The NFL, Morehouse College and the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) will host the Advocacy in Sport Workshop at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia on Feb. 21-23, 2018. Former NFL players, athletes from other sports and select students will participate in the three-day program at Morehouse College that educate athletes on how to develop and implement effective advocacy platforms that positively impact society. 

“Sport has been an international venue for social change since before Jesse Owens swept the 1936 Olympics and opened the world’s eyes to the image of justice and equality,” said Troy Vincent, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations. “This historic workshop is aimed at training the next generation of athletes who wish to use sport as a powerful platform for advocacy. Our partnership is designed to equip athletes as influencers and community leaders with the mechanics to develop their advocacy platform.”

The partnership is the product of ongoing strategic meetings convened by RISE at Morehouse College since Oct. 2016. Current and former athletes, academics, politicians, social activists and sport administrators developed a curriculum to equip athletes with tools and resources to impact social issues respectfully and responsibly. Athletes will learn organizational development, relationship management, and best media relations practices.

“Athletes have a unique ability to bring people together for solution-driven conversations that can bring about real change,” said RISE CEO Jocelyn Benson. “At RISE, we believe that harnessing the unifying power of sports and empowering athletes to be effective advocates can improve race relations and drive social progress in our country. We are proud to work with the NFL and Morehouse College to help enhance athletes’ ability to create positive change.”

Participants will learn about previous movements and focus on process. They will also learn about impactful tools and resources, and hear from athlete activists, politicians and social activists.

Dr. David Wall Rice, Associate Professor of Psychology at Morehouse College, has taken the lead in designing the Advocacy in Sport workshop curriculum through his Identity, Art and Democracy Laboratory. Students selected to participate in the workshop will also take his winter term course Psychology, Sport and Social Justice.

“Linking with the NFL and their players in pushing forward social justice agendas that mirror present and past activist foundations of Morehouse College is important work,” said Harold Martin Jr., Interim President of Morehouse College. “We take our relationship here and the trust that many of the players have already communicated to Dr. Rice seriously, and we know that the work we do in February and beyond has the capacity to impact lives.”

Morehouse College, ranked America’s fifth “Most Entrepreneurial College” by Forbes Magazine in 2015, is the nation’s largest liberal arts college for men. Founded in 1867, the College enrolls approximately 2,200 students and is the nation’s largest producer of black men who go on to receive doctorates. Morehouse also has conferred more bachelor’s degrees on black men than any other institution. Morehouse College is one of the two top producers of Rhodes Scholars among HBCUs. Prominent alumni include: Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General; Shelton “Spike” Lee, award-winning American filmmaker; Maynard H. Jackson, the first African American mayor of Atlanta; and Jeh Johnson, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. Morehouse currently has more than 16,000 alumni in 40 states and 14 countries.

The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), founded in 2015 by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress. Led by an unprecedented alliance of professional sports leagues, organizations, athletes, educators, media networks and sports professionals, RISE uses sports to promote understanding, respect and equality.