Tommie Smith – Presidential Distinguished Lecture Series – CSUDH –

Tommie Smith – Presidential Distinguished Lecture Series – CSUDH –


welcome to the inaugural California
State University Dominguez Hills presidential Distinguished Lecture the
first of many to come I’m Mitch Avila and the Dean of the College of Arts and
Humanities here at Dominguez Hills and I’ll be your emcee this afternoon or
this evening I’ve chosen to work at Dominguez Hills because it is a mission
driven institution with excellent committed faculty exceptional staff and
visionary senior leadership this campus is one that knows above all the power of
higher education to impact the lives of students and our community and I’m
especially proud to call myself a Toro because this is a community of scholars
that value serious conversations around issues of vital importance to our
students and to our community and it’s for these reasons that is my pleasure to
introduce to you our newest campus leader dr. Thomas Parham today’s
inaugural presidential distinguished lecture is result of his vision for this
campus so please welcome dr. Parr thank you miss let me say good afternoon as dean Avila said I am the new
president of California State University Dominguez Hills and on behalf of our
first lady my partner Divina Hopkins for him dear would you stand and please be
recognized we are team on behalf of our first lady on behalf of
our senior administration our faculty our staff and especially our students I
want to welcome you to this inaugural presidential distinguished lecture
series in a presidential distinguished lecture series particularly of this type
are not designed to simply entertain you with facts and data nor to merely
acquaint you with a particular issue or concern these lectures want to inform
you yes but but distinguished lectures I think have higher aspirational purposes
that we seek today we seek to raise your awareness and consciousness we seek to
challenge the biases and assumptions each of you arrived with here today when
you walk through those doors we seek to dislodge you from those comfortable
categories of intellectual emotional and behavioral apathy that keep you stuck in
the malaise of complacency and contentment somebody know what I’m
talking about today see this lecture seeks to to disrupt your sensibilities
about why certain speakers say shouldn’t matter to you our speakers and
conversations have come here today to do just that
now lectures like this one do not come about with just a vision it requires
quite honestly some very deliberate intention ality to plan and execute
combined with support of strategic partners who embrace the vision and
endeavor who one seeks to execute on tonight as your president I want to
recognize several supporters and strategic partners who collaborated with
this president and this California State University campus to take this evening’s
program from a dream to a reality and those partners include Aetna
represented by Clemente Gonzalez as Clemente arrived not yet we are still
waiting him I want you to give ed in applause if you would a we do a little
better than that give it up ahead na and I had a conversation with Cherise Ramon
Weaver who is current president CEO of the Brotherhood crusade in their board
and she simply heard the vision and said we’re here to support so I’d like you to
put your hands together and thank the Brotherhood Crusade who partnered with
us to be able to bring the prophetic voice of dr. King reminds
us ladies and gentlemen that our lives begin to end the day we become silent
about the things that matter so this president your president desires to be
voice of uncompromising clarity on the things that matter in higher education
in the world and whether the vehicle is a scholarly manuscript articles on
professional organization newsletters or distinguished lectures like this one the
California State University Dominguez Hills and higher education generally
should be the place where issues of community importance and social justice
become the topics of critical discourse and analysis we want Dominguez Hills to
be the place where you as a community can come to hear about these issues and
whether it’s about politics or economics or social science or the arts and
humanities or athletics or whatever the concern is we want you to know that this
is your home and we welcome you into this Torro nation now decades ago famed scholar in public
intellectual WB Dubois he asked the question among four that he
asked in his writing that day and he asked what does integrity look like in
the face of oppression what does integrity look like in the face of
oppression professionals of all walks of life have had to interrogate that query
and wrestle not only with the answer but also with the consequences let me say
that again they’ve had to not only wrestle with the question of what does
integrity look like but with the consequences
so as you even look at the banners today this is not just accidental artistic
artwork because there are decisions made there are consequences that have been
born from people who are reflected on these banners see indeed when the
authentic self demands expression and struggles with the fundamental question
of human authenticity in the face of profound in congruence between what a
society preaches and what it practices the dissonance between what one must do
and what one feels is right to do becomes very pronounced that
circumstance often represents each of us and presents to each of us a choice a
choice point if you will a fork in the road that challenges us to confront what
we really believe and what we are willing to sacrifice for some a query is
more easily rationalized the latter query more difficult to realize because
it demands a recognition that our actions oftentimes have consequences and
require sacrifice we have to be willing to make if our actions draw the ire of
those whose power and position to negatively impact our lives is exercised
in short such a stand demands a degree of uncommon courage uncommon
to stand on principle and not fold or crumble under the weight of social norms
or expectations to conform to the status quo these are the times we live in today
such has been the case for those blessed with exceptional athletic talent which
when combined with very hard-working disappointment and disciplined work
ethic makes for a world-class athlete poised to illustrate their athletic
prowess on the fields and arenas of competition and yet participation in
their sport and elevation of their status to an elite class provides them
with a platform to not simply answer a reporter’s interview questions but also
to raise their voice to speak out on other social causes and against social
injustice such was certainly the case in 1949 when Paul Robeson the former NFL
star and bass baritone singer attending the Paris Peace Conference in 49
delivered a seminal condemnation of American racism this is not new activism
was also on display in June of 1967 when a host of African American athletes
gathered in Cleveland that’s the picture you see at the bottom here in Cleveland
hosted by Jim Brown and others for historic summit centered around the
conversation with then champion of the world Muhammad Ali and ultimately a show
of solidarity and support for his right to exercise his rights as an American
citizen against the government that would have him right defer that and move
in a different direction even as he refused induction into the
Armed Forces our featured speaker this afternoon he is one such individual and
I give you this context because I want you to see that this is not just about
how fast he was or how brilliant of an athlete he was it was fundamentally
about the courage and character of the man who in the course of exceptional
athletic feats he chose to use his platform and summon the courage to speak
out against social injustice that plagued American society this year
marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City were silent just
to raise the volume on a voice that reverberate around the world to call
attention to American racism apartheid in South Africa
and the profound in congruence between what America professed and what she
practiced our distinguished speaker is a man of unusual character and principle
he’s courage to speak out we celebrate this year his presence here this
afternoon allows us the platform to further interrogate the question of
whether athletics should be used as a platform for just speaking out or as one
Fox News reporter suggests that athletes has just shut up and dribble hmm our
evening will feature an address and presentation by an Olympic champion a
conversation between he and I a panel discussion about athletics as a platform
for speaking out and an opportunity to force elected members of the audience to
actually raise questions ladies and gentlemen he’s had a remarkable career
as a world-class track athlete and former player in the NFL coach at both
Oberlin College and Santa Monica Community College would be a sum San
Jose State and honorary degrees from where else Cal State University
Dominguez Hills right doctor if you mean letters in 2007 for this first
Distinguished Lecture series the Cal State University is really pleased to
honor write this proud individual who will be introduced in a moment so as we
get our evening underway I want you to know how honored and privileged I am
that all of you have joined us but mostly important
I want to thank timing the Loess for the conversation we had back in June where
we dreamed about this possibility and now it comes to fruition right here on
your campus at California State University Dominguez Hills here to kick
our evening off please welcome back our Dean Mitch Avila in coming into the room I’ve already
given him props buck it was his dream along with me sitting at a conference of
the 100 black men that helped to bring this in I want you to raise your hands
against from my good friend from Edna this is Clemente Gonzalez he helped us
support this give it up if you would give it up one image from 1968 became iconic it was
an image of two Olympic athletes on a medal podium fists raised shoes off
heads bowed gesturing silently we’re pleased this evening to invite back or
welcome back to D H the man behind that iconic image doctor Tommy Smith Olympic
gold medalist and champion of human rights rather than give him give a long
introduction I’m going to just we’re going to Butte together a short video
describing those events of that year and so and then we’ll set the stage for the
remainder of the discussion Payne it’s obvious but how one handles
that pain isn’t therefore we must move proactively in the future calming was a fascist human being that I
had ever seen Bob Hayes at maximum speed was at 25
miles per hour between 50 to 75 yards and Tommy was actually increasing to 28
miles per hour at 75 meters 200 meters his stride length which averaged 8 feet
5 inches actually increased to 8 feet 8 inches the last 20 meters of a 200
meters Tommy C Smith was born on June 6 1944 in Clarksville Texas the 7th of 12
children God’s intention for him to provide a special service was evident
very early as Tommy barely survived a serious bout with pneumonia as an infant
not only did he survive but he also went on to become a distinguished chapter in
african-american history beginning his incredible career in Lemoore California
he went on to become the only man in the history of track and field to hold 11
World Records at the same time by the time he graduated from high school he
had been voted most valuable athlete three years straight in basketball
football and track and field his college career was highlighted with many
achievements he started striving and breaking world records in track as a
