- Programming note: "Race in America: A Candid Conversation" airs Friday at 8 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California
You might know her from the cast of “The Bachelor,” or maybe “The Bachelorette,” in which she was the first African American lead and met the man who now is her husband.
What you probably don’t know about Rachel Lindsay is that she has a law degree, has worked multiple sports roles in TV and radio and knows a thing or three about America and the world beyond it.
Lindsay’s background and experience were enough to qualify her to be invited as a panelist on “Race in America: A Candid Conversation,” which can be seen Friday night at 8 PT on NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California and NBC Sports Northwest.
So, please, do not tell her to stick to reality TV -- or sports.
“It’s funny, because if that was the case, then the current president wouldn’t be sitting in the Oval Office right now, right?” Lindsay said, referring to President Donald Trump. “He’s a reality TV star. It’s so silly to define someone solely by the fact that they play a sport. They have this talent. Or they went on reality TV. Before I was on reality TV, I was an attorney. So, does that mean my entire history was erased prior to going on reality to TV?
“I think it’s catchy to say, but it’s so stupid.”
Lindsay, 35, attended the University of Texas, where she received a bachelor’s degree in sports management and also met and became friends with former Warriors superstar Kevin Durant. They were not dating, as some rumors have suggested, but they formed a friendship.
No doubt they talked about sports, perhaps because Lindsay is so comfortable with the subject. She has interned with the Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA, been a sideline reporter for college basketball games and hosted shows on ESPN and NFL Network.
A graduate of Marquette University Law School, Lindsay is proud of the way the NBA and WNBA have responded to numerous incidents in which unarmed Black men and women have been killed by the actions of law enforcement.
“The NBA has probably been the most progressive league out of all of them, and I've always appreciated the way that (commissioner) Adam Silver has navigated that,” she said. “He seems to really understand his players and what it is that's important to them. So, I do love it. I love to see it. I love it in the WNBA as well. The women are extremely active in what they're doing in fighting for social justice -- extremely active.
“I think it goes beyond being performative, for sure, but there's so much more that can be done. What are you doing behind that?”
That was the question yesterday and today and it will be no different tomorrow. All North American major sports leagues have in recent months acknowledged that racism is among the many ills of society. Actual responses to this latest awakening range from tepid (NHL) to encouraging (NBA/WNBA).
Which has had little effect on the movement. It continues, most notably in major cities, even as we grapple with a poor national counter to a global pandemic, though it is diminished with the United States election cycle advancing into the overheated phase.
Lindsay is proud to say she’s a part of the movement. She’s also proud of her personal evolution, which allowed her to welcome an interracial marriage to chiropractor Bryan Abasolo, whom she met on “The Bachelorette.”
“Being born Black, you're very aware of your place in this world from the beginning,” Lindsay said. “You walk into a room, and you notice you're the only Black person. And it happens quite often. Outside of church in my neighborhood, the majority of rooms that I walked into I was the only Black person.
“I've always been a person where ‘we're all equal’ but fighting for justice mainly because I was fighting maybe for my own. But as far as interracial dating, that is not something that I was big on, or even for. I felt like nobody could understand me the way that a Black man could.”
Lindsay's marriage is, you might say, a picture of diversity not unlike the people protesting in our streets in pursuit of equality. When she joined a group in Miami, she was “shocked” to realize she was a racial minority among protesters chanting “Black lives matter.”
They do, so count Lindsay among the millions of all races and ages committed to reminding us of that.