James Brown & Alvin Patrick ’86
Discussed the potential of sports in unifying the American public and the ongoing evolution of both the NFL and youth football.
Brown – the current host of The NFL Today on CBS, Thursday Night Football on CBS and NFL Network, and Inside the NFL on Showtime – spoke extensively about the importance of ethics and preparation, talking in depth about his years as a Harvard student athlete. He also discussed the potential of sports in unifying the American public and the ongoing evolution of both the NFL and youth football.
According to Brown, "sports have historically been used to forward the cause of the people."
A common topic throughout the evening's discussion was the trusting relationship between Brown and Patrick, his longtime producer. They discussed many stories they worked on together for various CBS News programs, including stories those that covered race, religion, and American history.
Strudler believes that all in attendance left with lessons about sports, work, and life. "JB and Alvin are role models in every sense of the word," said Strudler. "They answered questions with thought and grace, and it was truly an honor to share the stage with them for the evening."
Brown and Patrick also discussed the importance of people being able to find common ground, something that sport helps to privilege.
Brown noted this in particular in a story that Patrick and he did for CBS about previously racially segregated churches in Georgia. Brown noted that these two separate communities were able to come together by "them sitting down and communicating with each other."
Patrick stressed the importance of athletes serving as role models for young Americans. As he noted, "If they're willing to sell Gatorade to young kids, they should also be the kind of person kids can look up to."
Brown added, "I believe you have the responsibility to carry yourself with respect."
After the discussion with Strudler, both Brown and Patrick took questions from the audience. Those ranged from the state of college athletics to the greatest underdog stories in sports. Brown concluded the evening by shaking countless hands and posing for photos with students and fans.
This event was the latest in the Marist College Center for Sports Communication Speaker Series, which since 2011 has brought some of the biggest and most interesting personalities in sports media to campus to speak with the Marist and local communities. Past speakers have included Bryant Gumbel, Mike Breen, Linda Cohn, Jeremy Schaap, and countless others.