Distributed February 4, 2000
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Tracie Sweeney

Sport: Is It Only a Game?

Halberstam will open annual Brown/Journal Public Affairs Conference

The 20th annual Brown University/Providence Journal Public Affairs Conference, “Sport: Is It Only a Game?”, opens Sunday, Feb. 27, 2000, with a 4 p.m. keynote address by David Halberstam. The conference, which runs through Friday, March 3, features Lombardi biographer David Maraniss and sports commentators Frank Deford, Chris Berman and Dick Schaap.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Some of the nation’s premier sports journalists, commentators and athletes will be featured speakers during “Sport: Is It Only a Game?,” the 20th annual Brown University/Providence Journal Public Affairs Conference, which runs from Sunday, Feb. 27, through Friday, March 3, 2000. All sessions will be held in the Salomon Center for Teaching, on The College Green. They are free and open to the public. Doors open an hour before each event begins.

Editors: Several guest speakers are available for telephone interviews before the conference opens. Contact the News Service for details.

David Halberstam will present the conference’s keynote address at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27. Halberstam regularly uses sports as a prism through which he views culture, history, race, and society. He has earned rave reviews for his newest book, Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World That He Made.

Halberstam’s lecture is the Michael P. Metcalf-Howard R. Swearer Memorial Lecture, an annual address honoring the memory of public affairs conference founders Michael P. Metcalf, former chairman and publisher of the Providence Journal, and Howard R. Swearer, Brown’s 15th president.

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Maraniss will take a look at the true cost of athletic success in a session titled “The Cost of Winning: Competition and Character” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28. Maraniss, who writes for the Washington Post, is the author of the highly praised biography When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi.

In an age of cynicism and professionalism, can an athlete still serve as a role model, or is the athlete just one more celebrity figure? Join renowned sports journalist Frank Deford for his take on “The Athlete as Hero in American Culture” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 29.

A panel discussion led by Thomas Crawford, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s director of coaching, and attorney Michael Josephson, founding director of the Character Counts outreach program, will consider “Pursuing Victory with Honor” on Wednesday, March 1, at 6:30 p.m. Panelists include Sarah DeCosta, U.S. Women’s National hockey team and a 1998 Olympic gold medalist; Jennifer Azzi, a three-time member of the U.S. Women’s Olympic basketball team and member of the WNBA’s Detroit Shock; and Tony DiCicco, coach of the U.S. Women’s National soccer team that won the Women’s World Cup last year.

ESPN commentator Chris Berman, a 1977 graduate of Brown, will lead a conversation about “Unpaid Professionals: College Sports and Commercialism” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 2. Berman will be joined by Rosa Gatti, senior vice president and director of communications of ESPN, and Andrew Zimbalist, the Robert A. Woods Professor of Economics at Smith College and author of Unpaid Professionals.

The conference wraps up at 4 p.m. Friday, March 3, with “After the Cheers Have Faded: Retired and Restless.” Sports commentator Dick Schapp will moderate a panel that will include retired pro athletes Curt Bennett (a 1970 graduate of Brown and former hockey player with the St. Louis Blues and the Atlanta Flames), K.C. Jones (former guard and coach of the Boston Celtics), Pam Shriver (the tennis player who won 22 Grand Slam doubles titles and won a gold medal in the 1988 Olympics), and Willie Davis (former linebacker for the Green Bay Packers). Together, they’ll talk about life after the game.