sophomore and did not stop until he had tied or broken 13 Tommie Smith received
his bachelor’s of Art degree from San Jose State University in social science
with a double minor in military science and physical education in 1974 he
received his master’s degree in sociology from Goddard College Cambridge
Massachusetts as a college student Tommy amazingly tied or broke a total of 13
World Records in track however realising the importance of
education he went on to obtain his master’s degree in sociology it’s hard to explain just how violent
the 60s were 1968 was a volcanic eruption in America and almost every
bubble back here alone Vietnam costs us 16,000 in the states that is the shaking
of the foundation of American civilization two major assassinations
Martin Luther King the whole American culture kind of came unhinged for a time Paris may of 68 yeah Prague 68 I mean 68
is the pivotal year where this awakening of everyday people’s taking place on
cross national boundaries among the millions awakened by the civil rights
movement where black collegiate athletes who would earn glory for their schools
while struggling to be treated as equals alongside their white teammates young
men like John Carlos and Tommie Smith began to speak out this has not that
much do with patriotism if it if it were we would be treated just like any other
human being on the face of the earth because I was world-class athlete I
should not be involved in anything but running fast so America pat me on the
back why should we be concerned about human right use they’re supposed to run
fast and shut up during the historical 19th Olympiad in
Mexico City in the summer of 1968 Tommy broke the world and Olympic record with
a time of nineteen point 83 seconds and became the 200 meter Olympic champion Tommy Smith running pretty well so far
and in lane two Bob Hope is strong on the outside and said with Roberts
fellows right now it’s Pendleton Smith and here comes coming this is one of the greatest 200-meter
races ever run Tommy Smith broke his own world record by 2/10 of of a second
Tommy ran that race as if he were running for his life you could feel like
this magic wind that is back and it’s just beautiful I mean this is what you
know if you could be in the Olympics and see this this is what it is this is
athletics at its best Carlos and Smith plan their next move I was very nervous
I was scared well I be scared now I was been scared
all my life up until then as the two men prepared to take their place in Olympic
history their thoughts turned to the past to stand for something or you just might
fall for here just might fall for anything they hope I’m afraid to fail I
find one black guy in a suit to work White Bear from black bear fur I wanted
to be somebody after accepting their medals as the
national anthem began to play and the American flag was hoisted the two men
bow their heads and raised their black gloved fist into the night air all the people around us we’re shocked
really opti she was going on it was nothing but a raised fist in the
air and about head acknowledging the American flag not symbolizing a hatred
for it his concern was the plight of African Americans and others at home and
abroad cheered by some jeered by others and ignored by many more Tommie Smith
made a commitment to dedicate his life even at great personal risks to champion
the cause of African Americans psychologically educationally morally
politically financially and spiritually I had to watch cars war record holder of
eleven wrecked down at North American Pontiac washing cars in the back with a
big sign out front common CI olivian Tommie Smith called me out in the back
tell me you have a customer up front like I was a salesperson or something
right to put on old dungarees and foremothers half and come up to the big
smile on face hi I’m Tommy said how are you
they’re talking with you Miskatonic revelry did Johnny get autograph it’s
really finished I would go back out to the back light out there put my watching
clothes on the katene washing cars the story of the silent gesture is
captured for all time in the 1999 HBO TV documentary fists of freedom and the
2009 ESPN documentary returned to Mexico City Tommy Smith’s courageous leadership
talent and activism has earned him well-deserved acclaim and awards
worldwide since the games of the 19th Olympiad Tommy has enjoyed a
distinguished career as a coach educator and activist he has served as a faculty
member at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica California for 27 years teaching
coaching and serving on academic committees he has dedicated a total of
37 years to educating and teaching our children in June 2005 Tommie retired and
moved to Georgia he continues to travel nationwide giving
himself to all the Tommy Smith Youth track athletics is in a sixth year in
Northern California and in its third year at Louisville Kentucky and in New
Orleans its second year in January 2007 dr. Smith completed his autobiography
entitled silent gesture published by Temple University Press he was nominated
for an in double-a-c-p Image Award in the literary category autobiography I
wasn’t there but the last years that Tom and I have been married and together I
have relived 1968 this is his journey back you know and
I’m just feeling blessed to be part of it it created in a silent way in the
most beautiful way symbolically what people were feeling and it made a
statement that said here’s Who I am here’s what I believe
here’s how important it is to me the fundamental lesson of what they did encouraged to think for themselves got a
people thought that was just black power no that was black people affirming their
dignity so what anti-american it was anti
injustice in America I think to signify in the Olympics that there was more work
to do take knowledge the in justices that were still taking place I think was
a breakthrough moment in an overall push to move this country towards a more
equal and more just society as you can see the life of Tommy Smith at this
point has been an historical event therefore let us move progressively
forward in the future Tommy Smith is featured in several national
publications innumerable papers foreign magazines audio and video media
continued to seek him out for their features training products and
presentations he competed and continues to travel throughout various European
and Asian nations and conducts seminars clinics and deliver speeches to those
locations as well as on domestic college campuses Tommie Smith is available to
share educate as well as motivate from the academic to the corporate level Tommy Smith thank you thank you thank you and thank
you again I’m very proud to be here this evening in the first annual speakers
thank you dr. Parham on this presidential series and I think it’s
going to be a great legacy as we continue this trick at this university
now this evening I didn’t know the is going to be that long so we’ll get into
it real quick and hope that I get out of here before somebody do something stupid but but I was told before I came to this
juncture here that don’t introduce anybody I know but I must take this
opportunity to introduce my wife Delores and daughter Danielle y’all stand up so
people can see it right there Marilyn Marilyn Matt Pollan
thank you very much for burning the wires of my telephone up talking to us
trying to get the arrangement straight for us to be here dr. Paul Hammond I
talked in part about the legacies of athletes and the social activism some
time ago but didn’t have enough time to finish our conversation so I looking
forward over the next few years we’re talking to him on this particular
situation I’m also an agreement of that particular need and discussing the power
of communication and sharing so we can understand the differences of
involvement but first comes self self remember that self as I go through the
next few minutes on a couple of things but tonight I stand firm on this
platform or podium today abiding abiding in the retrospective belief that
conversation will lead to a continuous and sharing ideas that will lead
optimism to an open form of social topical understandings though though
differences make lie differences make life lending optimism is relative
because the differences in opinion can lead to quick closure and I think most
of us in here professionals have heard that quick closure or shut up because I
got something else to do and we don’t give enough attention to the need to
myth in that conversation so listen with optimism or to the
freedom of expression and I hope there are students in here tonight because
there’s a couple of things that we’re going to go over very quickly in the
next 15 minutes or so working together my friends we can make a change
but first coms self self you working together making a change and
what makes change lasting in fact gullibly strong is the concentration of
different ingredients or let’s call them personalities not ingredients
personalities in route to a giant pot called unity but to unite should not be
related to an explosive walkout because of those differences in opinion working
to prove the need to succeed is a continuum folks sacrificial movement if
you don’t put in you cannot draw out if you put in watch out for overdraft too
much of anything is not good too little the same is just as bad and one great
oratorical ecumenical giant once said that if there is no sacrifice there can
be no advancement sacrifice for human advancement is redemptive and if you
don’t believe in self you may fall for someone else’s misfortune now I’ve been
asked many times and I think we’re getting into that a little bit up here
doc what was the benefit standing on that Victor stand in 1968 with your
dominating gesture that caused you pain and effort I believed in 1968 and I
still do that standing on a platform for social justice anytime is redemptive and
pain and the pain of sacrifice enroute there is no greater the pain than that
of those who perished on the historical path of hope fighting for justice and
secured that seat of progress which we sit in today courage courage must be the
byproduct used to continually fight inequality which is still on the rampage
in America this day a battle is never won if first you don’t engage and we too
often associate failure as an existing social negative in the war against
racism and it is very obvious that not enough is done to expose expunge his
growth I dually believe when one encounter problem acts linked to social
inequality in public or private and especially in conversation and your
reaction is a spineless a whale you become a part of the problem so the
struggle continues the struggles containing hope should never be an
outdated process of thought we fought through the maze of social ignorance
from reconstruction to this day and many of us have tasted that recipe of social
destruction commanded by racist ideology moving forward we can’t afford to
believe that hope is a passion that’s obsolete and yes there are those of us
who may believe that by keeping quiet and moving with that scratch and shuffle
none involved cranial flow believing that the path for fighting for social
equality and community safety is someone else’s duty some of us may feel that
we’re protected from social bias because we have a good job or because we are the
right color or because we smile a lot or that you have friends in high places
you know the higher you think with that love of social ignorance the further
you’ll fall when you realize how wrong you were history history tells us but
few of us can remember witnessing an iconic moment August 28th 1963 no I
wasn’t born I didn’t ask that at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC I was
a senior in high school myself and most of you had not arrived the ribbond dr.
Martin Luther King stood with social intensity and said and I quote I have a
dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the meaning of his Creed
we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal
dr. King’s work and his words have withstood withstood the weathering of
time these words are historical reminders that time is an infinite space
and working toward unity must continue indefinitely it was in October
lord have mercy the year was 1968 in fact six months after the assassination
of dr. Martin Luther King two young black American athletes from San Jose
State University stood atop an Olympic victory stand with black glove fist
raised skyward heads bowed and shooters with black socks he was not going to
remember that the infamous Sano gesture on that
Olympic medal podium was catapulted by silence heard around the world
it was my cry it was Tommy Smith’s cry for freedom highlighted by truths of why
it had to be done it was a sacrifice continuing the tireless struggle
supported by the Olympic project for Human Rights it promoted a humane
athletic message and political views of action today today the inclusion of the
Athletic continuance and composure have accelerated this movement to a new wave
commitment this is a positive and hopefully advancing yet another movement
to further identify the covert Ness of racism I kind of hear a little bit
underneath some few them long words a message and I hope you picked it up
athletic involvement is violent I’m not supporting the walkout I am supporting
one social involvement to overtly use what fits the crime and not turning our
backs on an obvious social need that will stand solid for decades making
positive changes on his way to an acceptable answer mother’s father’s
sister’s brothers and extended family member have perished on the social
battlegrounds fighting for seats which we occupied today they visualized a
better existence for us new wave people who too soon forget the struggle and
certainly from which we’ve come dr. King in his speech in 1963 also mentioned the
power of dreaming we must give free-range to our imagination people
there is justice in a social indictment of hope
what’s wrong with the vision of the conscious mind what’s wrong with that
look forward believe we could never have moved forward if we were absent of the
sacrifices of our forefathers whose dreams spawned presence here today not
goodness gracious past collection plate Danny want to leave the front okay get
it resolves to me don’t become despondent and wallow and
despair if a dream doesn’t come when you won’t it to students out there that a
grade isn’t not coming because you dream it though you still have to study
don’t be lethargic in your responsibilities get you get up and
attend those classes already set in curriculum for you they’re not gonna
change because of your lazy behind sacrifices were made for you long before
you don’t be insulting for life that humane sacrifices have offered you do
not that teacher sitting in this day has been barked through human sacrifice paid
for by spilled blood and battle put that grade is on you you don’t have to run
the 200-meter race in Warwick a time of 19.8 three seconds though he saw
nineteen seven eight we won’t talk about that right now you don’t have to do that in front of
the world to make a social awareness statement and then be ridiculed
prosecuted and athletically banned from any further competition for the rest of
your life it has already been done for you I did not give up on society and I
will never give up on society I offered hope through awareness where you could
have and you did not limits one expectation of a positive outcome hold
still for a moment and ask yourself ask yourself whether by contributed in the
struggle for constitutional freedom not reform is already written in the
constitutional rights but the words are absent of truth and while you’re added
read the word of the national anthem all the way through all the words
what’s wrong with studying about survival of our legacy in history what’s
wrong with that what’s wrong with a little extra study my people there is a
moment waiting just for each one of you especially you students step up step up
dreamers are believers and believers are achievers now I’m not throwing rocks and
had my hand I’ve been hit by many rocks throwers who swear they don’t know how
to throw but these friends of mine just didn’t know that tongue is mightier than
the thing very much if you didn’t hear no word you get it by the time you get
home I had to reveal friends five decades ago
five decades ago with some called a negative silence to make a positive
stand sacrifices may plague our futures but don’t let it don’t permit it to kill
our spirit you must believe in yourself you must believe in self study and
magnify the profound dignity of those who perished in social battles fighting
injustice so you could have that seat today have faith have faith that your
needs are on the way but without work faith is dead without work faith is they
all of faith you want but if you don’t work for it you’re still not gonna get
it I tried that in grammar school with my daddy that’s another story the hold
of the story you are somebody you don’t have the right to ignore the legacies of
sacrifice for social transformation you have been redeemed you have been
redeemed but really who are you but really who are you voices of appreciation that no friends
are hard to come by because the Mara construction nowadays tell us don’t
speak because you might have to pay the price for telling the truth
it’s called sacrifice if you don’t sacrifice you’re not gonna move forward
the song writer and poet James Weldon Johnson wrote in 1900 lift every voice
and sing till earth and heaven ring let us march on to victory is one so I
challenge all of us to become proactive in our social contributions but first we
must be willing to sacrifice in order to achieve Reggie I know you had tears I
saw you walk in how many times here you taking that ball and hope there was a
hole but it wasn’t so he went to the outside many times had to make your own
hold even if they did what no one Society is no difference if there is no
door you might have to make one once you get to that door though headline you
have to make a handle for it’s called sacrifice
it’s called sacrifice GPA students grade point average must have a significant
potency in your thought in moving forward and how to move with pride why
are you moving forward don’t pin up your thoughts behind the knowledge of not
knowing you’re much smarter than that you much smarter than that so I’m gonna
sit down come on sit down but let me end with four little things
here I called my peoples prepare prayerfully proceed positively Purdue
persistently and plan purposefully thank you ladies and gentlemen one more time the
incomparable Thomas Smith so Tommy you know through my work with
the hundred black men and of America in my role as a psychologist that I think a
lot about the the psychology not only around identity but around the ideas
that become the substance of behavior for people as we think about the
dissonance I talked about earlier about what you must do and what you feel is
right to do talk some if you can about the conflict the dissonance about your
demonstrations in the 68 Olympics because it’s not just anxiety and
nervousness there’s conflict going on in your mind
talk to the audience if you would about the conflict all the time in my academic
classes especially sociology classes that the philosophy classes anxiety on
the track anxiety you have a make a decision and once you make that
decisions there’s not too many times you can go back in and rewrite history you
have to maintain it take you through so it’s much easier to think before you act
then just try to change it once you made that decision 1968 was one of those
times Tommy Smith spoke very little around campus especially dr. Parham on
the track I always believed to let you action do the word actually speak louder
than words so when I started destroying folks I like kind of like to feel you
know but I had to make a decision first to
work I had to go out there and work I couldn’t sit around and hold that
because I ran a cup of raisin did pretty good I was going to do good all the time
so that decision to work was because I wanted to maintain the feeling of doing
something good doing something well enough so people would come back and see
me again when I was teaching school so I started teaching school at the 5th grade
not not me being in the fifth grade but I started teaching the fifth graders and
my first word my first class was who are you one of the kids said I’m somebody I
said yeah but who is that somebody’s I don’t know my reason for saying this is
you have to plant a seed before it’ll grow and it might germinate if the soil
is bad so from the bottom of a thought to the end of the fruit you have to take
care of what you thought it was going to be it’s the way it was for me threw out
my grammar school education my grandma’s go teaching to competition
through coaching and through teaching all the way through and that’s quite
difficult if you don’t have a plan students please have plans based off of
studying now you know doctor for having me you and I can go a bit on the the
analogy of studying like Plato did to play though and allegory or the cage
we’re just gonna be cool sit here you know
I don’t mean to you know disgrace the president’s presence but this man has
more than a president he’s a human being say that in often times this this
generation of young people have much more of a social justice mindset I think
than say a generation in say the 80s and the 70s but oftentimes I think they
aren’t quite clear about the consequences that come from
demonstration of social protest I wonder if you can help us all understand the
specific consequences you had to endure as a result of your own courageous stand
against oppression it started the courageousness part of it
which is a big word it should always start with the capital C and by junior
year in college at San Jose State University when I was cut because I like
I said folks I said nothing in college my dad said
boy you when you go to college we were the first at school you go home to us a
college a year that one too they said you go on together education which I
don’t have I said yes sir he said you go you to
education you get married you have kids you already got a church home then you
can die I was finished with my dad right then okay no dad this kid just can’t
happen I did say that to him but I thought that that process
thank you why for they grunt she my wife once when I get off the path and decide
something I can hear a mile away we got to have some kind of solidness in
your thought process here so you won’t get off the track what we were talking
about is see what happened was along the way the dreams and aspirations
life happens right we’re talking about the consequences you had to endure and
helping young people understand that it is really about sacrifice and the
question of what are you prepared to sacrifice not do you know what to do
most people know the right thing to do most people are just not prepared to
sacrifice what it is they have to give up talk to them about what you had to
give up what were the consequences you had to endure for the statue to moving
through San Jose State University and setting World Records no put the
position on me I put me in a position and I like position on me much better
because it’s defining to to to set an example to make it clear that anytime
you can move a society in a direction of positive use that sacrifice you have no
choice but to make that is a sacrifice when you’re not sure that you want to do
it but the position that you’re in meaning that your responsibility is to
help to help to qualify and awareness to to be a part of a viable system for all
the Olympic project for Human Rights which also include the civil part of it
but it’s a human which is worldwide I had no choice but to give up my life for
something that I believed in because my forefathers also gave up their life so I
could have a chance to do something to to move in a direction of social
addictions which was equality now I know that back then I didn’t know
this that’s why I Tommy Smith never sent anything while he was in college or on
the track or after the victory stand I knew what it was I didn’t have the
language to explain and maybe now for some of you out there I might not be
doing a good job now but as Muhammad lawyer said you might not like how I’m
