Last night [Thursday, August 25], ESPN’s new website, The Undefeated, hosted a conversation on the intersection between race, sports and violence at the YMCA in the Southside of Chicago. The conversation consisted of several panels, which consisted of current and retired athletes, journalists, professors, community activists and current and retired police officers.

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Rajon Rondo, Jabari Parker, Dwyane Wade, Isiah Thomas, Marcellus Wiley, Doug Glanville, Kristi Castlin, and Cappie Pondexter were the athletes in attendance, and each of them sat on the panels that were hosted throughout the night.


The panelists tried to address the problems Black youth are facing in Chicago, and around the country, and what role sports and athletes can play in helping solve these issues. They shared personal stories about losing loved ones to gun violence, as well as their efforts to help prevent gun violence and alleviate racial tensions in their communities.

Jemele Hill,host of the ESPN show His and Hers and the host for the event, also asked the panelists exactly what athletes can do to be a part of the solution. Both Rajon Rondo and Jabari Parker spoke about returning and giving back to their hometown communities or the communities in the city they play in, and how there are people trying to make a difference they can partner with to bring about change. Michael Wilbon, host of the ESPN show Pardon the Interruption, also spoke about forgetting about keeping score over who is or isn’t speaking out, and supporting the athletes that are willing to speak out and be active.

Throughout the night, Jemele and the rest of the panelists stressed that the wanted to keep the conversation going, and that these efforts would not stop once the cameras were turned off. The Undefeated is hosting other events and conversations, and you can check them out on their website here.