Jemele Hill says athletes' activism is 'reshaping' their role in society

Journalist Jemele Hill discussed athletes' roles in society on Wednesday.

Sports journalist Jemele Hill says sports and politics are intersecting at an increasing rate, and that it's reshaping the roles athletes have in society today.

As part of ABC News' Black History Month speaker series, “Good Morning America” co-anchor Michael Strahan sat down with Hill. The former ESPN co-anchor who is now a writer for The Atlantic. Hill has been outspoken on social media about politics, racism, and moments such as former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem. Hill told Strahan she’s “encouraged by the fact that athletes are finding their voices.”

“Sports has a unique foothold in our society because it encourages people to do something together,” Hill said. She said that today’s athletes are “using the fact that sports are a unifying thing to inspire people to commit to communities, to commit to causes that maybe they never would’ve thought about being involved in.”

Hill points out that athletes have always given back, but with the notion that they had to choose between money and activism. Now they “can be the best player, at the top of [their] game, make all the money and still have a right to voice [their] opinion.”

For the first time in eight years, Hill didn’t go to the Super Bowl. She admitted the main reason for not going was because she wasn’t assigned to report on it, but that isn’t the case for high-profile celebrities like Cardi B, who protested the event in support of Kaepernick.

For all that groveling the NFL did to quiet Donald Trump, that didn’t stop him from taking a shot at the sport on Super Bowl Sunday, nor did it quiet @Kaepernick7’s message. My latest for @TheAtlantic

— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) February 4, 2019

“If you look at the totality of Super Bowl week, I’d say Colin Kaepernick won the week,” Hill said in her interview with Strahan. “If you’re somebody who supports him and certainly supports his message, you look at the fact that this is the lowest rated Super Bowl in ten years.”

As far as Super Bowl halftime performers Travis Scott and Big Boi, Hill believes any criticism toward them is justified. Hill said they’re “representing a community” and “a huge part of their fanbase are the same fanbase that stands with Colin Kaepernick.”

Hill shared a more direct comment to Big Boi: “Was it worth it for you to go on there and for less than maybe two minutes perform a song that’s eight years old?”

What is worth it to Hill is new production ventures like narrating LeBron James’ docu-series, “Shut Up and Dribble,” on Showtime and her podcast “Unbothered,” premiering March 26.

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