saying it but you know what I mean okay so you have no choice so anybody out
there who’s in the position especially you administrators responsibility sorry
dr. Pillai hell no he’s gonna have to spend some burn a lot of night oil to
get his program across because he got to prove now sorry doctor I don’t even put
me in jail after this that what you were hired for is to do what you think is
best and that’s a sacrifice the victory stand was a sacrifice it wasn’t for
Tommy Smith no way it was for those who had no platform to stand on what did I
say after the victory stand I said nothing because it was your
thought to take advantage of what happened I’m looking at the banner that we’ve
created which I’m loving and it chronicles the 1967 summit with Jim
Brown your stance on Olympics other athletes Arthur Ashe others who have
taken a stance for social justice on that and I’m loving that piece but I’m
wondering as I look at your image you are now 70 plus years of age that’s hard
for some people to believe because we almost freeze him in time yeah that is
still you know that that 20 year old but I’m wondering if there are things you
did that you wish you hadn’t or things you did not do that you wish
you had as you take a retrospective look let’s let’s break that in half are the
things that you did you wish you hadn’t in your life you know if I could
identify something wrong did I did I’d be sitting here all night trying to
figure out how I could have done it better but unthankful the way that it
was put in my mind by God for me to decipher a future for not only me but
the young folks that bound to happen as long as there is that the human race
there is going to be reasons to do certain things and not all those things
are gonna be sacrificial because we have a lot of folks who’s not going to
sacrifice dollar bill means more to them than helping the generation out that
needs more than that dollar bill so given that I can’t help but ask this
question as well which is there are some athletes we’ve seen who in the midst of
social injustice in the country don’t mind using their platform to be able to
speak out and there are some who almost refused to get involved or socially
engaged because of you know the impact that it might have on their brand or the
money they make or something right tell me about your generation of folk and how
you generation looks at this current
generation of athletes who struggle with that particular boy that’s a big one
anything we spend a whole lot of time on that but let me let me crack through it
just real quick and then run okay Mexico City the athletes had a lot of me it
wasn’t just just let’s do this thing man what no this thing man
Ray Brown are you out there okay Ray Brown was 17 years old and still owe me
five dollars it was decided it was decided that there would not be a
boycott by the entire group of athletes I’m happy that happened because I did
want to run but I was willing doctor for him to sacrifice for the platform or the
OPR or the looking for Jeff Yuma right so we decided no we were not boycott we
will run because the athletes had a different meaning yeah I was ROTC Mel
Pender was army Charlie green was army so you know what that would do that was
that that would have been what do you call that when you go to would you call
that when you go to army could with court-martial and extra time in Vietnam
so so so it was decided that each we compete but each athlete would represent
himself according to how he thought a country representative that freed
everybody able to do their own thing excuse express their own thing that’s
one the other one is I had as I said no choice to do what I demanded of myself
because of where our Wars and not who I was that’s how it happened I know that
it did answer exactly because I’ve got to question anything about something no you’re doing
good and you’re doing great and particularly as you think about that I
mean I’ve known time a few years to the hundred but it’s hard for me to even
place myself and I was well alive and in 1968 and watching you on that stand
we made it’s an iconic moment that is forever etched in my mind and the minds
of other people because of the courage that took in the sacrifice that he made
but our last question is on it’s 74 years of age there are a lot of people
who look back and you think about legacy right what is the what is the legacy you
hope to leave to all of these people in the world you know it’s been a long time
long time ago and what the passage and it’s the passage that I always try to
hold up his other people could my downfall but that’s my problem
that’s my there’s the deputy measures to that I do believe because 74 years old I
still move around pretty good it’s doing to others as you would have them do unto
you and as far as faith is concerned I have
a lot of that is really Christian folks out there he knew 11 my faith is the
substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen but without
faith faith is daily faces day just think about that you students out
there who look over your shoulders of your buddy in front and try to get that
a from cheating I can tell you it don’t work the great
Algerian subconsciously the great Algerian psychiatrists France for non
argued that every generation out of relative obscurity must reach out and
seek to fulfill its legacy or betrayal I think you have a room full of people who
would agree that given the legacy that you inherited of social uplift in
thinking about community and thinking about the human dignity and humanity of
others and not just yourself that you my brother have fulfilled your legacy and
not the traitor ladies and gentlemen this is the incomparable Thomas all right thank you I’m gonna invite
interests of time invite our distinguished panel to come on up and
and join the stage and as they do that I’m gonna just give a little bit of an
introductory remarks just I only have four or five pages here how many of you
have seen shut up and dribble okay not enough all right
the executive producer shot up in dribble is LeBron James the title comes
from a dismissive and I think derogatory comment by white folks come on so the
title shut up and dribble comes from a comment a white conservative commentator
made who was disgusted LeBron James and other black athletes would speak out
against the president they should she said just shut up and dribble NPR
contributor Linda Holmes reviewed the show and ended her review with these
remarks it’s a strange idea this expectation
that black players must entertain and not speak the NBA is a business that
makes ridiculous money for mostly white owners from the work of many black
athletes it’s fed by the NCAA which makes ridiculous money for schools from
the work of many black athletes it’s covered by disproportionately white
sports media and regulated by a mostly white political system well to help us
understand that and unpack that we’ve got a great panel and let me introduce
them really quickly miss Tamika Smith Jones director of intercollegiate
athletes athletes at UC Riverside to make it welcome from the NFL Network former all-pro
running back and Super Bowl champion with the New Orleans Saints mr. Rutte
Reggie Bush here’s like here’s a fact about Reggie
he has more Twitter followers than everyone else in the room combined our
very own Toro senior sociology major member of the Toro women’s volleyball
team middle blocker 5 feet 10 inches miss Esther Durham if you are sonoma state you do not want
to see Esther last month Esther had against Sonoma 20
kills 24 points 9 digs and seven blocks good job here to moderate our panel who an
individual who also happens to moderate panels on the NFL’s signature network
show NFL Total Access and mr. Steve white Steve is the reporter who broke
the Colin Kaepernick’s story and who better to help us walk and think through
these ideas I’m turn it over to Steve and I believe
there will be an opportunity for QA for some questions as our panel gets going
yeah one thing you know I like doing with these types of thing is if you have
something that’s set up here sparks the question raise your hand we have some
folks at some microphones I hate waiting to the end because then you forget the
question you want to ask the plus you may ask us something that really drives
a great conversation something we’re not thinking about cuz I’d be a lot smarter
than us up here and one thing you know we’re talking what athletes and activism
and legendary sports editor of mine George Solomon with the Washington Post
said to me and hopefully this resonates as much to you why this is so important
for athletes to get involved is athletic and entertainment are the only two
realms of Americana where everyone can pretty much have an equal although
opposite opinion an eighth grade dropout can talk about the Rams game with
someone 115 degrees so that’s why when athletes step out and do some of the
things like Tommie Smith has done like LeBron has done like Colin Kaepernick
has done it resonates so always understand that and that’s why it’s
important and in the effectiveness sometimes an athlete step out which
leads us to your torah after we for those who may not know you have taken a
position during the playing of the national anthem and in terms of things
during our before volleyball games i should say first off explain to the
audience some of the things that you’ve done
so during games during the national anthem i’ll just look down to the floor
or i’ll take in me or all face it on the direction and basically that’s just me
having discomfort and disappointment in our current
administration and social climate that we have today and how I know it’s kind
of reflecting the passion of the past history repeats itself and things of
that nature you know when we talk about intersectionalities we want to talk
about race sex and gender and in our society today
there’s inequalities and there’s police brutality there’s um lack of pay for
women there’s lack of distribution of resources in our society you know so
when I look at this flag you know it didn’t really resonate with me well to
like stand up proudly with my you know right hand around my heart when the
lyrics in this anthem don’t really resemble what’s happening in our society
it talks about the land of the free home of the Braves but the question is who’s
really free there’s so many people who are struggling in our society so many
people who are being silenced and you know that’s just wasn’t right for me so
that was my stance on it or mine on besides doing that that we’re having
these conversations with teammates classmates was of anything that
resonated deeper throughout the campus or as was this just your own little
personal deal yeah I feel like it was my own little personal feel you know I’m a
sociology major so obviously we’re looking at human interaction and you
know how societies are built you know how people you know live off each other
and you know these climates that exist so you know that really inspired me to
you know think about these types of things and kind of take my own stance on
it it’s hamegg as an administrator of
athletics and whereas you can jump in here too I mean have you had an athlete
do this and if so you know how did the administration handle a situation like
this or if it hasn’t happened how would it handle something like this I mean you
have to have conversations with coaches as a pre-emptive measure or how is that
handled from up above love had a first-hand experience with that the day
after Colin Kaepernick Neil as a mother as a professional
as you know just a woman in general being challenged every day on different
she said it best as to said it best with the comfortable uncomfortable
spaces that I have to step into every day and show up I went to campus the
next day and I had the first call I had was to my Chancellor and I told him just
what I said then you know you you you in the news you understand what’s going on
right now in athletics yes can I come talk to you from a personal
and a professional as a leader of your athletic program but also as a
representative of your leadership team so I wanted to make sure that that we
were on the same page and definitely needed to make sure that I was
navigating the space most appropriately I wanted to make sure I separated the
personal from the professional and represented well so he was who he is
Chancellor Kim Wilcox who hired me at the University of California Riverside
very supportive understood had a lot of compassion and empathy was very pleased
