Sports & Social Justice

Traci Otey Blunt, senior vice president of corporate communications and Jon Schwartz, senior vice president of communications and public affairs at the National Football League (NFL) joined us for a discussion about how the NFL is reexamining where they fit in the larger fight against injustice. 

Social justice has been a massive priority for the NFL even before the tragic events of this summer. In 2017 when Colin Kapernick kneeled, the players wanted to take action and ensure they were making a difference. This is how the Inspire Change Initiative was born. This player-led initiative showcases how players, owners and the league work together to create positive change in communities across America. 

The initiative focuses on education, economic advancement, community and police relations and criminal justice reform. 

We are in a new era of active listening. After the murder of George Floyd, Jon noted that creating a forum of listening rather than pushing out a message had the largest impact. By providing people with a mechanism to express themselves, they were able to articulate their opinions and frustrations. NFL Votes is a product of active listening. Players expressed their desire to encourage people to vote so the league worked with them to create an initiative which gave the NFL family a platform to educate people about the electoral process, voter education, voter registration and voter activation. 

Jon and Traci encourage communications leaders to leverage their power and use their platforms to enact change within their organizations and on a broader scale.