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NFL to host workshop at Morehouse to educate athletes on social change

League teams with Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality on February event

As part of its effort to partner with players on social justice causes, the NFL will host a workshop at Morehouse College to educate athletes on developing and implementing programs to effect positive social change. The league, joining with the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), will conduct the workshop Feb. 21 through Feb. 23.

“Sport has been an international venue for social change since before Jesse Owens swept the 1936 Olympics and opened the world’s eyes to the image of justice and equality,” said Troy Vincent, the league’s executive vice president of football operations. “This historic workshop is aimed at training the next generation of athletes who wish to use sport as a powerful platform for advocacy. Our partnership is designed to equip athletes as influencers and community leaders with the mechanics to develop their advocacy platform.”

The workshop is the result of ongoing work by RISE at Morehouse since 2016. Professional athletes, academics, politicians, social activists and sport administrators developed a curriculum to equip athletes with tools and resources to impact social issues respectfully and responsibly. During the workshop, athletes will be taught organizational development, relationship management and best practices in dealing with the media.

“Athletes have a unique ability to bring people together for solution-driven conversations that can bring about real change,” said Jocelyn Benson, RISE’s chief executive officer. “At RISE, we believe that harnessing the unifying power of sports and empowering athletes to be effective advocates can improve race relations and drive social progress in our country. We are proud to work with the NFL and Morehouse College to help enhance athletes’ ability to create positive change.”

David Wall Rice, associate professor of psychology at Morehouse, designed the workshop’s curriculum. Rice will have a key role in selecting students to participate in the workshop.

“Linking with the NFL and their players in pushing forward social justice agendas that mirror present and past activist foundations of Morehouse College is important work,” said Harold Martin Jr., Morehouse’s interim president. “We take our relationship here and the trust that many of the players have already communicated to Dr. Rice seriously, and we know that the work we do in February and beyond has the capacity to impact lives.”

Jason Reid is the senior NFL writer at The Undefeated. He enjoys watching sports, especially any games involving his son and daughter.