x
Breaking News
More () »

Cleveland's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Cleveland, Oh | WKYC.com

Kevin Clayton: Meet the man behind the Cleveland Cavaliers' community engagement

Clayton is passionate about his Cleveland Cavaliers. In his role, he makes sure the Cavs organization is maintaining its commitment to important social issues.

CLEVELAND — The NBA season may be over for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the organization is doing its part to fight for racial equality.

The Cavs' Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement Kevin Clatyon has taken the lead in helping combat the issues of inequality facing not just the team, but the Northeast Ohio community as a whole.

"When it comes to fairness and equality and humanity, we are right there at the forefront," said Clayton.

Clayton is passionate about his Cleveland Cavaliers. In his role, he makes sure the Cavs organization is maintaining its commitment to important social issues, like equality and inclusion.

"These are our values that we have stood for since the beginning of time, since the Cavs began in 1970 in the NBA," he said. "We then developed a series of things we want to do."

Clayton credits his boss, Cavs' owner Dan Gilbert, with creating a culture committed to making sure the team remains in the forefront of the social justice movement. Clayton added it begin with looking inside the organization and making sure everyone was receiving the proper training.

Under Clayton's watch, the Cavs were one of the first NBA teams to recognize Juneteenth as a company holiday. 

Clayton also made sure the players have been active in the community. And the Cavs partnered with the NAACP Cleveland Chapter for a "Time To Talk" series, which has focused n the issues facing the Black community in Northeast Ohio.

RELATED: WATCH AGAIN | A Turning Point: The impact of sports on the social justice movement

That "Time To Talk" series was so successful, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams have gotten involved. The two have worked with Cavs players to discuss the social justice movement from both the community and law enforcement standpoints.

"We just made a pivot, to focus more on the African-American community to make sure we were focusing on helping the community from economic empowerment," Clayton said. "And it wasn't a reaction, we just pivoted."

Clayton, a Shakers Height native, worked all over the county for 30 years before coming home to Cleveland. He says it was his upbringing in Northeast Ohio that prepared him for the challenges he faces today.

"My behavior and kind of what I stand for is consistent with the organization. So for me, this I what I think as a citizen, somebody growing up in Cleveland, was responsible to do in my job, as the VP of Diversity and Inclusion. It's just a natural extension of what this community taught me so I can give back," said Clayton.

 When asked what it's like to be home, Clayton tells 3News' Russ Mitchell, it is good to be back and working for the team that he grew up cheering for. 

Clayton says the Cavs are 100-percent committed to making their voices loud on these social issues.