• Race and the NFL with Ken Belson

    Air Dates: July 6-12, 2020

    Sports play a giant role in American public life—and their absence has been a much-discussed part of the pandemic.  Ken Belson covers the National Football League for The New York Times

    Belson writes about teams, stadiums, medical issues, lawsuits and more in his coverage of the National Football League (NFL) for The Times.  Mr. Belson joined the Sports section in 2009 after spending three years writing for the Metro and Business sections.  From 2001 to 2004, he wrote about business in Japan while working in The New York Times’ Tokyo bureau.  Prior to joining The Times, Belson wrote for Bloomberg, Reuters and Business Week, all in Tokyo, and many other publications as a freelancer.  He is the co-author of “Hello Kitty: The Remarkable Story of Sanrio and the Billion Dollar Feline Phenomenon.”  He attended Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism on a Japan-America Friendship Commission Fellowship and won the Pulitzer Traveling Scholarship, which he used to travel to the Cook Islands to write about the effects of bankruptcy on a country.

    On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Belson discusses race in the NFL, saying Roger Goodell’s statement in response to George Floyd’s murder was intended to set the tone for team owners to do the same.  He said many in the league, including head coaches, are “baring their souls in ways that were not [previously] the typical NFL, tough exterior, manly message that you often get,” saying recent events have prompted extensive “soul searching by some of the most powerful people in the league.”

    “Story in the Public Square” broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs 8:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 4:30 a.m. & 11:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

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