A federal judge in Alabama has taken the unusual step of ordering everyone in a school desegregation case to read a book written by an NFL tight end.
The judge was slated to hold a hearing this week to decide if the city of Gardendale should have to pay $1.3 million to lawyers for black students who challenged its failed legal effort to start its own school system.
But before that July 17 hearing, U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala late last month ordered all the lawyers, the county and city school boards, and other witnesses to read Under Our Skin by Benjamin Watson, and be ready to discuss it at the hearing.
Watson, a 14-year NFL veteran now with the Baltimore Ravens, wrote the book following the Ferguson, Mo., riots in 2014 after a grand jury declined to indict a police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed man. In his book, Watson explores racial discrimination in his life.
A version of this article appeared in the July 18, 2018 edition of Education Week as Federal Judge Orders Parties to Lawsuit To Read NFL Player’s Book on Racial Bias