Today (Tuesday, Oct. 6), the Baltimore Ravens premiere a new podcast series, Black in the NFL, hosted by staff writer Clifton Brown and produced by Blue Wire. In this 10-episode season, Brown explores what it means to be Black in the NFL today.
"Race impacts the NFL in unique and challenging ways, whether it's noticed or unnoticed, spoken or unspoken," stated Brown. "The time has come for us to speak about it."
In Episode 1, "Shut Up and Play," Brown tackles a phrase that Black athletes have heard for decades. NFL fans cheer on their favorite players and wear their jerseys, but some people don't want to hear players talk about their lives and beliefs outside of football, particularly when it comes to race. Athletes, and even members of the sports media, are told to "stick to sports."
Featured guests on the upcoming podcast are former NFL long snapper and United States Army Green Beret Nate Boyer, sociologist and civil rights activist Dr. Harry Edwards and Ravens QB Robert Griffin III.
Other episodes will take on national topics, such as policing and voter suppression, and NFL-specific topics such as kneeling, the experience of Black quarterbacks and challenges of coaches and front-office executives to climb the ladder.
"It's a unique place to be and has given me new perspective on the sport and its intersection with who I am," Brown added. "Seventy percent of NFL players are Black. The Ravens have a Black MVP quarterback. They hired the first Black general manager, and they have one of the NFL's biggest Black fan bases."
Black in the NFL is the third podcast in the Ravens Podcast Network and joins the long-running The Lounge and What Happened to that Guy?. Listeners can download all three wherever they get their podcasts, including iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, SoundCloud, PlayerFM and Google Play Music. New episodes of Black in the NFL will drop every other week.
"The Baltimore Ravens have led by example when it comes to confronting racial and social injustice," Blue Wire CEO Kevin Jones said. "The organization is committed to doing the right thing and using its platforms in innovative ways beyond football. Cliff specifically provides incredible personal insight and history to the podcast, and it's been a privilege to have Blue Wire support his voice."
Clifton Brown has covered professional sports and some of its biggest stars for more 30 years at The New York Times, The Sporting News, Comcast Sportsnet and the Baltimore Ravens, where he started in 2018.
Harry Edwards is an American sociologist and civil rights activist. He completed his Ph.D. at Cornell University and is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Edwards' career has focused on the experiences of African-American athletes.
Nate Boyer is a former NFL long snapper and United States Army Green Beret. After serving six years and multiple tours for the Army in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Boyer played college football as a walk-on at the University of Texas. He was signed by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2015.
Robert Griffin III is a quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens. He played college football at Baylor, where he won the 2011 Heisman Trophy. He was drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft (second overall) by the Washington Football Team. Griffin signed with the Ravens in 2018.
Blue Wire is audio-centric sports media brand with a focus on fandom. As content preferences evolve, Blue Wire is defining both the way audiences consume sports media and how leagues, teams and athletes interact with content. To date, Blue Wire has built a robust hyper-local network of 120 sports podcasts, producing, distributing and selling 8,000 episodes a year. Its emerging Studios business lends high-quality production to professional athletes and franchises, including Greg Olsen, Megan Rapinoe, Lisa Leslie and the Baltimore Ravens.