that I came to him to talk about it and supported me going to my staff and
having a conversation with the coaches and so that was the first that was the
next step I went straight to my office called all all coaches meeting make sure
everybody was aware because sometimes people are not conscious they are not
aware of what’s going on you know they’re in their own spaces you know
they’re not watching you know football and so we have to be at leaders and make
them aware of that and so I just had the conversation of if this happens then you
know what position we need to be understanding that we’re in with empathy
with compassion with understanding with listening it’s not for us to dictate or
tell our student-athletes what to do that’s the beauty of being at a UC see
I’m from Atlanta peace up a-town down okay and you know I’m very conscious of civil
rights um I’m very conscious of you know being a product of HBCU where we’re not
just dealing with social inequality from a race standpoint but just like esta
said it so beautifully it’s in all measures yeah and I live in that space
every day and so to make sure that our student-athletes had that freedom to
speak express as long as they didn’t disrupt you know business talk about
sports and business we’re gonna get there okay
so that was that was a part of it but you know everybody wasn’t on the same
page with it but as the voice of the program everybody supported that
decision and I think they appreciated us coming forward with it and that’s one of
the things that I think we should do more of and these kind of conversations
help us to embrace it more because you know most people non-confrontational in
these places but you have to confront them and be able to speak to them so
that you can understand them so we had we did have a scenario where we had
students student-athletes that wanted to express themselves in different ways I
have to think about it from a donors perspective and I had a donor that that
reached out to one of the senior administrators I wanted that wasn’t at
the game at that day and she immediately called me to say I had this conversation
with a donor somebody didn’t stand you know what should I do and I said you do
nothing you you you tell the donor they can call me to have a conversation if
they felt offense and I want to understand what they were feeling and
then we’ll talk about how we’re gonna deal with it never hurt and don’t never
had a conversation with me and so it’s just it’s just one of those things
that’s leaders that you do have to make sure that first your your understanding
your leadership leadership is very important all layers mm-hmm so as an
administrator I do believe that I have a responsibility to also leave my coaches
and our student-athletes into safe spaces to be able to have good
conversation and understanding I think for for NFL players and all the guys who
are playing now when when the Kapernick thing happened when
he took a knee a lot of guys were frustrated because the narrative was
changed and a narrative that we don’t appreciate our military or somehow you
know we’re being disrespectful towards the military and how that narrative
somehow became a part of of what Kaepernick was doing frustrated a lot of
people in NFL and a lot of guys including myself have family members
that have fought in the wars in the military would come from military
backgrounds and so for someone to say that you know we don’t appreciate our
military you know I think was hurtful for us you know I go back to times where
a lot of and a lot of times in teams I’ve been on coaches will bring in a war
veteran or somebody from the Navy SEAL to speak to our team because there are a
lot of similarities and what they doing what we do
obviously the landscape is it was a lot different but just the mindset of it is
very similar and I have to tell you a lot of times when these when these
military veterans get up and speak every single person in that room is glued to
the speaker because we appreciate what they do because and honestly in another
lifetime honestly we wish we could you know do
some of the things that they’ve done and so I think for a lot of NFL players you
know that was the most frustrating part about it was that we love our military
we love our country we love our flag you know we are we just have an issue with
the social injustice and the things that have continued to happen in our
communities and in one of the most frustrating parts as well as that you
know people will often say you know like to LeBron stay in your place you know
shut up and play your sport you know what do you know about politics or what
do you know about social injustice because you have a lot of money and so
for some reason you don’t see racism or somehow you’re not affected by these
same things that everyday people are affected by but your kids to go in
school right exactly yeah but before the sports before the money before our
families and kid than anything else that has come on the
sport I was always I was always black and that will never change and that will
always be that and and so for me to just somehow suddenly act like I’m not this
anymore because I got money is that’s the wrong message and so that was one of
the most frustrating parts for a lot of the NFL players is that listening I know
we are sometimes held up to this higher standard because you know on TV and you
know you see a lot of different things are going with professional athletes
lies but we very much care about our families our communities and everything
that goes on every day that affects everybody in this world and you know
Reggie Reggie said it very well it’s interesting because like I said I was
the first one to report on Colin Kaepernick not standing for the national
anthem ember he sat mm-hmm before he met with the Green Beret encouraging them
maybe to show a gesture that might be more amenable to more people and that
was to take the knee that was a simple but Reggie played the cap yeah is there
if there’s any way you can shine a little light on you know maybe because
you were there the year before I was there before he took he did this did
anyone see this coming nobody saw his coming and and this
wasn’t a thing that was you know there Kaepernick had voiced to any of us in a
locker room many of our teammates you know caparelli
Kaepernick at that time when I was there he still he had a very rocky
relationship with a lot of the players a lot of the you know people in the front
office for various reasons that you know obviously won’t get into but you know we
never saw anything like that you know but before Kaepernick there were a lot
of talks about doing something amongst players I remember actually reaching out
whatever the whatever year was that Eric garner was killed by the police officer
I was 2016 2016 I remember reaching out to Richard Sherman through through
Twitter and I’ve known him for a while but I reached out to him because I felt
like we needed to do something and I didn’t know what that something was
I didn’t know if it was you know national anthem or whatever it was I
felt like as you know collectively for the NFL for players and just for
everybody else we needed to do something to make a stand and and so we wanted to
get everybody on the same page we wanted to obviously get him to get Seattle
Seahawks on page I was with the Detroit Lions at the time and it ended up not
working now I think because we were scared you know we were nervous we
didn’t know the backlash we were going to get and so I remember we I ended up
writing just I can’t breathe on my shirt and I went out and warmed up and I
didn’t realize how big of a deal that was just the right words on your shirt
I’m just showing your you know your form of you know protests you know just by
writing somebody’s on a shirt and then after the game I got a ton of questions
about it and then that’s when I realized like okay this thing is bigger than than
just me writing words on the shirt this thing goes deeper than that and then
then I don’t remember the next week the Cleveland Cavaliers they came out with
they all had I can’t breathe shirts and a lot of NBA guys you know started doing
it and so it became a thing and and then the next year I believe is when no
couple years after that that no cabbage that year and we’re gonna go was a year
about play football man a lot of these these times of years I get them mixed up
you know me so bear with me please play basketball I’m not sure to play if not
my kid’s gonna play basketball okay so I wanna get to you because you know we
heard Tommy talk about sacrifice Colin Kaepernick has not worked in the NFL
since his contract expired that seems Obama okay he’s not worked and people
could talk about well he doesn’t fit here in there but we know why he’s not
working yeah did you ever fear that you could lose
your scholarship or lose whatever you you wanted to make you know make your
method with your by taking your stance I felt at the end
of the day whatever happened my choice was the correct choice so I wasn’t too
worried about okay what’s gonna happen after I just knew that I needed to use
my rights of expression and go with that and whatever happened I was going to go
through and there were going to be people who supported me and people who
did it no matter what happened how’s your teammates react so some teammates
were like go ahead we were support you some people were a little nervous you
know this whole topic is like very controversial to a lot of people so some
people are just nervous for me and for the attention that they might receive so
it was just like you know some people were like yeah go ahead we don’t care
some people like oh maybe we should stay quiet but at the end of the day like I
feel like I had a mission and I was gonna do it either way something you
said that really sparked something just raise your hand if there’s a good
there’s a natural break we’ll get to the question all right thank you thank you
all for being here my question is really kind of toward the the Kaepernick he
hasn’t worked and we know why didn’t one talk about it but it’s hard to believe
he’s not getting paid nike capitalized on that effort and their stock went down
for a hot minute and then it tripled so they made a good investment so how do we
then you know for the for the frustrated players rather you were saying because
it kind of got twisted mm-hmm was not about you know I’m tired of how black
folks and people of color treat in this country has absolutely nothing to do
with disrespect in the flag or the military so he hasn’t worked he’s now
getting paid but what are those athletes now do do they continue do we then try
to bargain with Nike to say hey you’re making all this money how do we return
some of that into an educational program in the community so people get better
information so people are more informed how do we manage that media piece how do
we continue to not make this dire because it got twisted we just kind of
let it go there’s there’s a lot in that question
to read you if you could explain about NFL players they don’t have guaranteed
contracts where hitters athletes and other professional
sports it’s why my kids gonna play basketball because you were scared yeah
you know and it’s it’s tough because for NFL players NFL’s only scored us like
this our contracts are not guaranteed and you could swim yeah exactly so when
you see a NFL contract you see you know guy signs a hundred million dollar
contract and you see the signing bonus is you know twenty million or whatever
it is that signing bonus is the only thing that’s guaranteed to him so I’ll
give you an example I signed a four-year contract with the
Detroit Lions after two years they decided to cut me and I was owed some
money and well sorry the the money was not owed to me obviously so the day they
cut me I was not getting paid anymore and it’s the only sport that’s like that
and you’ll see when the new CBA comes up that’s going to be the biggest biggest
one of the biggest issues that players will bring up is we have to we need
guarantee contracts because if you think about it and no other form of work you
know can someone cut you or not and then did not have to pay you and so that’s
the way it is right now football and it’s very frustrating because you know
this it’s security right it’s the way we make our money it’s the way we provide
for our families and you know for a lot of different reasons but teams will cut
you for younger and cheaper even if the next guy that they’re bringing in a
