La Salle duo studying films dealing with racism in sports

Posted: July 17, 2014

THERE WAS A time, said Brother Gerry Molyneaux, FSC, that the Negro League all-star showcase drew as many fans last night's All-Star Game.

"They used to have 50,000 or so show up at [Chicago's] Comiskey Park," said Molyneaux, who teaches in La Salle University's communication department.

Baseball - and sports in general - is one of Molyneaux's favorite pastimes.

This summer he has teamed up with 21-year-old communication major Tom MacLeod on a project studying films dealing with racism in sports.

Because MacLeod plays tennis for the Explorers, he doesn't have the time to devote to a traditional semester-long internship. So Molyneaux came up with the idea of a long-term project.

Originally, the pair wanted to focus on four sports, but decided to narrow the field to baseball and football.

"We want to look at the social issues as they come up in film," Molyneaux said. "And we focused on racism."

Among the films they are studying are "The Jackie Robinson Story" and "Remember the Titans."

MacLeod said the project has been eye-opening.

"Nelson Mandela once said, 'Sport has the power to change the world,' " MacLeod said. "That quote has stuck stuck with me. Sports has a way of bringing people together. I've found that because of sports, racial issues began to dissolve a bit.

"Marion Motley was one of the first black players in the NFL. He played for the Browns and he said that opponents stopped calling him names because they were too busy trying to catch him. And his teammates put racism aside because they were too busy focusing on winning."

Molyneaux and MacLeod hope to reveal their findings on campus in the fall and, perhaps, make a presentation at a professional conference in the spring.

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