New ‘SportsCenter’ Hosts Jemele Hill, Michael Smith Tackle More Than Just Sports09:34 – Here And Now

Smith: “It’s also a very privileged position to take, ‘Oh, I watch sports to escape from reality.’ Well that’s probably not your reality then. You’re probably watching sports to escape from the realities of the rest of the world, the bad news that the rest of the world is forced to deal with. Anybody that’s a member of certain communities that have been prone to more injustice than others realizes that whether you play sports or watch sports, when you turn it off or step off the field or the court, you still have to deal with the issues in this society. So the people who say, ‘Oh, stick to sports, if I want politics I’ll go somewhere else,’ you’re probably saying that because it’s not your problem. And that’s a big issue across the board, in our society, is that if it doesn’t affect you, it’s hard to conjure up the appropriate level of outrage, and I think that’s what a lot of people are missing who are on the wrong side of history or the wrong side of certain issues.

“And it’s not just about athlete speaking out about political issues — and as a brief aside, and Jemele and I talk about this all the time, we gotta stop talking about ‘politics’ as a catch-all. Because there are certain social and moral issues that ‘politics’ kinda trivializes. This isn’t about policy, this is about right and wrong when it comes to matter such as, you know, racism, brutality, domestic abuse. And those issues that I just ran down, a lot of those things end up coming out of the locker room. You think about the domestic violence issue, and primarily in the National Football League, but across all sports, that’s a societal problem, and sports was simply a reflection of that. So we’d be going out of our way to stick our head in the sand if we did not aggressively address a lot of these issues. And if people aren’t comfortable, that’s the point — it’s time to make people more uncomfortable. We’ve been way too comfortable turning to sports and turning a blind eye to issues that face our citizens every day.”

On what they’d say to people who aren’t interested in sports

Smith: “That’s a tough question, I’d have to stop and think about that… because sports has always been such a big part of my life, and everybody’s life that I’m really close with. Every time I meet somebody and they don’t know who I am, what I do or anything about what I do, and they say, ‘Well I’m not really into sports,’ I’m like, ‘That’s actually good (laughs), I’m glad you pay attention to technology and the stock market. Maybe you could educate me on some of these things, let’s discuss politics anyway.’ I just think there are so many lessons, so many forms of inspiration that can be drawn from sports stories, when it comes to people overcoming adversity and succeeding against all odds, or just coming together and working together. If our country, our government, our leaders, if they wanna find an example of people that can set aside differences for the common good, then you start with sports.”

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