In the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, and the protests that followed, citizens of the United States have started to have a long-overdue and challenging discussion of race and systemic racism in America. Black celebrities — guys such as Stephen Curry and Charles Barkley, plus other NBA stars — have stepped into the middle of that conversation and are using their voices.
That discussion, along with Barkley and Curry, comes to the NBC Sports family of networks Monday in “Race and Sports in America: Conversations.” The roundtable discussion show airs at 8 p.m. ET simultaneously on NBCSN, the Golf Channel, the Olympic Channel, and every member of the NBC Sports regional broadcast network.
The wide-ranging conversation (recorded in Lake Tahoe) included discussion both of the recent protests that swept the nation and the calls for police reform — Barkley said he wants to see that.
“The first thing we need, listen, we need police reform. We need to, listen, I got in trouble for defending cops. And I’m always going to defend cops. I don’t want them out there killing unarmed Black men, but we need cops…” Barkley said. “But we need good cops. We need to hold cops accountable. If they do something wrong — the way the system is set up now, if cops do something wrong, other cops judge them. That’s not fair in any aspect of life. If you are a cop and you saw what happened to Mr. Floyd and you think that was all right, you shouldn’t be a cop.”
Curry spun the discussion of police reform into the need for people to vote for change — particularly at the local and state level.
“Same concept around reforming police, getting the bad ones out, is in every form of leadership in government in terms of how important voting is. Not just at the national presidential level, but in our local, city, state elections…” Curry said.
“That’s where the real change happens. So when it comes to voter suppression which we’ve seen since George Floyd’s passing in Georgia, we’ve seen long lines; people have been standing there for 12, 13 hours trying to vote.
“And that’s where a local election, as we look forward from a year from now and beyond, every single cycle, how do we continue to let our voices be heard, not just what we’re saying and crying for and asking for help, but how can we actually use our given right to go vote, to go put people in positions of power that they’re going to look out for us in a very meaningful way that’s going to make a true difference.”
Beyond the two NBA stars, Kyle Rudolph, Anthony Lynn, Troy Mullins, James Blake, Jimmy Rollins, and Ozzie Smith take part in the discussion.
Tune in Monday night across the NBC Sports family of networks for a can’t miss discussion of race and sports in America.