I'm in Chicago for Blogs With Balls 6 and taking plenty of notes. I'll be posting my notes from each panel here for the use of anyone who wants to check them out. Keep in mind that these are highlights, not complete transcripts. Every effort is given to be as accurate as possible; apologies for any transcription mistakes. Here are my notes from the "Justice, society, and the rise of online and athlete activists" panel that closed out the day. (Update: also see my take on this at Awful Announcing.)
Julie DiCaro @JulieDiCaro
Aaron Harison @FreeBeacon
Greg Howard @GregHoward88
Chris Kluwe @ChrisWarcraft
Cyd Zeigler @CydZeigler
Moderator: Kevin Blackistone, @ProfBlackistone
CK: "I'm a straight white male. My life is not hard."
CZ: "I don't watch much sports anymore."
"It's a tool for social justice for me. It's a tool to advance kids' lives."
JD: "We have baggage we all bring. Before I wrote about sports, I was an attorney, representing domestic violence victims. I was a public defender."
On sports blazing a trail for society: JD: "The Bruce Jenner interview was an example of that. Sports sometimes goes first."
AH: "We warn about the dangers of the politicized life, what you're buying what you're rooting for based on your politics."
"Sports should be sports."
Jackie Robinson: "HE wasn't out there doing the Michael Sam reality show."
"You let your actions speak for your words."
GH: "I would disagree. I think a lot of things bleed into each other."
"It's not just about that. It's about the people who are scrubs. Do they gety to play baseball too?"
"Athletes are people too. They can have political opinions too."
"It's a shitty way to live your life if you're judging your chicken sandwiches based on the owners' position."
CK: "The society we live in is shaped by those people."
"If you're saying other people should not politically oppose that, you're giving the power to the status quo."
CK: "We are human beings as well."
"We would like to use that voice the way everyone else gets to use that voice."
"We're gladiators. Go forth and bleed in the arena. And then shut your fucking mouth. That's bullshit."
AH: "You did create a circus around yourself and played a position that's replaceable."
CK: "You're saying that we don't have to care that Floyd Mayweather is a serial abuser of women because he can box really well."
CK: "First Take is huge, it makes a ton of money, it's dragging us straight towards Idiocracy."
CZ: "This is the problem that everyone who doesn't agree with the power structure needs to shut up and sit down and get fired."
"People don't always link up their fandom with social issues."
On Tony Dungy raising money for antigay causes: "My business partner at Outsports is a gay man who loves the Colts. He didn't change his team. Fandom is irrational."
JD: "Everyone sits down and watches the NFL."
NFL brings greater discussion of domestic violence, rape, etc
GH: "To pretend sports is a vacuum is disingenous."
KB asked why don't more athletes speak up?
CK: "I think it's to do with the overwhelming corporate desire of our society."
"If you speak up, and you're not a Tom Brady or a LeBron James, teams can find reasons to replace you."
On Jameis Winston: CK: "Are we comfortable with that person being a role model for all the young adults in our society?"
"A lot of people have said yes. It's just sports. Why do we care what he does? He can throw a football really far."
JD: Winston: "He has not been exonerated by the court system."
Need to challenge things like Lovie Smith's comments on Winston
AH: "He hasn't been convicted!"
"I'm saying there's really nothing wrong with [Winston going first overall and playing in the NFL without punishment] at this point in time."
JD: "Most rapists aren't convicted. Most domestic abusers are not convicted."
AH: "What's your alternative?"
JD: NFL system of having experienced attorney look into it outside of judicial process has promise
"This idea that there's some kind of right to play in the NFL, that's not true at all. Teams can choose who they want to be associated with."
KB: Are NFL players being scapegoated for domestic violence?
GH: "Anyone who gets trashed or thrown in a hole for hitting a woman in the face deserves it."
"It should probably be mirrored in the real world, especially for how easy it is for those with means to get away with it."
CZ: "We are a capitalist society. We are driven in part by money."
NFL/media: "The people will let them know if they should continue doing it or not."
Freedom of expression: "When that video of Ray Rice came out, people overwhelmingly expressed themselves."
"It became really financially imperative for the NFL to take big steps."
CK: "One of the broader things we need to look at is not what are the results of these actions, what is the structure that allowed this to happen?"
"What are the underlying structures that allowed this to exist?" Socioeconomic background, high school, how they interacted with police.
"People do not exist in a vacuum."u
"We need to understand that all of our citizens are important."
"if you only focus on curing the symptoms, you're never going to cure the underlying disease and things will never change."
"That's why athletes should speak out, because we have a platform."
KB: Are media doing a good job on these issues?
JD: "I think the blogs are doing a much better job than mainstream media on some issues. And that's because you don't have as many people to go through."
AH: "Sports media, I don't think does a thorough job in covering theses issues, and the reason is because you've got a lot of people who agree with each other."
"I'm not saying don't do it. I'm just saying there are consequences."
GH: Speak out if you want. "If you don't have anything to say, that's okay too."
"If you recognize the humanity in athletes, it's a lot easier for you to not look up at them as freedom fighters. They're mostly guys in their 20s like me who don't know shit about shit."
AH: "I think a lot of the media's very lazy." See one guy write about it, everyone else does
"It's a very superficial analysis. That's what you get on a lot of these issues."
CZ: Calls AH out for "lazy opinion" on Michael Sam
JD: Expansion of the media improves coverage, different perspectives represented
KB: How do we be more proactive?
GH: "Be less white, be less male, be less old."
"It's not like Ferguson's the first time a black dude got killed."
Video catches mainstream interest, forces action
"We all fucking knew what happened."
AH: To be proactive, news organizations need to invest. Video is reactive, cheap.
JD: Idea that convictions require video "It's doing a huge injustice in our society."
AH: "It can be very expensive to do an investigation the right way."
Blogs With Balls' Don Povia ended with: "This is why we do this, to have conversations like this."