Recent controversies involving Donald Sterling, Ray Rice, the Redskins name and the rights of NCAA athletes underscore the leadership challenges facing team owners, management, players and even fans. In Sport Matters: Leadership, Power, and the Quest for Respect in Sports, Kenneth L. Shropshire -- The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics and Director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative as well as a member of Duane Morris' Sports Law practice in the Philadelphia office-- takes a closer look at some uncomfortable truths.
Racist Language in Sports: The Leadership Opportunity
Last month, on the heels of the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march to Selma, a video emerged of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members at The University of Oklahoma singing a racist chant. The university and national chapter of the fraternity acted swiftly by closing the chapter. Students and athletes at the university joined the protests. One of the more meaningful moments of protest was when the football team linked arms and stood in silence on the practice field, an appropriate response on such an important civil rights weekend. This football team displays the type of leadership we should see more often from sports organizations when they encounter a serious lack of respect. Within the sports industry itself, we have been reminded again and again of the racism that continues to exist within sports -- and of the power sport has to make positive change. A persistent problem has been the use of offensive language, from the Washington Redskins' name to the Miami Dolphins bullying incident.
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