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Professor Charles Grantham on Sports, Protest, COVID-19 and MJ’s ‘Last Dance’ In USA Today, The Boston Globe, ESPN, WFAN and More  

Charles GranthamProfessor Charles Grantham, former executive director of the National Basketball Players Association and director of the Center for Sport Management in the Stillman School of Business, was featured in USA Today (four times), ESPN, The Boston Globe, WFAN, Canada's SportsNet and Rise. In addition to these media appearances, Grantham appeared in the ESPN documentary "The Last Dance," pictured with the late David Stern and Michael Jordan. 

In The Boston Globe, Grantham was interviewed regarding "The Last Dance" and his perspective on the era:

As the National Basketball Players Association's first executive director and a major player in helping enhance the league's image in the late 1980s, Charles Grantham has an interesting perspective as he closely watches the 10-part documentary, "The Last Dance," detailing the final Chicago Bulls season with Michael Jordan.

Grantham was privy to Jordan's rise to prominence, his superstardom, and sudden retirement after helping the Bulls win three straight titles.

Now as director of the Center for Sports Management at Seton Hall University, Grantham said he uses the documentary as a teaching point for his students on how sports teams operate and the behind-the-scenes chaos for even the most successful franchises.

"I think it's quite a documentation of that time," he said. "And actually I used it in my class to give the students some semblance and understanding of how professional sports franchises actually work, and the division of labor, the general manager, the president, the coach, the owner, promotion, marketing, the importance of utilizing the strength of your team."

Boston Globe, "Union executive saw both sides of the NBA's resurgence"

In his most recent USA Today appearance, Grantham was asked "How can commissioner Roger Goodell prove that black lives matter in the NFL?" Grantham responded with a question of his own at the outset of the interview: "Where was the commissioner and his institution called ‘The Shield' and the NFL for two years, during which time they utilized the pressure of the president's office to essentially divide the players?" Although he did think Godell's statement admitting that the NFL was "wrong for not listening" could be useful as the means "to open a new dialogue," he maintained that "the question again comes back to the institution – and how do we change our behavior?"

USA Today, "How can commissioner Roger Goodell prove that black lives matter in the NFL?"

In another USA Today video interview, Grantham was asked "How can NBA players have an impact on social justice legislation?" Grantham said, "I think at some point here all the leagues, particularly basketball because of the relationship they have with their players, are going to have to start to consider outside partnerships with someone like the NAACP or something along those lines to demonstrate to the players that they're looking at ways to get legislation. Changing of attitudes is one thing, but legislation changes behavior. And the players are excellent agents of change to ensure that some of these things happen." Grantham further noted that he thought the "timing was right" to transform the platform of players "into action."

USA Today, "How can NBA players have an impact on social justice legislation?"

On ESPN Radio, New York, Grantham spoke at length with Larry Hardesty about the business of sports as well as the country's response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. Grantham said, "I attended the March on Washington in 1963 with Dr. Martin Luther King, and the composition of that march was probably 85 or 80 percent black. And I think what is so encouraging about seeing the marches today is that they're well integrated and represent a force now of people who would like to see not just attitudes change, but action taken."

ESPN, NY with Larry Hardesty (ESPN Audio)  

In other interviews, Grantham commented on a wide range of issues concerning the business of sports, sports leagues and players in the midst of COVID-19.

In USA Today, Grantham commented on Major League Baseball and suggested a compromise between players and owners. He noted that MLB owners were in effect attempting to initiate a hard salary cap such as the one they have in football, a concession they have been unable to attain through normal labor negotiations over a span of 50 years. He also noted that despite what he called an "undue pressure" on players to resume play for the symbolic value a return would have, there has not been an offer of increased compensation to players commensurate with the increased risk of COVID-19— in fact, he noted, the owners had offered diminished compensation. Grantham suggested that if the owners had approached the resumption of play from a partnership perspective, they would have— and could— offer some mix of cash and deferred compensation.

USA Today, "Former players union head suggests this compromise to start baseball season"

In another video interview with USA Today's "Sports Pulse," Grantham provided more detail, noting that the conflation of safety concerns in a return to play with the attempted imposition of a salary cap was an effort of owners "to get more control of salaries – that's always the issue."

"MLB has Safety Protocol in Place but Salary Issues Loom"

He also appeared on WFAN, with "Moose and Maggie," to discuss labor negotiation in sports in the midst of the coronavirus, on Canada's Sportsnet, and "Champions of Change," The Rise Podcast

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