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CBS Sports examines racism with 'Portraits in Black'

CBS Sports will devote five hours of programming Sunday to examining racism in sports. The block of programming titled “Portraits in Black” will examine seminal events from the past as well as current events, including the response by athletes following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

James Brown, who will be the host, hopes the five-hour block will allow everyone to take a big-picture approach to what is currently happening. “We need to understand our past and what we have learned,” he said. “This is one step in the process where we are supporting the country to be engaged. The next step has to be forward progress.”

The programming begins at 1 p.m. EDT with documentaries about the integration of SEC football, protests by Wyoming football players in 1969 and the legacies of Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson. It continues at 4 p.m. with a pair of “CBS Sports Connected” programs on what it means to be a Black athlete in America as well as examining the Black Lives Matter movement through the eyes of coaches and athletes.

The programming is part of CBS Sports' “8:46” campaign, which was created after the death of George Floyd in late May as part of the network's initiative to combat racial injustice. Brown said his key takeaway after talking to athletes and executives was that there is a sense society is at a crossroads and that there needs to be a commitment to change.

“The spotlight is brighter and how frequent these occurrences do happen. We have a platform but we need to use it wisely,” he said.