Whenever I'm texting with someone and I think of something to say that is completely off topic, I will usually send a message saying "side note: [insert totally irrelevant topic of conversation]...". That's what you're reading right now. Though it's loosely related to basketball and the Raptors, it touches on a topic that is outside of the Raptors.
Last night I was able to attend the Hoop Talks Live event that was hosted by Homestand Sports. Going into it I was expecting that I was going to hear from very notable journalists that work very closely with the Toronto Raptors and talk about how the season was going thus far. Well, that’s exactly what I got, and then some.
Doug Smith from the Toronto Sun and the familiar voices of the Raptors - Michael Grange, Eric Smith and Paul Jones - were all part of the panel. They were able to give us their insight on how they felt about topics like MLSE’s ability to pay their players, the MVP race, scheduling alternatives, thoughts on the most improved player and the talent available in Canada. It was a good change of pace from what you hear and read from these guys because they were able to speak candidly about topics we, as fans, ask ourselves.
But if I’m going to be completely honest, though these guys were the ones I was looking forward to the most, it was another panel that really struck a chord with me. William Lou from The Score, Anupa Mistry from The Fader and Alex Wong who is a freelance writer (contributing to publications like GQ, Slam Magazine and Complex Magazine just to name a few) spoke out about the diversity of representation in media.
They spoke about how the current content out there has an over-representation of a certain voice (white male to put it simply) but lack of representation of another (mainly minority, female and queer). They were describing how people of those voices have to work harder just to get to the same level and how this group is often over looked despite the merits under their name. They talked about how the ones that are often silenced are the ones that have a unique story to tell. Alex Wong described his frustration about how yes, it’s a conversation that is being held but action needs to be taken. He wanted to stop talking about it and just do something. I definitely had a “PREACCHHH ALEX!” moment.
When I decided to get The Post Up going I ran with the idea that I was going to write from a female standpoint who happens to be of minority (Filipino if you’re wondering). Hearing these guys talk about their struggles and how it doesn’t just go away once you’ve made a name for yourself, really put things into perspective for me. Simply put, things are not going to change with one panel discussion or with one article I write.
What I’m trying to get at is these kinds of conversations need to continue and on platforms like Homestand Sports. The room was filled with sports fans of all levels, all colours and all backgrounds. That’s the beautiful thing about sports, it can touch so many different aspects. If you like numbers and want to stick to pure facts, sports is full of those. If you want social change to happen then sports can be a tool for you to make that happen. The potential of sports is endless but issues that were brought up last night can really stunt its’ potential. A question was asked about what we, as consumers of this content, can do to expose those muted voices. The common answer seemed to be demand it from those who make the decisions. An email, direct message, re-tweet, sub-tweet, a like on a post, anything! Those actions can go a long way and who knows, maybe the one on the receiving end of that email or that tweet may listen to you and do something about it.