “In addition, at this time at the University of Maryland, we’re in a period where discussion on many topics is encouraged and warranted, and I can think of no better time to discuss race and sports and what’s happened at the University of Maryland in the past four months.”

Maury Povich echoed Solomon’s thought, saying race in sports is a topic that needs to be examined and discussed.

“It’s been the elephant in the room across sports for quite some time, and, unfortunately, it’s been politicized over the last couple of years,” Maury Povich said. “We hope to bring several different views to the public. Maybe, we can have a better understanding of how serious this issue is and whether we can move forward with some options to change the rhetoric.”

Referring to Colin Kaepernick’s protest, the current political climate and several labor rights’ disputes across various professional leagues, race continues to be at the forefront of sports and society. Fittingly, Shirley Povich’s legacy is a perfect tie-in for this symposium.

“Anyone who’s had a sense of my father’s views in terms of race in sports understands that he was one of the early champions of integration in sports,” Maury Povich said. “He was writing about all-white Major League Baseball in the 1930s, way before Jackie Robinson ever integrated baseball. He was one of the first to recognize George Preston Marshall’s racist views and the fact the Redskins were the last all-white football team in the National Football League. So my father wrote about race and sports in the 1930s and now we’re almost 100 years later and some of these questions still have to be answered.”

The 13th annual Shirley Povich Symposium is free and open to the public. You do not need a ticket.

Homepage image: Maury Povich at the 2016 Shirley Povich Symposium (Credit: Lisa Helfert Photography)

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