More and more, athletes have been using their fame to help shine a spotlight on a host of political issues, as we saw when stars like LeBron James took part in the Black Lives Matter movement, and when former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem.

But sports journalist Howard Bryant argues politics have always been at the core of sports for black athletes. In his new book, Heritage: Black Athletes, A Divided America and the Politics of Patriotism, he writes that from the beginning, “sports was the barometer for where African Americans stood in the larger culture.”

Bryant, a senior writer for ESPN and a correspondent for NPR’s Weekend Edition, joined Jim Braude to discuss.