ESPN will present a special evening of programming exploring the multi-faceted issues of racism and social justice in sports Wednesday, June 24, starting at 7 p.m. ET. The previously announced Time for Change: We Won’t be Defeated from ESPN’s multiplatform content initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture, The Undefeated, will air at 8 p.m. on ESPN and at 11 p.m. on ESPN2 as the centerpiece of the five-and-one-half hours of programming.
“We want to augment Time for Change with an important and ambitious night of programming,” said Ilan Ben-Hanan, ESPN senior vice president, programming and acquisitions. “The night will be dedicated to impactful storytelling around the issues of racism, diversity, inclusion, and social justice on a global scale.”
The one-hour Time for Change will examine black athletes’ experiences with injustice and the unifying role that sports continues to play in bridging the divide between law enforcement and people of color in America. SportsCenter anchors Elle Duncan, Michael Eaves and Jay Harris will be joined by ESPN college sports reporter and NBA studio host Maria Taylor to host the show. Time for Change will feature a series of roundtable discussions with athletes and other leading voices in sports and culture.
The evening will begin at 7 p.m. with a re-air of the 30 for 30 documentary “The 16th Man.” Narrated by Morgan Freeman, the film showcases the South African “Springbok” National Rugby Team and its impact on South Africa’s transition from apartheid to beginning cooperation including interviews with players and political activists alongside archival footage. Of note, June 24 is the 25th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s famous “Sport has the power to change the world” speech at the Rugby World Cup Final in South Africa.
At 9 p.m., Giants of Africa tells the story of Masai Ujiri, currently the President of Basketball Operations for the Toronto Raptors and in 2010 became the first African-born general manager for a major North American sports team, the NBA’s Denver Nuggets. The 90-minute film highlights his journey to create lasting change and empower others to dream big by growing the game of basketball in Africa. This is the U.S. premiere of the program.
At 10:30 p.m., ESPN will air the U.S. premiere of The Australian Dream, a two-hour documentary film released in Australia last year. Featuring Australian Football League (AFL) player Adam Goodes, the film examines Australian Aboriginal identity and racism in Australia, with Goodes being called an “ape” by a 13-year-old spectator as the catalyst event to his advocacy work for indigenous people. The film is an inspiring and empowering story, through which a deep and powerful narrative is told about sport, race and belonging.