Skip to main content

Taking the Knee: Robert Lipsyte on Protest and Prejudice in the NFL

From Kaepernick to Flores, NFL players have called attention to the racism endemic in professional football.

Professional sports in the U.S. are seeing high-profile accusations of racism this month, after former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL for racial discrimination in hiring practices. While some fans insist that sports and politics should be kept separate, Flores joins a long line of athletes who have decried racism in the industry. Veteran sports journalist Robert Lipsyte, who began his career covering Muhammed Ali, joined Roundtable to discuss race and politics in professional sports.

In this segment, Lipsyte discusses what he considers the NFL's continuing neglect of endemic racism and discrimination throughout the league.

“What is the moral responsibility of a corporation that really pretends to be some sort of civic enterprise that claims to be a symbol of who we are as a people?” Lipsyte asked. “The NFL does have a responsibility, and it keeps disappointing us in so many ways. It does nothing.”

Among those disappointments is the league’s banning of Colin Kaepernick after his kneeling protest against police violence.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended for You

“I've always been impressed that he was willing to make that choice and stand by it,” Lipsyte said. “That takes guts that the NFL doesn't have. They don't make choices that aren't easy and safe.”

Roundtable Guests:

Robert Lipsyte, sports journalist and former ESPN ombudsman

Watch the full discussion below: