On Wednesday, September 16 at 19:30 GMT: 
When Colin Kaepernick took a knee on a US football field he was following in the footsteps of other campaigning athletes such as Jackie Robinson, who broke the colour-barrier in baseball.

Sport stars have always played a pivotal role in the struggle for civil rights in the United States. Most recently, several have given high-profile support to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement and campaigns for voting rights.

Rising tennis star Naomi Osaka this week won her second US Open title but it was her silent activism on the sidelines that dominated the headlines. Osaka showed up to court each day wearing a face mask bearing the name of a different Black American killed at the hands of white perpetrators, in what Osaka said was an effort to highlight racial injustice.

Last month, the police shooting of Jacob Blake, and subsequent protests that in some cases were met with violence, led to basketball stars refusing to play. The players said they could not focus on the sport in the wake of those events.

In this episode of The Stream, we discuss the role athletes have historically played in protest movements and ask whether this most recent push for change is different.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with: 
Dave Zirin, @EdgeofSports
Sports Editor, The Nation

Jantel Lavender, @jlav42 
Athlete, Indiana Fever

Maxwell Pearce, @maxwellpearce
Athlete, Harlem Globetrotters

Read more:
The seven masks of Naomi Osaka - Al Jazeera
The black game changers of US sport - Al Jazeera
Martin Luther King III: A new era of athlete activism can fulfill my father's dream - Variety

Source: Al Jazeera