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Want to know more about activism in sports? Start with these films and TV shows
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Want to know more about activism in sports? Start with these films and TV shows

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An empty court and bench is shown with no signage following the scheduled start time in Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on Aug. 26, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, FL. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/TNS)

When Milwaukee Bucks players decided to sit out Game 5 of their NBA playoff series against the Orlando Magic, it sent a shockwave through the sports world. The WNBA, MLS, MLB and WTA have all seen similar strike actions to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin (about 40 miles from Milwaukee), prompting professional sports leagues like the NBA to take concrete steps to respond to athletes’ political demands.

Some have celebrated the sports stars’ actions, while others have denigrated them. But it’s nothing new for athletes to use their platform to speak out on important issues, even in recent history: NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick first decided to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality four years ago; in 2018, basketball icon LeBron James’ criticisms of President Donald Trump led conservative commentator Laura Ingraham to tell him to “Shut up and dribble.” Indeed, for decades athletes have risked their careers and more to take a stand. And there are plenty of movies, TV shows and books to prove it.

The following list is anything but exhaustive, but here are more than 20 examples — some well-known, some less so — to get you started. Call it Sports Activism 101.

Television editor Matt Brennan contributed to this report.

©2020 Los Angeles Times

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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