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Sports in Society

Players Alliance Tour Furthers MLBers' Social Justice Fight

Sabathia helped distribute baseball equipment, fresh produce and food and PPE outside Yankee StadiumMLB

The Players Alliance tour, in partnership with a Black-founded charity called Pull Up Neighbor, "will provide communities in need with baseball equipment, with fresh produce and food that has a longer shelf life, and with personal protective equipment," according to Barry Svrluga of the WASHINGTON POST. The Players Alliance, a nonprofit organization of more than 150 current and former Black MLBers, aims to "change the way baseball looks, the way it thinks, the way it hires, the way it's developed." The tour began Tuesday outside Yankee Stadium, where former MLBer CC Sabathia "helped distribute the goods." The tour has "some three dozen stops between this week and the end of January." The entire endeavor "has roots in the summer, when protests over police brutality and systemic racism swept the country." Three veteran Black players -- free agent 2B Dee Strange-Gordon, Tigers LF Cameron Maybin and free agent P Edwin Jackson -- "began talking." The question they asked was one MLB "hadn't really dealt with perhaps since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier 73 years earlier: What role should the sport play in furthering the conversation about race in America?" The idea is to "have as many major leaguers participate in the three dozen stops -- spreading from Florida to the Midwest to California -- as is feasible in the midst of a pandemic" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/4).

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While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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