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Celebrate Dr. King By Teaching Youth Athletes About Character

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Twenty-five years after Martin Luther King Jr.'s life was first honored with a national holiday and nearly 50 years after the civil rights leader's "I Have a Dream" speech, black and white sports fans alike view the sports world as far more racially progressive and unifying than the rest of society, according to a recent online survey conducted for ESPN.Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Hart Research Associates survey of 1,822 sports fans (1,213 whites, 435 African-Americans) conducted December 15 to 21, 2011, found a strong racial divide still existed among sports fans "about the extent to which African-Americans enjoy equal opportunities in sports, as well as about the degrees of prejudice and discrimination that continue to pervade the sports landscape," said ESPN.

As the nation today honors the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one day after what would have been his 83rd birthday, let all of those of us involved in youth sports, charged with the responsibility to teach our children through sports the values of fair play, sportsmanship, and respect, remember also to teach the lesson of Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech: that they, too, should be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin.