Get in the Game: A Conversation on Sports and Social Change
Sep 18, 2018
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On Sept. 18, 2018, the LBJ Presidential Library and UT Austin's Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation and Center for Sports Communication & Media hosted Ibtihaj Muhammad, Nate Boyer, and Daron K. Roberts for a conversation on sports and social change. Mark K. Updegrove, president and CEO of the LBJ Foundation, moderated the conversation.
The event was part of the library's programming to promote our special exhibition, Get in the Game: The Fight for Equality in American Sports, currently on view through Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. The exhibition celebrates the legacy of athlete activism by highlighting iconic men and women – from Jackie Robinson and Billie Jean King to Colin Kaepernick and Ibtihaj Muhammad – who have broken barriers and spoken out for equality, on and off the playing field.
Prior to the event, The Store at LBJ also hosted Ibtihaj Muhammad for a book signing of PROUD: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream.
About Our Panelists
Ibtihaj Muhammad is a fencer, the first Muslim American woman in hijab to compete for the United States in the Olympic Games and the first female Muslim American to medal at the Olympic Games, winning bronze in the women's sabre team event. Named one of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World, she serves as a sports ambassador for the U.S. State Department, co-founded Athletes for Impact and the clothing company Louella, and inspired the first hijabi Barbie in her likeness.
Nate Boyer is a former active-duty Green Beret, philanthropist and community leader, and a former member of the Seattle Seahawks.
In his twenties, Boyer volunteered to do relief work in Darfur and later served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning a Bronze Star. After his military service, Boyer became a walk-on long snapper for The University of Texas at Austin football team. He briefly played with the Seattle Seahawks and has continued his humanitarian work across the globe. Among his most notable efforts are with the Waterboys organization and Merging Vets and Players.
Boyer played an unexpected role in one of today's most well-known sports protest controversies. During the 2016 NFL preseason games, Colin Kaepernick, then a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, sat on the bench during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Kaepernick explained his action as a protest against racial injustice. In response to the protest, Boyer published an open letter to Kaepernick. (That letter can be found in our Get in the Game exhibition.) Kaepernick reached out to Boyer, and the two met to discuss their perspectives on the protest. As a result of their discussion, Kaepernick decided to kneel during the National Anthem in an effort to show more respect to current and former military members, while still spotlighting the social issues that led to his protest.
Daron K. Roberts is the founding director of The University of Texas at Austin's Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation, the first university-based institute dedicated to developing leadership and character curricula for high school and college athletes.
He is a former NFL and college football coach and has been featured in ESPN the Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Sports Illustrated.
His book, Call an Audible: Let My Pivot from Harvard Law to NFL Coach Inspire Your Transition, is a best-seller, and his writing has appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Fortune, Houston Chronicle, Texas CEO Magazine, and Time. He currently is a contributor for Forbes.com.
In 2015, the Presidential Leadership Foundation – a joint venture between Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush – tabbed Roberts as a Presidential Leadership Scholar. He was one of 60 members in the inaugural class.
Roberts holds a bachelor’s in Plan II Honors and Government from the University of Texas (2001), where he served as student body president. He then worked as an aide to Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut before continuing his education at Harvard where he earned a Master of Public Policy degree from the Kennedy School of Government (2004) and a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School (2007).
Thank You to Our Sponsors
The Evening With speaker series is generously sponsored by St. David's HealthCare, the Ford Foundation, the Moody Foundation, and Tito's Handmade Vodka. This program is also co-sponsored by The University of Texas at Austin's Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation and the Center for Sports Communication & Media.
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