replace you doesn’t give them the same production he could just give him half
the production right and we’re actually seeing this play out right now with lady
on bill so lady on bill you know he’s trying to get a big contract right and
so he’s been kind of demonized as you know he’s as you know selfish right and
and so these are the kind of things that go on because we don’t have guaranteed
contracts and because for running backs the window of opportunity is short it’s
so short the average life expectancy the average career for NFL players three to
four years is very short and for running backs
even shorter so as a running back you have to get the most money you can while
you can because once it’s gone you ain’t getting it back they’re not coming back
to give you any money just because they like you because you want them Superbowl
or because you’ve been to a couple Pro Bowls they are done that’s it and so
it’s playing out right now with lady on bill we actually just talked about an
NFL Network on Tuesday you know lady on bail his contract if he signs a tender
would be like 14 million dollars right now James Connor who was playing very
well for the Pittsburgh Steelers is cheaper and his contract is five hundred
seventy thousand dollars right right and so those are the kind of things that
happen in our sport um those are the kind of games that are play but until we
get gone until we get guaranteed contracts the players will never have
complete leverage so for the student-athletes yes I was gonna earn
your degree go to grad school right we talked early about dr. Smith talked
about and what Kaepernick’s thing is about the courage so can you talk about
a little bit of the mindset if we understand I understand nobody wants to
be without a job mm-hmm but I think even the branding on Kaepernick’s commercial
now says stand for something even if it cost you everything mm-hmm so where’s
that mindset about courage now and sacrifice yeah as opposed to the me and
I gotta have a job yeah figured I mean he figured out a way to not have a job
and still get paid yeah I’m just wanting to know where climate-wise with athletes
who have much more media visibility mmm then regular people break a little
brothers right Kaepernick had banked about 30 million
before he made his gesture okay so he had a little next one to work right
that’s why someone like James Connor who’s making five hundreds of thousand
dollars he might have a difference yeah you might think twice but III want to
get to as an athletic department administrator you guys have shoe deals
or apparel deals or equipment deals with Nike and Reebok or Under Armour
ever the fear you talked about how you have you’ve had that open dialogue with
your coaches and whatnot but is there any reservation in case date now we know
Nikes not right but they say hey look you know we’re not gonna give you your
basketball team sneakers or we’re not gonna give you equipment mm-hmm if this
if this continues if this protest continues or this type of vitriol might
continue is there any concern on your end because you did talk about donors in
that public relations and other type of backlash with your other words earlier
into it absolutely I think just as you know human nature you you have that
awareness but again I’m so focused on making sure that as a leader and
educator that we allow our student-athletes to really embrace a
holistic college experience that I’m not I’m not you know
swayed one way or another by someone else’s opinion or thoughts or you know
I’d like to stay with the facts and so as a part of the great you see I mean we
get a chance to allow our student-athletes to really have a voice
we get a chance to teach them and guide them we get a chance to not you know
necessarily control what they’re doing in that aspect we allow them to grow in
a tour on campus so with the donor experience you know as a mature adult I
can pretty much gain probably better than my student athletes can when
someone is gonna really confront us about anything that’s that’s I get paid
for judgment I get paid for anticipation all those you know skills so I have the
best position my unit my department my program my student-athletes and also
make sure that I’m walking in lockstep with leadership which is with it which
is a chance of our University and its leadership team so you know I was gonna
wear my you quality shirt today ex my ex my senior associate but I decided not to
but I wore a lot of words just you know in your Delta colors and my Delta colors
but you know because we responsible adidas and so it’s one of those things
where you you just have to try to make the right decision but be authentically
you be you know dr. Smith said it best you know there’s a self in this we’re
all a part of a team we have to be understand that but you know if you
don’t authentically be who you are you lose every day and so I have to make
sure that I show up the best Amica Smith Jones because the ester that’s looking
at me it’s gonna go out into this world shaky and flaky and gonna fail mm-hmm
because I showed up some faith so athletic director administrator that was
trying to you know pacify her way through this landscape when it’s a real
big world out there that is not gonna play fair and and she’s got to be able
to sleep well at night so that’s just that’s just the way I’m
wired you know and I think it’s benefitted our student athlete body as a
whole because I have seen in my three years at University of California
Riverside our student-athletes gain that confidence gained that voice and and not
all respectfully you know all trying to get to a good place of understanding but
all in our you know at a level of compassion and empathy for one another
to be able to live in this you know melting pot that we’re all living in
every day so it’s been a good experience I’ve had meetings with every vendor and
every partner and sponsor of our program the day one I stepped on campus and and
I told them quite clearly you know the vision of the University I’m at
University of California Riverside because it’s mission driven I’ve been
all of my career at minority-serving institutions because I know that feeling
everyday and I can best express that and share that in lead and guide and be a
model for those that are in my presence every day and so when I have those
conversations with donors sponsors partners it’s very authentic and and
it’s got to be a real partnership in a relationship that they understand our
core values and what we stand for and what we’re trying to do and it’s all
about student-athletes their experience their return on that camp
becoming mature adults that can go out into this world and there’s light
citizens to piggyback on that now I want all of you to chime in on this nest I
want to start with you differing opinions okay you say there’s
certain things in that flag that you really don’t hit home with you but what
about other people on this campus or on your team who those those values of that
flag the things that don’t sound good do you sound great to them are there
healthy discussions or are there as dr. Smith said it’s just like hey you
believe this I believe that will function as two separates what about
that type of discussion red you’ve been in locker rooms with guys who feel
certain ways and I’m sure you we’ve all worked in environments in certain ways
but especially here on a college campus you’re about to embark your senior about
timber embarked on the real world so to speak handling people with different
views are people understanding of how you feel and are you willing to listen
to how they feel definitely I think most importantly it’s good to start off with
respect everybody’s gonna have their own perspective on every single issue that
you face I feel like it’s important to listen first and really understand what
the other person is saying and then give your own feedback on it and you know who
knows anything you say might get through to them might not that’s end of the day
you deciding on giving your own part take on it is good because if you just
continue doing that with each person so in might actually oh wait I kind of got
your side now they may change their mind and then it’s just a domino effect that
might continue on and you’ve had that experience people have been great
listening to you and you listening to them I’ve had that experience and I’ve
had that experience not go so well okay mm-hmm that’s good I mean that’s more
that’s life I also think that’s what’s so great about sports because doc asked
a question earlier should sports be used as a platform for social issues and and
for other things that go on in our world and as you have seen with dr. Tommy
Smith it already has been it’s been for a long time sports brings together
people from all different walks of life old young white black Asian Mexican
Muslim Christian a Catholic it doesn’t matter your
religion because when we all turn on that TV or we’re in that Stadium
and we’re all cheering for the same team that’s what sports embodies to me and
that’s why I love sports so much and I think that’s why sports in itself just
is such a powerful message because I’m playing I’ve played with people from any
and everywhere I got a had the pleasure playing with
the guy you know from Australia who had never played football before in his
lifetime Jared hey Jared hey you know came over when I was in San Francisco
and that to me was such a great opportunity because I for one I got a
chance to learn about more about his sport and their culture but also he got
a chance to learn about our culture in our sport and why it’s so important you
know to us and why football is so important all these different things and
and that’s what to me that’s what sports and bodies and and that’s why we need to
continue to have these conversations and we have to have sports be a part of
these issues quickly before you speak ok you’ve played in different markets yeah
ok New Orleans as we know it’s a you were you were there right after the
hurricane yeah ok so this is it’s a very black city – very poor city but at the
same time there’s significant amounts of racism among the community there what is
it like as a California guy going into that type of environment
your teammates may be great mm-hmm ok and people may love Reggie Bush the
football player but when you go into a certain arena and you’re sensing like
hey you know this is what I mean how is it kind of kind of balancing and did you
did you were you fearful of it or did you take it and learn from it I was
scared I was nervous as heck getting drafted you know by the Saints I didn’t
know what to expect you know I had been in Southern California my whole life I
had never been in Louisiana I had my grandmother was from Louisiana
you know so I got Louisiana cooking but I never got a chance to go and
experience it and I got there at a very very tough time when there was not a lot
of hope people were fearful you know people had lost so much and and
I never forget man when I got drafted I flew down and the first thing they did
was take me on a tour of the Ninth Ward and where all the destruction had
happened in Louisiana and I’m driving through there and you know I’m just I’m
I’m trying to take it all in because on one side I’m supposed to be extremely
happy about this I get a chance to live out my like my dream I get to go play in
NFL and on the other side we’re driving through the Ninth Ward and I’m seeing
spray paint of numbers on houses that represented the amount of bodies that
were found and that was tough to take in because as a young kid you’re just
trying to do the best you can you just trying to enjoy the whole experience but
then you’re kind of hit in the face with you know this big issue is to know how
can I help these people and how can I restore hope any matter what their skin
color was any matter if they’re white black whoever it was but how can we help
these people and so we took it on our shoulders to not only to be the best we
could be on the football field but we got out and active into the communities
we literally physically with our bare hands helped rebuild homes and that is
something that I will never forget because I’m when I when I first the
first restaurant I went to in New Orleans was a chef Emeril I’m sure a lot
of you know chef for him was he has a restaurant called emeralds and I walked
into the restaurant and everybody in the restaurant stood up and applauded
they didn’t matter what their skin color was they all stood up and plotted and I
thought the coaches had set that up it was like trying to impress him he like
