Is success in athletics valued over success in academics for young African-American men?
That was the question examined in Atlanta this week at a panel discussion sponsored by the W.E.B. Du Bois Society. The event was well covered by Maureen Downey of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in her “Getting Schooled” blog.
Downey’s blog makes clear that too many young black men value their athletics experiences over academics despite the long odds that they will ever play a minute of professional sports. That part is depressing, but it was encouraging is to read about high-profile African-American athletes who are addressing the problem. Wednesday’s panel included Bryan Scott of the Buffalo Bills, former CNN sports analyst Larry Smith, NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo, Atlanta-area high school athlete Akil Dan-Fodio, former Atlanta Brave and Atlanta Falcon Brian Jordan, former Detroit Lion Ryan McNeil and Atlanta Falcon fullback Ovie Mughelli.
Kudos to Downey for covering this discussion. Other education writers should follow her lead and examine the mix of economic, educational and sociological issues that too often complicate the relationship between athletics and education.