By: Nicholas Boon

Sports are deeply engrained in our society.  In Canada, sport engages more people, families, and communities than any other institutional, religious, or cultural activities.  Sports are in our schools, in our recreation, in our entertainment, in our culture.  We are at once a nation of athletes and fans.

Every child – even if they do not participate in sport themselves – are subject to the powerful messages brought about by sport.  Professional and Olympic athletes are often held up as heroes and villains, with their life stories used to teach youth about personal conduct or broad social issues.

And with the rise of internet culture and social media, this infiltration of sport into the public discussion has only increased – and with shows no signs of slowing.

It is not hard to think of instances where sport stories have brought a social issue to light, increasing public awareness and in some cases instigating movements for change – social, political, or otherwise.  Some stories are positive and inspiring, highlighting the humanity in all of us.  Others are negative and disheartening, used as cautionary tales of our cultural flaws.

Think Mike Vick and dog fighting.  Or Michael Sam and sexual orientation.  Or OJ Simpson and domestic violence.  Or Jackie Robinson and racial equality.  The examples go on and on.

Introducing Dr. Richard Lapchick, often referred to as the “social conscience of sport”.  Dr. Lapchick is a human rights activist, a pioneer for racial equality, and an internationally recognized expert on sport and society.  He is a scholar and author, the Chair of the DeVos Sport Business Management Program at the University of Central Florida, and the creator of the National Consortium for Academics and Sports.

He is also the son of Joe Lapchick, a triple-inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and coach at the collegiate and professional levels.

In a thought-provoking speech at TEDx Denver University, Dr. Lapchick explains the important link between sport and social change.

DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that Dr. Lapchick uses sensitive language in parts of his talk in the retelling of personal stories. 


Source: Steve Nash Youth Basketball Blog
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