Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dungy and other sports notables to speak at Tampa panel seeking solutions to racial tensions

TAMPA — Nearly three years ago, Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson was preparing for a Monday Night Football game when he heard about the racial unrest in Ferguson, Mo. After a grand jury voted to not indict a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man, the community's response was violence.

In his frustration, Watson wrote a Facebook post that went viral. He described his anger, fear, embarrassment and confusion because he said violence always seemed to outweigh communication. "At some point, my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all it entails,'' he wrote.

At the same time, Watson wrote that he was encouraged and hopeful because "ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it's a SIN problem. … SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn.''

The reaction to Watson's Facebook post ultimately inspired him to write a book — "Under Our Skin: Getting Real about Race. Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us.'' — that was a frank discussion of racial tensions and how Americans can move toward solutions.

Now it has prompted a one-of-a-kind event — "Under Our Skin: A Forum on Race & Faith'' — to be held Thursday night at the Crossing Church in Tampa. ESPN's Sage Steele, formerly a sports reporter for Tampa's ABC-TV affiliate, will be the moderator for a panel that includes Watson; former Bucs coach Tony Dungy, a Pro Football Hall of Famer who became the first black coach to win a Super Bowl championship; first-year University of South Florida coach Charlie Strong; former quarterback Danny Wuerffel, the 1996 Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Florida; and former Bucs running back Warrick Dunn, who won the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

General admission for the event, presented by Tyndale House Publishers, is $29.99 with VIP packages available for $199. The forum will be streamed live on the Internet. More information is available at underourskinforum.com.

Dungy said he hopes the event will resonate with the audience.

"Communication and understanding are always the key things and I also think it's important to look at it from a Christian perspective; what responsibilities do we have to make it better?'' said Dungy, a Tampa resident. "What can we do as citizens, as a nation? The process starts with two-way communication. Not just talking, but listening and hearing.

"As much as our country has been integrated, we still have a lot of people who haven't been exposed to other cultures. That's why it's important to communicate and not just complain.''

Watson said it's a thoughtful panel, one that should be filled with insight. More importantly, he wants to explore solutions.

"Our hope is when we leave this forum, we will have practical ideas about how to take the talk to action,'' Watson said. "What we have a lot of right now is a lot of bickering and a lot of ideas. My hope is when you come, you will leave with practical tools in your tool belt.

"You can take those back to your dining room tables, churches, communities, teams and workplaces. We can learn how to bridge the gap when it comes to repentance, when it comes to forgiveness, when it comes to moving forward, when it comes to standing up and being united with each other, when it comes to race.''

>>If you go

Under Our Skin: A Forum on Race & Faith

When: Thursday, 7-10 p.m.

Where: The Crossing Church, Tampa, 10130 Tuscany Ridge Drive.

Cost: $29.99 general admission, $199 VIP (limited to 50, includes dinner with the panelists, autographed copy of "Under Our Skin'' and seating in the first three rows). There could be some walk-up, day of event tickets, but people are encouraged to register and purchase advance tickets through www.underourskinforum.com.

Internet: Online broadcast on www.livestream.com. Church livestream is $149 and individual livestream is $9.99.

Moderator: Sage Steele, ESPN.

Panelists: broadcaster James Brown, Detroit pastor J. Kevin Butcher, former Bucs running back Warrick Dunn, Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dungy, author Mo Isom, Restoration Academy executive director Ben Sciacca, USF football coach Charlie Strong, Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson, former University of Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel. Music will be provided by Lizzy Cameron and Seth & Nirva.

More information: www.underourskinforum.com.

Dungy and other sports notables to speak at Tampa panel seeking solutions to racial tensions 02/10/17 [Last modified: Monday, February 13, 2017 8:49am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears

    World

    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'

    War

    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]