you already saw him even have to do all this right but that was the Welcome that
I got you know from the city and so for me that moment right there I knew we had
a chance to make a huge impact in this community and leave them with something
special and that’s what we did you know we went to work and it was tough it was
not easy we had a lot of ups and downs but the journey was so fun I mean it was
amazing and and that’s what it’s really about
a lot of times I get a chance to talk to these kids and and a lot of times you
know every and including me I’ve been there before where you’re so focused on
the end result you’re so focused on the trophy right did you forget about the
journey and everything that you builds in the process and that’s really what is
that’s the best part about it is a process is enjoying the process right
and and so we got a chance to really just enjoy this process and also be able
to restore hope into a city of people that really needed it at a crucial time
and so when we won the Super Bowl in 2009 that was I mean that was the most
special one of the most special moments of my life you know I’ll never forget
just seeing people crying you know people dancing in the streets and if you
ever been in the world is you know they loved to dance like I mean they get
literally it would be a Tuesday nothing going on at 12 o’clock and you’ll see a
second line going down the street for no reason at all just because they want to
just because you know and so and that’s and that’s what’s so special about New
Orleans I always tell people one of my favorite places to visit and some of the
best cooking you ever get is in New Orleans I don’t I’ve been everywhere in
this world New Orleans hands down is the best what
ever had good evening everyone my name is Nelson Williams I’m a student
here and like dr. Parham I’m a 100 member thank you for this lecture this
lecture series is awesome I want to talk about the narrative you started off with
a narrative and as the doer was talking about how she felt about you know the
flag and the national anthem and I’m looking at this poster and this poster
is all individuals who are basically doing but they felt is right but it’s
reactionary as we actually may be to a time in their life but but when you
think about things we need my why are we more proactive and our preference I’ll
say this the national anthem has four verses to it
and the third verse is is racial towards black people as racist towards the
soldiers that fought in that war but that narrative is never spoken so when
you talk about someone taking the knee because of the national anthem no one
talks about that the narrative is while he’s disrespectful or she’s
disrespectful but as a as a groom has a group of nationalists no one is making
that argument that that our National Anthem is racialist to us so that’s from
some my question is as athletes as sports commentators why you know is that
narrative a reality and if it is what can we do about it
well first that stands at the third stanza hasn’t brought up but yeah to
Reggie’s point initially Colin Kaepernick was a protest in the stanza
that was the summer yeah we saw Eric garner get choked out
file and oh Castile gets shot by police he said a lot of police shootings and a
lot of these young football players who were 26 27 28 tall people their age
unarmed to get taken down so again you know when we talk about the national
anthem and some people have brought up that third stance and that’s why some
people for years have not stood for who may not have been athletes but again in
my conversation with with cap and Eric Reid and some of these people their
issue is moreso of what’s going on in society in the actual national anthem
know that part of understand that part understand there was there was a
statement but after the knee the narrative was like there’s a disrespect
to the flag is a disrespect to the nation but that’s what I’m coming from
this is what I’m saying yeah is that no one no one has
nationally brought up the issue is that the representation of the national
anthem is a disrespect to our people it’s easy I’m sorry I’m gonna cut you
off but it has been brought up yeah especially in NFL and and after
Kaepernick took the knee and then once we started to bring more attention to
the social injustice that was going on ever
in the streets we also had discussions about the flag and about the the the the
words you know in the national anthem and so even though you know because the
bigger I think the bigger issue was the social and Justin things that were going
on we had the conversations about it but in
that kind of took it took the league by storm really and and into also to your
point that you made about being more rather than reactionary but finding ways
to how can we get out in front of this thing
those are some conversations I’ve had with Galen who who works it was my boss
but we’ve had discussions about that I’ve had ton of discussions about you
know with other players and then also the player coalition was formed you know
with NFL players which is basically you could speak more to this but what
exactly it is but it was formed because we wanted to be able to and the players
want to be able to get out in front of these things and not just wait until
something happens because when we wait till something happens it’s already too
late right and so Malcolm Jenkins a guy who I play with who was a great great
young man and a huge vocal activist you know for a lot of these things I think
he’s one of the players called coalition and so out of all of that the players
coalition was formed so that we can get out ahead of these issues and get out
ahead of these topics and start having discussions like we’re having right now
and rather than waiting to it and because like I said once you wait you
wait till something happens too late and and quickly the the the kind of
narrative has changed and it’s interesting to see how this is evolved
for the moment from protest you know from activism you know to action and you
have seen in Massachusetts several Patriots players including it in their
owner Robert Kraft went to state legislators and because of their
celebrity highlighted a bill that changed the age in Massachusetts
children as young as seven years old could be put into the juvenile detention
system these are kids you might have ADHD
or something this hadn’t been properly diagnosed and because of their action
they got a bill passed that age movie was moved to 12 down the players
coalition yesterday in the midterm elections in Florida helped their
celebrity and their push got a bill passed which allowed certain certain
former inmates now to have the rights to vote right 1/4 million vote in this is
so deep this is to your point this is so many proactive measures that this is
really spawn yeah okay we had a question this gentleman in the blue hat has had
it for a long time I’m sorry okay can you hear me everybody I’m from the era
of dr. Smith and I lived through a lot of what we’re talking about firsthand
and something that we moved to work away from the saying back then was power to
the people we need to recognize as dr. Smith
emphasized that unity is one of the areas we gotta cling on to if you as a
player had to sacrifice your salary because the owners didn’t agree with
what you did we could shut it down if we don’t pay for the ticket at the stadium
and what I want to ask all of you what can we do I have a Union background and
I know this works cuz we shut down Arnold when he was governor you need to
form those of us that love you your fans that you support then justices that are
done to us see it’s not isolated it’s not something that was done to a
football player or basketball player or whatever sport but what can we do to
unify and support you where when that owner says I’m gonna penalize you for
what you did if there’s some kind of alert kit that you can send out and say
yeah don’t bite it tweak it’s another tweet now we might be able to writ the stadium
here and you have your friends coming in to have an unofficial game and we
support that you have some income but what I’m saying is just like it was
horrible in that day I grew up in it mm-hmm it was horrible
and it didn’t get better but it hasn’t got as worse as it could be because of
the dr. Tommy Smith’s and the people that took the position so what can we do
I don’t have none to lose if I go to jail my pension check still comes in but
I think everything you say it was spot-on and and that’s why during those
times when you know we were having to issue the national anthem and everything
that’s going on Kaepernick I don’t remember who was I said it I’m so mad I
can’t remember but the chemist said that we also need our white players to stand
up with us because this is not just a black issue this is the issue from
everybody everybody in this league is affected by it everybody in this country
is in some way shape or form affected by what is going on now whether you like it
or not you affected by it in some way shape or form and so that’s why I was so
happy to see it again it was unfortunately as a reactionary but when
Donald Trump made a statement about the black players taking the knee every team
made a statement I don’t know if you guys remember that every team came out I
think they took the bait reg holding on I think they took the bait because my
whole thing was if the players went down with it from the beginning if you’re
gonna let that man say that and everyone come out and do it right because owners
who tried to enact an aunt the policy afterwards went down there on their
knees exactly and that’s what I loved the depth of a gesture of yeah let’s
react instead of being a gesture but it forced in it’s very hard to get things
solved when you’re comfortable people got to be uncomfortable and that
statement made everybody in NFL uncomfortable and
not just NFL players basketball players it made everybody uncomfortable and
that’s why I was so happy to see that even though it was reactionary we still
showed up and everybody showed up and everybody was linked in the arms
everybody took a knee and that was to me that was that’s what sports means and
that’s what Sports stands for got time for one more on this gentlemen the blue
hat has been waiting a long time how’s it going everybody first of all
thank you to the panel as well as telling me since this wall is everyone
that got this together my name is Thomas ABEO I’m at actually a student as well
as a student leader here I’m a director of legislative affairs as part of
Associated Students my question is I know I’m sorry I know it but I wanted to
know being that I’m gonna be traveling to as part of it a student leader I’m
part of the social justice and equity committee and it felt like it was a
perfect opportunity especially the fact that I’m also from Turlock hometown of
Colin Kaepernick shadow 209 even though they don’t really well that’s a
different can of worms but I just want to know what you would want me to tell
this committee considering that I’m one of the board members representing
California State University Dominguez Hills as well as the CSU system wide as
a whole I’m actually gonna be going to San Luis Obispo and that’s part of what
my duties as director of legislative affairs so mainly I’m on the social
justice and equity committee along with my counterparts from other CSU’s and I
want to hear from the panel on what you would want what I would want what you
would want them to take action I think I think I think the first thing people
have to know is and I think I think dr. tommy said we loaded to earlier is that
your silence is this is a statement you’re being silent on these issues is
just as bad as somebody who’s being racist you have to stand up and get out
in front of it you have to be a part is because we’re all affected by it and so
being silent is minor you might as well just you know side with every other
other side right and so I think it’s important for people to get out and talk
about it’s important for people to understand
and to educate themselves about what’s going on and to not remain silent but to
speak out right like we this the the elections that just happened everybody
talking about get out and vote you know get out and vote get out and vote get
out and vote we’re trying to do the best we can to get everybody else especially
the young people out to vote well the same same thing for these issues that go
any social and justice issues like speak out about it talk about it don’t be
