Athletes and Their Fight for Equal Rights

In this lesson, students analyze the role of athletes in fights for equal rights by examining the historic actions of Jason Collins, Tommie Smith, and John Carlos.

On April 29, 2013, NBA player Jason Collins stated in an interview with Sports Illustrated, “I’m black. And I’m gay.” This statement makes him the first active professional athlete from the four major sports to come out of the closet.


Some media may contain mature content. Discretion is advised when viewing with students.

Lesson Plan

To effectively implement this lesson, students should have basic knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

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Lesson tags: Eleventh, History, Ninth, Social Studies, Sports, Tenth


MrJeffDess MrJeffDess is a writer, professor, public speaker and emcee of Haitian descent and currently serves as the Assistant Director of Campus Life at New Jersey City University. Born and raised in Jamaica Queens, MrJeffDess stayed in New York City and hit the poetic and leadership scene full force in 2001 at St. John’s University. Along with receiving a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature his career at St. John’s would mark the beginning of a journey towards a variety of literary genres and leadership types.