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An Undefeated Conversation

ESPN’s latest town hall is about sports, athletes and social responsibility

‘An Undefeated Conversation: Athletes, Responsibility, and Violence’ will take place Thursday in Chicago

Philando Castile. Alton Sterling. The Dallas and Baton Rouge police officers: A summer of horrific gun violence that continues daily from Orlando to Milwaukee is prompting athletes and activists across the country to ask themselves what can be done. This week, The Undefeated looks at some of the issues involved and holds a town hall discussion in Chicago, the site of some of the nation’s worst gun violence.

UPDATED – On Thursday, The Undefeated will host a special town hall meeting that will focus on athletes, guns, violence and law enforcement. An Undefeated Conversation: Athletes, Responsibility, and Violence will be held at the South Side YMCA of Metro Chicago and hosted by Jemele Hill of ESPN’s His & Hers.

The 90-minute program will air at 9:30 p.m. EST and cover an array of topics, including athletes’ personal experience with racial profiling, whether sports leagues and teams have an obligation to support athletes’ activism, and athletes and gun ownership. One panel will examine how athletes can use their platforms to make a difference. The discussions can be followed on social media by using the hashtag #UndefeatedConvo.

Among the panelists scheduled to participate are Chicago Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo, NBA Hall of Famer and Chicago native Isiah Thomas, SportsNation co-host Marcellus Wiley, Chicago White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams, University of Illinois at Chicago historian Elizabeth Todd-Breland, ESPN commentator Michael Wilbon and Chicago-based Baptist pastor Jolinda Wade, mother of NBA star Dwyane Wade, former MLB player Doug Glanville, Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker and Stephanie Brown, a Chicago mother whose son was killed while playing basketball.

At 9 p.m. EST, a 30-minute radio show hosted by The Undefeated’s Clinton Yates and ESPN 1000’s Jonathan Hood will air ahead of the town hall meeting. A one-hour, post-town hall meeting radio show with Yates and Hood will air nationally at 11 p.m. EST.

The nation’s problems with gun violence are particularly acute in Chicago, which has had 2,703 shootings so far this year, including 449 homicides.

Many athletes are beginning to speak out against the gun violence and ways to combat it. The Undefeated’s editor-in-chief Kevin Merida said he hopes the town hall will help continue a dialogue that will create changes within communities.

“Sports are great bridge-builders in our country, bringing together people who think differently and live differently,” Merida said. “Athletes, in greater numbers, have been saying they want to use their influence to drive social change. We hope this town hall will help push that conversation forward.”

For more coverage of this issue, visit http://www.andscape.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @TheUndefeated.


Maya Jones is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a native New Orleanian who enjoys long walks down Frenchmen Street and romantic dates to Saints games.