silent about it because everybody has an opinion about it whether we like it or
not we have to respect it right whether you like what Kapernick did or not
was there an opinion but you had to respect the fact that it was peaceful
and so I think just that message for especially young kids young people just
to talk about it you know don’t don’t be silent on these issues
thank you backing off of what he said your student right so you have power in
your words I’m sure you work alongside other students of different backgrounds
you know how they feel about certain issues that’s happening today so I think
it’s important for you to understand that your voice matters and that what
you express is going to really just create like a bigger discussion and it’s
gonna be really important for you to understand that what I’m saying has
carries weight and then it’s going to just influence other students to want to
be involved just like the way you’re doing that so I think that it’s just
important to be expressive and understand that as a student there’s
knowledge and power and there’s power in numbers and so just take that and run
and continue to like you know really be positive in your stance and really be
strong and just not give up I’ll just say thank you for being here
and your leadership position I would expect you to be here but you don’t have
to be here right and and so when you go you know one of the things that I always
think about when I have to get in spaces like that is you your your voice is to
bring awareness and so that’s why you can’t be silent that’s why you have to
have the understanding so understand what this face is do you understand
what’s going on socially that is that that is making us uncomfortable that’s
three good thank you so once you understand that then you can
be an advocate for that and then that advocacy turns into
advancement that’s what action comes in so those are three A’s did you get them awareness advocacy actually that action
that advancement then we can start moving the needle forward so I
appreciate the work that you’re gonna do and I would like to hear back what you
get from that yeah me too I would like to hear back what you get from that as
well all right well we’re gonna we’re getting ready to button this up I’m get
I’m getting the high sign right I beat you because I didn’t have a lot of time
so I’m not okay so dr. Julie Shaw is my alum at UCR I’m dr. Julie Shaw and I’m
of UC Riverside where I played basketball and so I’m actually currently
a professor for Gonzaga University and I am teaching a course on sport in society
so this is like textbooks comes to life right now so I love it and the question
that I posed to my students this week what are the three pressing issues that
you see in sports today and it in a way it surprised me but now looking at it I
can see why they said that social media is one of the top issues in sports these
days and after I’m hearing all these comments it’s connecting you know what
can we do what’s the narrative what is the media
putting out there and and whether it’s the negative stories that they’re
putting out and how are you engaging people on yours I mean you got all those
Twitter followers it’s just what are what are people doing how are you
engaging how are you using social media how do you see that that’s affecting
support in our society and and the social justice issues that are
intertwined with that great question I’ll start is a great question I can block it move it out we got all
the followers so I’m gonna give my handle out I think that if you follow me
on TJ sports 23 that is those are my thoughts okay
you will see just a canvas of my life as a leader as a mother as a person my
hashtag is I’m a person out of position here that now it’s tough yeah but that
is I’m a person and not a position a hashtag I’m a person or not a position
and that reminds me every day of my responsibility to be bringing people
together on my social media and not dividing us even further so anything
that is of good and that’s happening I’m trying to see how first I’m looking
through the lens of my student-athletes what what’s going on with them my first
year at UCR the way my student-athletes connected
with me the most was they were following me on social media they would I would
show up on campus and the first thing they would say is 80 jobs we saw you
drop the kids off this morning and you did this then I’m like but that’s how
you captured them and once I realized that that I had their attention it was
my responsibility at that point to make sure I was putting things out there that
is gonna be impactful to them that’s gonna allow them to have a even stronger
voice that is gonna get them conscious of what’s going on in the world and so
social media is very very important very very important and Reggie you can tell
us what you don’t know is socially well Reggie does not play if you follow me on
social media like I really go in and you don’t follow me right now it’s very easy
just my name’s go ahead hit follow buddy but I’m really active when it comes to
social issues because I recognize and I realized a long time ago that I have a
platform to speak out for people who don’t have a platform and so I touched a
lot of different topics and and you know like Steve said I don’t mess around you
know I really I love to get into conversations about so
issues about politics about sports about whatever it is because these least these
conversations are important right and because you never know who else is
watching who else can be affected by that and I heard I remember who the guy
was said something but he he said you know how do when people come to your
page when people take a look at your page do they leave better they leave
worse and I thought that was such an important message because a lot of times
with social media there’s an ugly side of it right and there’s the other side
of it where people like to you know make you think that their life is perfect and
nobody’s life is perfect right and we all have issues we all make mistakes we
all have crazy family members we know we we all have money issues you know
whatever it is whatever those issues are we all go through those same problems
and just because you know you’re a celebrity doesn’t mean that your
problems are less it actually means that they might be worse and my in my
experience they’re worse but you know I just try to make sure that I’m always
thoughtful I’m always i’m never disrespectful
unless somebody disrespects me first you know but again at the same time you know
I think it’s important to just remember especially for young people that you
know how do people leave or how do they feel when they when they come to your
page or they leave better really worse and I also think that social media
really teaches young people to hide behind a keyboard to edit your throw
that rock behind your hands and and so I think is you know and one of the things
I my kids are and it’s crazy how kids are so much more advanced now because of
the technological things that we have but I mean my kids will literally sit on
the iPad all day if I let them you know and not even look up and know that you
know half you know a lot of stuff is going on in his world but it’s also
important I think for for young people to understand that or to have you know
these social skills right because social media teaches you to get away from those
social skills and and to really hide behind a keyboard and put out
statement and you know what I mean and that’s it right and so I just think it’s
important to have conversations constantly and again if you don’t follow
me go ahead follow me no okay you know I hate the social media that he first
weight What’s it saying then I’ll see if I’ll follow you or not that’s where
research I will say this in terms of social justice athletes today are using
it as such a tool to push their agendas like Chris Long a defensive end for the
Philadelphia Eagles yeah he’s going over to Africa the past four or five years
with his group called the water boys to come up with clean water reservoirs in
areas where it’s hard to get clean water some of these players are pushing
whether it’s their product whether it’s you know body armor drinks or whatever
they’re using it but in terms of social agenda and what I do is I push the
players if someone’s doing something positive it’s out there because so many
people do think with the the eight or nine players who do get arrested so many
people think that this is the NFL player right when it’s not so whether it’s the
Cleveland Browns meeting with former inmates in a job reentry program using
their their their names their influence to help these people get jobs even if
they’re coming to work for the Browns I’m out there on social media pushing it
now because of who I work for the first three letters of my network are NFL I
can’t go in there and ding a politician or get emotional on there that’s that’s
just how it is you know that’s a sacrifice I’m not gonna lose my job over
Twitter blast but in terms of again how I see people using so much of social
media it’s such a tool they tell their own stories they tell things about me
having to interview them which hopefully one day won’t cost you my job but they
can they can tell from certain perspectives that aren’t getting told
because they’re not a lot of me in my industry out interviewing people they’re
very they’re a lesser of the Galen Gordon’s making the decisions as to what
goes on-air and what goes on the website and so when people can control certain
narratives that’s a really positive aspect of okay now we’re gonna button
this up one thing to take away from this and Tommy Smith I had the pleasure of
celebrating the 50th anniversary can I just say thank you I never got a chance
to actually you know is unfortunate we saw an altercation between Malcolm
Jenkins and and Eric Reid on the football field but you know what you did
man you paved the way for us you know so I appreciate what you did I also have to
apologize to dr. Tommy Smith because it’s a true story
I walk into the back room and I said man it’s such a pleasure to meet you and he
was like no we met before and so he’s 74 I’m 33 a football I play
football excuse I’ll play football man but please forgive me understand doctor
Tommy Smith he’s history but as you said let’s all go make our own thank you guys
so much we’re gonna wrap this up we got just a
couple of quick things to do and we’re gonna thank our guests dr. parks got a
few words for us so let’s see if we can bring Tommy if we bring you back up on
stage or Tommy is going to the piece okay I want to well first of all let me
just invite your attention for 30 more seconds I hope that you’ve had not
simply an occasion to be entertained this afternoon but one to be informed
one to be stimulated one to be excited one to be illuminated by what this panel
and our featured speaker Olympian Tommy Smith has brought to the table this
afternoon at California State University Dominguez Hills it is our charge it is
our challenge to educate the minds of these students today and we are
determined to be the place where these issues of politics or economics or
sports or whatever the issue is right become those topics right that get
talked about that get spoken about they get raised so that we can help to raise
the consciousness of everybody it is really about communication what our
panel has said today is so pronounced and profound what they said is think
about communicating with each other think about advocating across your
demographic boundaries for someone who doesn’t necessarily look like you but
you share that same sense of humanity on their behalf and think about dissipating
hopefully we’ve done that today some of the biases and assumptions you bring
with you into this space that is the great equalizer the education provides
it’s a way to take the stereotypes you have check them at the door interrogate
them advance them with facts and vance them with ideas express opinion but
ultimately it is about respecting the dignity and humanity
of each of our fellow man that is fundamentally what Tommy Smith left us
with today and I want to just applaud him and thank all of you for both being
here I want to thank our panel I want to thank Steve and Esther and Tamika and
Reggie Bush and all the folks who helped us to make this panel possible this is
what you should expect out of California State University Dominguez Hills this is
your University and we’ve been glad to host you

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