Sports And Social Justice Expert Speaks At K-College Monday

Nov 3, 2019

File photo of defensive back Malik Rucker catching a pass during the Western Michigan University NFL Pro Day football drills, Wednesday, March 21, 2018,
Credit Carlos Osario / The Associated Press

An expert on sports and social justice says it’s likely that college athletes will eventually be able to make money off their name and likeness. Richard Lapchick is president of the Institute for Sports and Social Justice at the University of Central Florida. He will speak Monday night at Kalamazoo College. 


The NCAAA’s board of governors voted last week to allow athletes to benefit from the use of their name and image. Board members say they want to have rules in place by January of 2021. Lapchick says the NCAA is reacting to legislation in California and other states.

“The colleges themselves have made money off using the likeness of their athletes, and I think fairness here is that those athletes should get it as well.”

Lapchick says while he thinks it’s fair for athletes to make money off their name or image, he’s not in favor of schools paying athletes directly:

“If they get a real education and a genuine degree from the university, that’s a fair trade for the use of their talents on the field.”

Lapchick will discuss sports, justice and activism Monday night at 7:30 in Stetson Chapel at K-College.

At an early age, Lapchick learned about issues of race and sports. His father Joe Lapchick coached the New York Knicks in the NBA. He signed one the NBA’s first African-American players Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton in 1950. Richard Lapchick says he remember seeing his father hang in effigy from a tree. He also heard the N-word for the first time on the phone at his house.   

"In the hospital that night I knew I was going to spend the rest of my life using the sports platform to address social justice issues."

Richard Lapchick was attacked himself over his efforts to lead sports boycotts against South Africa during the apartheid era. Late one night at his office at Virginia Wesleyan College Lapchick was assaulted by two men who carved the N-word into his stomach with a pair of scissors. Lapchick says “In the hospital that night I knew I was going to spend the rest of my life using the sports platform to address social justice issues.”