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    Morehouse College, NFL, and RISE to Host Second Annual Sports Advocacy Workshop

    March 27, 2019

    Current and former NFL players, athletes from other professional sports, 
    and select students to participate in three-day workshop that starts today at Morehouse

    Atlanta— Morehouse College, the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), and the NFL will host the second annual Leadership & Sports Advocacy Workshop today through Friday, March 29, to offer teaching, training and support to professional athletes who are invested in social issue campaigns that positively impact society.

    Thirty current and former pro athletes, including football, basketball, and tennis players, wrestlers, and track and field champions have registered for the workshop, and will work with Morehouse students and faculty, and RISE representatives across sessions. The three-day workshop will give participants a comprehensive understanding of successful grassroots campaigns and advocacy strategies. Morehouse College graduate and two-time Olympic gold medalist Edwin Moses will help to kick-off the workshop by sharing insights about his decades of sports advocacy.

     “It is watershed to host this workshop series here at the College for a second year, now under the banner of our Sport and Social Impact Initiative," said Dr. David Wall Rice, Associate Provost and Director of the Institute for Social Justice Inquiry and Praxis in Morehouse College’s Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership. “The fact that we have been able to apply solution-oriented scholarship to an advocacy curriculum developed in the tradition of Muhammad Ali, Colin Kaepernick, Billie Jean King, Edwin Moses, the Williams sisters, Harry Edwards, and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, among others, is particularly rewarding. It is this type of scholarship, service, and instruction that is in the DNA of Morehouse College.”

    Workshop participants will explore previous advocacy movements, the process of launching social issue campaigns, and how to use impactful tools and resources for crafting messages that rally support for their causes. National organizers and social movement leaders, thinkers, and doers will be among the session leaders.

    “Athletes have historically been positioned in their respective communities as leaders to advance social change,” said NFL Senior Vice President Arthur McAfee. “The Leadership & Sports Advocacy Workshop offers athletes an opportunity to understand the history, theory, and strategy to effective advocacy leadership. Our academic partners Morehouse College and RISE bring credibility and reach to a broader audience to assist athletes develop and expand their respective voices as community leaders.”

    The NFL, RISE, and Morehouse College partnership is the product of meetings first convened by RISE in 2016 at Morehouse. The meetings invited former and active professional athletes, academicians, politicians, sports administrators and others to the table to develop a strategy that would help to equip athletes with the tools and resources necessary to impact social issues respectfully and responsibly.

    “Athletes have the ability to transcend societal differences and unite people of different backgrounds to create real progress, drive social justice and improve race relations in our country,” said Diahann Billings-Burford, RISE CEO. “That’s what we’re about at RISE—equipping athletes with the skills and tools to fight discrimination, amplifying their voices, and empowering them to make a difference as effective advocates. Knowing the efforts over the past three years that went into building these workshops, it’s exciting to see the commitment of our fellow organizers and most importantly the athletes for embracing their role as leaders in our society.”

    The first Leadership and Sports Advocacy Workshop, which attracted nearly 40 participants in February 2018, was a direct result of the sustained partnership between Morehouse, the NFL, and RISE. Some of the inaugural attendees will return for the second session of the training this week.

    “Investment from the College, the NFL, and RISE demonstrates a sustained commitment to good works with participants and change agents during a time that our society presents as in desperate need of them,” says Rice. “I am pleased with the work we are doing together and with the community we are building. " 

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    About Morehouse College
    Morehouse College is the nation’s largest liberal arts institution for men. Founded in 1867, the College enrolls approximately 2,200 students and is the nation’s top producer of black men who go on to receive doctorates. Morehouse is also the top producer of Rhodes Scholars among HBCUs with five Morehouse Men receiving the honor. Historically, Morehouse has conferred more bachelor’s degrees on black men than any other institution in the world. Prominent alumni include: Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General; Shelton “Spike” Lee, award-winning American filmmaker; Maynard H. Jackson, the first African American mayor of Atlanta; and Jeh Johnson, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. Morehouse currently has more than 17,000 alumni in 40 states and 14 countries. For more information visit

    About RISE
    RISE (Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality) is a national nonprofit that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations. Through partnerships and programs, RISE inspires leaders in sports to create positive change on matters of race and equality. For more, visit

    About NFL Player Engagement
    NFL Player Engagement assists players in reaching their highest potential on and off-the-field with guidance, support, and resources provided before, during, and after their NFL experiences. NFL Player Engagement works with three core audiences: Prep, Life, and Next. NFL Life (current players) and NFL Next (former players) reach more than 2,000 NFL players and spouses each year through a variety of programs and services focused on career development, financial and continuing education, as well as personal, psychological, and physical wellness. NFL Prep provides high-school and college student-athletes of all sports with tools to help them succeed in life, focused on awareness, prevention, and education. More information can be found at

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