As a kid, Ron Thomas watched black Major League Base­ball pitcher Satchel Paige over­power white slug­gers with a 95 mph fast­ball nick­named “Little Tommy.”

Sports,” Thomas recalled believing, “was the one place where black people’s achieve­ments couldn’t be denied.”

But a Sports Illus­trated exposé on racial dis­crim­i­na­tion against black ath­letes, which was pub­lished when Thomas began studying at the Uni­ver­sity of Rochester, forced the young sports fan to recon­sider. “I real­ized there was racism in sports and how vir­u­lent that dis­crim­i­na­tion could be,” he explained.

Thomas — a former beat writer for both the Golden State War­riors and San Fran­cisco Giants and 49ers and now the director of More­house College’s Jour­nalism and Sports Pro­gram — is slated to receive the Life­time Achieve­ment Award for Excel­lence in Sports Jour­nalism from Sport in Society this summer.

As part of a panel dis­cus­sion on Tuesday evening in the Cabral Center, he explored the rela­tion­ship between sports, race and the media. Other pan­elists included Charles Foun­tain, an asso­ciate pro­fessor of jour­nalism at North­eastern; Jus­tine Siegal, director of sports part­ner­ships for Sport in Society; Boston Globe colum­nists Der­rick Jackson and Adrian Walker; and Boston City Coun­cilor Tito Jackson.

During the dis­cus­sion, Walker noted the dichotomy between the way sports pun­dits describe the top two quar­ter­back in this spring’s NFL Draft: black Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III and white Stan­ford standout Andrew Luck.

Griffin is described as a great ath­lete and Luck is the smart one,” Walker said. “We’re hearing those stereo­types already.”

Siegal, who became the country’s first female pro­fes­sional base­ball coach when she joined the Brockton Rox staff in 2009, dis­cussed media cov­erage of women in sports.

Media out­lets,” she said, “give me a chance to tell the story about how much women love sports.”

For his part, Foun­tain blamed sloppy cov­erage of New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin, the league’s first Asian-​​American player of Chi­nese or Tai­wanese descent, on the nature of the jour­nalism industry. Last week, ESPN fired an editor for a phrase he used to describe Lin’s poor performance.

Lin is the kind of story everyone in jour­nalism wants a piece of,” Foun­tain explained. “If you rush to get the story out, thought and reflec­tion are going to suffer.”

Tuesday’s panel dis­cus­sion — cospon­sored by Sport in Society, the Office of Insti­tu­tional Diver­sity and Equity and the John D. O’Bryant African-​​American Insti­tute — was part of the university’s cel­e­bra­tion of Black His­tory Month.

Throughout Feb­ruary, Black His­tory Month events have included film screen­ings, com­mu­nity engage­ment out­ings, musical pro­grams as well as con­ver­sa­tions about black his­tory and cul­ture. On Wednesday, seven African-​​American staff mem­bers who have served both the uni­ver­sity and the O’Bryant Insti­tute for at least 10 years received the Black Her­itage Award, which rec­og­nized their “indomitable spirit and struggle on our behalf.” Next Tuesday, North­eastern will con­tinue its cel­e­bra­tion of Black His­tory Month with an all-​​day event at the Cabral Center, which will fea­ture music, art, food and var­ious pre­sen­ta­tions and speakers.