Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Ford CEO Jim Hackett to talk sports, social policy at U-M

November 9, 2017
Contact: Nicole Casal Moore


DATE: 4-5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017

EVENT: Paul Tagliabue, former commissioner of the National Football League, and Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett will join U-M Athletics Director Warde Manuel for a timely discussion about the intersection of sports, society and public policy.

Hackett is the former interim U-M athletic director who hired football coach Jim Harbaugh.

Tagliabue, Hackett and Manuel will discuss how sports have and can serve as a unifying force in American society. Among the topics they’ll cover are racial discrimination, the ways in which Title IX has impacted gender equity in sports, and governance and leadership within professional and intercollegiate athletics.

Tagliabue, during his tenure as NFL commissioner from 1989 to 2006, was active in positioning the NFL as a force for social change. In 1993 when the voters of Arizona declined to establish a holiday to honor Martin Luther King Jr., Tagliabue pulled the Super Bowl from the state. And he championed the Saints’ return to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Though sports may seem quite separate from policy, the playing field and the political arena have a long history of overlap, from Jackie Robinson becoming the first black player in Major League Baseball to Billie Jean King defeating Bobby Riggs in “The Battle of the Sexes,” the organizers of the talk point out. Most recently, President Trump sparked a national debate when he criticized NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racism.

This event is part of the U-M Ford School of Public Policy’s Policy Talks series. Join the conversation on Twitter with #policytalks.

The talk is free and open to the public. Tagliabue will be available for questions from media following the talk.

MEDIA REGISTRATION: Media representatives must register by emailing Nicole Casal Moore at

PLACE: Rackham Auditorium, 915 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor. This event will also be live webstreamed. Details on the stream will be available online the day of the event.

SPONSOR: Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy