The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) provides athletes with tools to stand up against racism and promote social change. With a remarkable ability to transcend societal differences, athletes can provide an essential influence to improve racial equality. We are committed to empowering athletes with opportunities to amplify their voice and make a difference as effective advocates.
RISE kicked off Super Bowl week Wednesday, Feb. 1, with the first educational programming with student-athletes at University of Houston and Texas Southern University. Beginning Thursday, Feb. 2, and running up to the Super Bowl, RISE opened its It Takes All Colors photo booth at NFL Experience, where thousands of fans came through to take pictures with the Super Bowl logo and hold up signs speaking out against discrimination. On Friday, Feb. 3, 13 NFL players joined RISE founder Stephen M. Ross and CEO Jocelyn Benson in a Town Hall, where RISE released a report on athlete activism in 2016 and a candid conversation took place over two hours on ways to improve race relations and create safer communities.
RISE was part of a Town Hall on Jan. 24 at San Jose State University to celebrate opening of SJSU's Institute for the Study of Sport, Society & Social Change. The first panel was moderated by RISE CEO Jocelyn Benson & event featured Dr. Harry Edwards, Tommie Smith, Takeo Spikes, Anquan Boldin, Jim Brown, Chris Webber & Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Benson presented the institute with Draymond Green’s Sideline Racism sneakers.
Draymond Green again showed his commitment to standing up against racism by wearing RISE’s Sideline Racism sneakers during a Golden State Warriors game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and another game that week. He debuted the sneakers in December and has continued to use them as a way to express his continued desire to see race relations improve in our country.
Kenny Stills, Jelani Jenkins, Michael Thomas and Arian Foster decided they needed to move into a solution mode. The four players invited community leaders, police officers and team personnel to a Miami Dolphins and RISE Town Hall to discuss the issues of inequality and to identify solutions to the problem.
RISE CEO Jocelyn Benson helped to facilitate a conversation Oct. 12 between New York Giants players and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker on improving race relations. The group discussed issues facing the nation and exchanged ideas on how they can work together to drive change.
RISE joined the Detroit Pistons for a community conversation on race relations that also featured the Detroit Lions, Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings. RISE CEO Jocelyn Benson moderated the conversation with panelists Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris from the Pistons, Detroit Assistant Police Chief Steve Dolunt and Barbara McQuade, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.
On Dec. 12, Miami Dolphins players Jelani Jenkins, Kenny Stills and Michael Thomas joined members of the Broward County Sheriff's Office to show support and take part in a ride-along. Both groups jointly engaged the community, passed out football trading cards and discussed community policing at BSO's roll call. The idea for this collaboration was borne from our Town Hall with the Dolphins in September.
Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors helped to extend RISE’s Sideline Racism cause. Green made a surprise announcement on social media prior to his Dec. 3 game against the Phoenix Suns announcing that he'd be wearing special RISE Sideline Racism sneakers when he took the floor that night to match and support his NFL counterparts, who'd be wearing identical cleats the following day.
Thirteen players from nine teams showcased “Sideline Racism” cleats supporting the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) as part of the NFL’s inaugural My Cause, My Cleats campaign. The campaign allowed players from across the league to wear cleats that highlighted a charitable cause important to them during Week 13 games. The cleats are gold to show that it's the gold standard to everyone with respect and dignity.
RISE joined Prince Amukamara and Kelvin Beachum from the Jaguars, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, as well as members of the Jacksonville police force and U.S. Navy in a conversation on how to improve race relations and create lasting change together in the Jacksonville community.