How ‘black-ish’ Tackles the Divisive Topic of Football in ‘FriDre Night Lights’

Richard Cartwright/ABC

Get ready for another very special episode of black-ish — and this time, you might need a helmet.

Tuesday, April 30, the ABC sitcom, which has a knack for exploring complicated, divisive issues with a light touch, tackles an American institution: football. When Jack (Miles Brown) lands a spot on the middle school team, he and dad Dre (Anthony Anderson) are stoked.

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The potential series would focus on the doctor in her teen years.

“Jack’s been searching for who he is, so he’s looking at this as ‘I found my thing!'” executive producer Jonathan Groff says. “And Dre is thrilled — he loved playing football as a kid and got a lot of validation from it. He wants this for his son.”

Alas, mom Bow (Tracee Ellis Ross) doesn’t share their enthusiasm and, fearful of the injury risks, tries to shut down Jack’s gridiron dreams. Says Groff: “As a doctor, she knows too much about the potential drawbacks.”

(Credit: ABC/Richard Cartwright)

Naturally, Dre goes on the offensive — “he does his own research and pushes back with a bunch of evidence,” Groff says — leading to a debate that’s likely to strike a chord with folks at home.

“We really cover the issue without coming down hard on one side,” he says. “Our best episodes make people think, ‘Oh my God, are you in our living room?'”

black-ish, Tuesdays, 9/8c, ABC