Dear Culture

Making Bank On Black Bodies: Dr. Louis Moore

Episode 104

Read the full transcript here.

Dear Culture, who’s making greenbacks from the labor of Black bodies? This week on the Dear Culture Podcast our hosts, theGrio Social Media Director, Shana Pinnock, and theGrio Managing Editor of Politics and Washington Correspondent, Gerren Keith Gaynor, unpack the tense racial history and present of Black players and white owners, boycotting the NFL and what it means to be a Black spectator.

Historian, author and speaker, Dr. Louis Moore, joined us on the show this week to help us understand the relationship between professional sports and race. In 2006, NBA legend, Michael Jordanbought the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Hornets) and became the second Black majority owner of a major pro sports team. Moore, who is the author of We Will Win the Day: The Civil Rights Movement, the Black Athlete and the Quest for Equality, says that teams in the Negro Leagues had Black owners, but many of them were pushed out of the franchise when major pro sports teams began integrating. 

Colin Kaepernick stars in Netflix's Colin in Black and White.
Colin Kaepernick stars in Netflix’s Colin in Black and White. (Photo: Netflix)

“Once integration comes, they’re only bringing the talent, they’re not bringing anybody else,” said Moore. “They’re not bringing in the coaches, they’re not bringing in the umpires, and they’re certainly not bringing in the owners. So, some of these owners, what they’re trying to do is like, ‘Hey, bring our full team in so we can have a piece of this pot,’ but when integration happens, that doesn’t happen and part of it is they don’t want you to be part of that club.” 

Golden State Warriors champ, Stephen Curry, is the highest-paid player in the league this season bringing home an estimated $45.7 million paycheck and, according to Forbes, the richest owner in the league is worth $96.5 billion. Even before athletes turn pro, they are a major source of revenue for the institutions for whom they play. Until 2021, student-athletes in the NCAA were prohibited from making money from the products, apparel and merchandise made from their likeness. 

“There [are] various ways that these schools make money off these athletes. One is TV deals, so (for example) Michigan is part of the Big Ten. The Big Ten has its own TV deal. It’s called a bid to Big Ten network, and so they’re generating millions, if not billions from that,” said Moore. 

Tune into the Dear Culture Podcast to hear more of our incredible conversation with Dr. Louis Moore including why he says Black women are the sports pioneers we should be studying in our fight for equality.