History of social activism through sports

ABC News' Chris Connelly reports on the long history of athletes using sports to inspire social change.
2:50 | 09/24/17

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Transcript for History of social activism through sports
All morning, we have been talking about president trump tangling publicly with sports stars, especially NFL players who refuse to stand during the national anthem. We want to dig deeper into the history. Chris Connelly in Los Angeles with more. Reporter: Hi, how are you? We have seen a surge of late of activism by athletes. In the 1960s, especially if the area of race, a history of figures in sports taking the lead. Calling for direction action. People call it black power. Of course I'm black. Of course we're representing power. Reporter: The 1968 summer olympics. This would be one of the galvanizing images of its time. Tommy Smith and John Carlos on the podium. It was a cry for freedom. Notice me. I'm in need. Of what? Justice. This is a tradition across the country. We have always had ath Lees use their plat forms to speak out around issues of social justice. Reporter: Also in the 196 0ds, it was Muhammad Ali. The heavy weight champion of the world. Stripped of his title when he declared himself a conscientious objector. You won't stand up for me in America in my religious beliefs. You want me to go somewhere and fight. You won't stand up for me at home. Reporter: Billie Jean king would B work for equal rights. 20 years later, it was the 49ers Callen Kaepernick doing stop join bid other NFL Eers. And by soccer stand out, Megan rap know. And an unprecedented role for Lebron James. He's embraced social activism. In public statements. On social media. On the court itself. Lebron James has a sense of social consciousness. It's time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves what are we doing to create change snrnlgts as a result of that, he uses his platform the speak out around issues that's impacting the community he's a part of. Reporter: Today, all eyes on the NFL's players to see how they respond to yesterday's developments. And to league's teams. None of which has offered Colin Kaepernick a contract for the 2017 season. Dan and Paula? The historical context is incredibly important. None have offered a con stratract to conal Kaepernick. The the kickoff to the invictus games. Prince Harry sitting with the vips.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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