On Monday, June 29, PCA hosted a Virtual Roundtable titled "Sports Can Battle Racism: How Coaches, Parents, and Administrators Can Play a Positive Role." The conversation was moderated by PCA's Marti Reed and Trennis Jones and included representatives from PCA's partners RISE, We Coach, and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation.
"We sometimes see sport as this really great space that brings everyone together and so in it of itself solves problems … sport in and of itself is not this great thing, we can absolutely make it great… but we have to be intentional in doing that."
- Dr. Andrew Mac Intosh, RISE
Following introductions, the panelists began by sharing what they see as the biggest challenges regarding race in sports. The three main challenges discussed were access to sorts, the myth of athleticism, and coach education.
Next, the discussion shifted to addressing the misconceptions coaches have about how to address the above challenges. A key takeaway here was to think about understanding each player’s unique talents and unique struggles. Instead of using a blanket approach, coaches should try to consider how to serve the team by nurturing the players as individuals. While it can sometimes feel like the leadership structure in sport isn’t set up for coaches to listen, listening may be the best way to lead. These conversations are based in listening and having faith in the players to be able to share their experiences and thoughts. There is an inherent disconnect between coaches and athletes (especially a white coach and black athlete) unless the coach takes the time to sit with the discomfort and understand the different situations affecting his/her athletes. In these conversations, it is also important to remember that young people’s reactions are often not directed at the coach but created by a set of circumstances. With this understanding, coaches and athletes can work together instead of facing off.
Yesterday, during our #SportsCanBattleRacism webinar, we were "Zoom bombed" by an individual using the N* word. One of our Staff Members, Trennis Jones, closed out the session with these words. Full video: https://t.co/eISMaYvM6I pic.twitter.com/6ZpJaiZht0— Positive Coaching Alliance (@PositiveCoachUS) June 30, 2020
"People will continue to try to harm or get in the way of the progress, but I think that that’s a sign that we are going in the right direction."
- Trennis Jones, PCA
The panelists also discussed how parents can have a positive impact. The three main takeaways were education beyond the classroom, creating diverse situations, and being willing to show vulnerability in these discussions.