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Sports are finally returning. And with athletes, coaches, teams and leagues back in the limelight, it’s the perfect opportunity for them to follow up on their statements on the Black Lives Matter movement with real, tangible actions.

June 11, 2020

The GIST: Sports are finally returning. And with athletes, coaches, teams and leagues back in the limelight, it’s the perfect opportunity for them to follow up on their statements on the Black Lives Matter movement with real, tangible actions.

How so?: The Players Coalition, an alliance of players and coaches that works with governments to improve social justice and racial equality, is asking Congress to pass the Ending Qualified Immunity Act. Qualified immunity protects police officers and other government officials from legal action by victims of police brutality and their families...even if their civil rights were violated.

Amazing! Tell me more: Seven current and former players have come together to form the Hockey Diversity Alliance, whose mission is “to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey,” as well as to promote diversity in the predominantly white sport.

  • The organization, co-chaired by San Jose Shark Evander Kane and former NHLer Akim Aliu, will run independently from the NHL, but has full support from the league. No female representation on the Alliance yet, but we’re sure that’s coming soon, right boys?
  • The NHL also plans to create a council and three committees to address the diversity problems within the league. The Executive Inclusion Council will use feedback and recommendations from the committees to address and find solutions for the league’s diversity issues.

Love it. What else?: We all know how crucial voting is to ensure the right people represent us in government. And Eric Reveno — an assistant basketball coach at Georgia Tech — is trying to make sure his athletes have the chance to do so. He’s started a movement to mandate Election Day as a day off, and it’s gaining traction.

  • Reveno initially lobbied his school to mandate the day off (i.e., no mandatory practices or games) for the entire varsity program, and is now petitioning the NCAA (and using the hashtag #AllVoteNoPlay) to ensure that their 460,000 student athletes (holy crap, that’s a big number) are free to vote on November 3rd. Rock the vote!

Wonderful! Keep it coming: The US Soccer Federation (USSF) has rescinded their ban on taking a knee during the national anthem after the US women’s national soccer team (USWNT) called on them to do so. FIFA and the NFL have also voiced their support of athletes who choose to #TakeAKnee.

  • It’s not all good though. Back in January, the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics released rules for the upcoming Games that included a ban on “gestures of a political nature, including kneeling” during sporting events, and this week the IOC confirmed they have not repealed the rule.
     
  • But we’re not hanging our heads on this one yet. A lot of athletes are upset about it, and there’s a lot of time between now and next July for things to change. Just look at the last three weeks.