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Sport Matters: Why the NFL's Racial Power Dynamics Persist

Why this matters

Race doesn't just play a factor in who is hired into leadership roles in the NFL, it also affects the very fabric of the game, from who tells stories in media to who is the face of a community.

On this episode, hosts Kenneth L. Shropshire of the Global Sport Institute and William C. Rhoden of ESPN's The Undefeated sift through a chaotic month in the National Football League and discuss why the league's racial dynamics persist. From the aftermath of the Washington Football Team investigation to Jon Gruden's ensuing resignation to the work of former MVP Lamar Jackson in the Louisville and Baltimore communities, race plays a major role in the NFL. Will the dynamics of race ever change in the league? Who is responsible for creating such change?

'Sport Matters' episodes arrive once per month to the Global Sport Matters podcast. From academia to media, Ken and Bill discuss the edges of sport, unpacking race and culture beyond the game.

Find this and every episode of the Global Sport Matters podcast wherever you get audio content or all in one place here.

About the hosts:

Professor Kenneth L. Shropshire is CEO of the Global Sport Institute and the adidas Distinguished Professor of Global Sport at Arizona State University. He took on this current leadership role following a 30-year career as an endowed full professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

William C. Rhoden is a columnist and Editor-at-Large for The Undefeated, ESPN’s news site about sports, race, and culture. He is the curator of the Rhoden Fellows and is also the author of several books, including 40 Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete. Before joining The Undefeated, Rhoden wrote an award-winning sports column for the New York Times and appeared as a guest on ESPN’s Sports Reporters for nearly 30 years. Rhoden began his journalism career as a news reporter at the Baltimore Afro American Newspaper. He was a senior editor with Ebony Magazine and then a columnist and jazz critic for the Baltimore Sun. Rhoden attended Morgan State University in Baltimore where he majored in English.