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CBS Sports Devotes Day of Programming To The Experience Of Black Athletes With “Portraits In Black”

James Brown hosts five hours of programming focused on tales of Black athletes’ courage in the face of injustice.

CBS Sports continues the conversation on racism in sports and society with James Brown hosting five hours of programming focused on tales of Black athletes’ courage in the face of injustice called “PORTRAITS IN BLACK.”

“PORTRAITS IN BLACK,” is a day of programming on Sunday, Sept. 6 (1:00-6:00 PM, ET) devoted to stories, past and present, that CBS Sports has aired dealing with the history and struggles of African-Americans in sports. 

CBS honors the Black athlete’s historical experiences and perseverance and accomplishments while continuing to address current events, including the shooting of Jacob Bake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

The day will also further the dialogue of what is happening currently with two CBS SPORTS CONNECTED shows. Brown also will address the response from players across the major sports leagues to the Jacob Blake shooting specifically.

PORTRAITS IN BLACK offers a retrospective and current view of the civil rights struggle as it has played out in the world of sports. This day of programming provides a backdrop and context for today’s racial strife and the continuing efforts for equality from the perspective of the athlete.

This day also is our effort to further the conversation in a deep and meaningful way by amplifying and illuminating historical inequities with some familiar stories, as well as highlighting lesser known sports figures and their equally important experiences. If we truly listen and hear each other, we hope this day goes a long and significant way towards understanding and healing.

The day’s lineup includes: 

1:00-2:00 PM, ET FORWARD PROGRESS: THE INTEGRATION OF SEC FOOTBALL
2:00-3:00 PM, ET THE BLACK 14: WYOMING FOOTBALL 1969
3:00-4:00 PM, ET ALTHEA & ARTHUR
4:00-5:00 PM, ET CBS SPORTS CONNECTED: WHAT IT MEANS TO BE ME
5:00-6:00 PM, ET CBS SPORTS CONNECTED: THE AMERICAN DREAM

FORWARD PROGRESS: THE INTEGRATION OF SEC FOOTBALL

FORWARD PROGRESS looks at the coordinated effort to integrate SEC football, which started at the highest levels of state government before reaching Kentucky’s athletic department. With the tense racial climate of the time serving as a backdrop, this film documents the experience of Nate Northington and Greg Page – two outstanding players who were recruited to play for Kentucky – and a tragedy that changed the course of history.

The documentary features an in-depth interview with Northington, as well as conversations with former Kentucky basketball coach Joe B. Hall, Northington’s Black teammates Wilbur Hackett and Houston Hogg, and the late-NBA Hall of Famer Wes Unseld. (Producer: Blake Berson)

THE BLACK 14: WYOMING FOOTBALL 1969

Set in the late 1960s at the pinnacle of the Civil Rights Movement, THE BLACK 14 chronicles the experience of Wyoming’s 14 Black players who attempted a peaceful protest against BYU and the Mormon Church’s ban on Black priests. The Wyoming football team, ranked 16th nationally and undefeated through four games of the 1969 season, was coached by Lloyd Eaton. Eaton dismissed the 14 players immediately upon hearing of their plan to wear black armbands marked with the number 14 during the BYU game. Nationwide student protests erupted across the country, and the incident ignited a decades-long decline of Wyoming athletics.

Interviews include members of the “Black 14”: Tony McGee, Guillermo Hysaw, Mel Hamilton, Jay Berry and more, as well as UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus Dr. Harry Edwards, University of Kentucky Professor Dr. Gerald Smith, former Wyoming Senior Athletic Director Kevin McKinney and former BYU football player Dick Legas. (Producer: Blake Berson)

ALTHEA & ARTHUR

While Arthur Ashe has been celebrated widely for his tennis accomplishments and activism, the story of Althea Gibson – who broke the color barrier in both tennis and women’s golf – has remained largely untold. In a short eight-year professional tennis career, Gibson appeared in the finals of 19 majors, and won 11 titles. Ashe won three majors, and remains the only Black men’s player to win titles at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and Australian Open. ALTHEA & ARTHUR examines the difference in the legacies of these two barrier-breakers, and explores society’s views on gender and athlete activism. 

Interviews include: Venus Williams, Billie Jean King, Johnnie Ashe (Arthur’s brother), Angela Buxton (Gibson’s doubles partner), James Blake, Donald Dell, Katrina Adams, Frances Tiafoe, Zina Garrison, Mal Washington, Leslie Allen and Renee Powell. (Producer: Mike Stypulkoski)

CBS SPORTS CONNECTED: WHAT IT MEANS TO BE ME

Following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, this special edition of CBS SPORTS CONNECTED furthers the discussion about systemic racism, what it means to be Black in America and the progress that still needs to be made with a series of incredibly honest and raw conversations. By examining topics such as education, mental health, parenting and more through personal stories, this episode reveals the complexity of what it means to be Black in America. 

Guests include Grant Hill, Lisa Leslie, Nate Burleson, Brandon Marshall, Swin Cash, Ian Eagle, Tracy Wolfson, Amanda Balionis and Amy Trask. (Producers: Harold Bryant, Mark Grant, Ellis Williams, Jelani Rooks, Shoshana Salmon) 

 

CBS SPORTS CONNECTED: THE AMERICAN DREAM

James Brown, Michelle Miller and Charles Davis look at the Black Lives Matter movement through the eyes of coaches and athletes. These powerful discussions include the critical role of diversity in hiring, allyship, and under-representation of Black athletes in some sports.

Guests include Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, who has made a point of hiring diverse assistants, along with his offensive coordinator, Byron Leftwich; NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, who discusses the lack of Black drivers in his sport; NBA players George Hill and Kyle Korver, who discuss the importance of allyship; Stanford football Head Coach David Shaw about keeping the conversation going and a special interview with Tamika Palmer, who discusses where things stand, months after the tragic killing of her daughter, Breonna Taylor. (Producer: Jawn Morales)

Harold Bryant is the executive producer and Senior Vice President, Production, CBS Sports. Emilie Deutsch is Vice President, Original Programming & Features. 

The programming block is guaranteed to be must see TV, particularly in these times, because the shows will educate and give perspective to a younger or uniformed generation as to why the social justice movement of today is long overdue and so important to the survival of our country.

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