Athlete Activism : Contemporary Perspectives book cover
1st Edition

Athlete Activism
Contemporary Perspectives

Edited By

Rory Magrath

ISBN 9780367690700
Published November 25, 2021 by Routledge
222 Pages

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Book Description

This book examines the phenomenon of athlete activism across all levels of sport, from elite and international sport, to collegiate and semi-pro, and asks what this tells us about the relationship between sport and wider society.

With contributions from scholars around the world, the book presents a series of fascinating case studies, including the activism of world-famous athletes such as Serena Williams, Megan Rapinoe and Raheem Sterling. Covering a broad range of sports, from the National Football League (NFL) and Australian Rules, to fencing and the Olympic Games, the book sheds important light on some of the most important themes in the study of sport, including gender, power, racism, intersectionality and the rise of digital media. It also considers the financial impact on athletes when they take a stand and the psychological impact of activism and how that might relate to sports performance.

It has never been the case that ‘sport and politics don’t mix’, and now, more than ever, the opposite is true. This is essential reading for anybody with an interest in the politics or sociology of sport, the politics of protest, social movements or media studies.

Table of Contents


Rory Magrath


1          Athlete Activism and the Olympic Games: A Dialectic of Resistance and Restriction

            Jules Boykoff


2          Educated Activism: A Focus Group Study of High School Athletes’ Perceptions of Athlete Activism

            Cole G. Armstrong and Ted Butryn


3          “It’s Our Duty to Utilize the Platform that We Have”: Motivations for Activism Among US College Athletes

            Yannick Kluch


4          Financial Implications for Athlete Activists: The Cost of Taking a Stance

            Sam Schmidt


5          The Changing Face of Black Athlete Activism: Pariah Today, Hero Tomorrow?

            Letisha Engracia Cardoso Brown and DeShon Foxx


6          Disability, Sport and Social Activism: Para Athlete Activism

            Damian Haslett and Brett Smith


7          Disabled Athlete Activism: Using an Emancipatory Theological Approach to Promote the Use of Disabled Athletes in Disability Activism in the UK

            Stuart Braye and Tom Gibbons


8          Revising Trans-Exclusionary Narratives in Women’s Sports Activism: Who Are the “Women” of Women’s Athletics?

            Valerie Moyer


9          ‘Doddie’ Weir and the Activism of Health, Nationhood, and Storytelling

            Leslie Crang


10        Elite Athlete Activism for Gender Equality in Sport: Women’s Football in Spain

            Celia Valiente


11        Athlete Activism Relative to Clothing: A Case Study of Ibtihaj Muhammad and the Sport Hijab

            Linda K. Fuller


12        Braids, Beads, Catsuits, and Tutus: Serena Williams’ Intersectional Resistance through Fashion

            Shaonta’ Allen


13        “I’m Not Going to the Fucking White House”: Fan Discourse about Megan Rapinoe during the 2019 Women’s World Cup

            Hayley F. Gallagher, Caroline Wright and Jeffrey W. Kassing


14        Across Field and Classroom: The Activism of Adam Goodes and the Role of Australian Teachers in Tackling Racism

            Sam Schulz, Faye Blanch and Sam Elliott


15        “Best Way to Silence the Haters”? Raheem Sterling’s Use of Social Media and Selective Press Interviews in the Fight Against Racism

            Jonathan Cable


16        Online Activism and Athlete Advocacy in Professional Women’s Golf: Risk or Reward?

            Niamh Kitching, Ali Bowes and Meghan Maclaren


17        Psychological Benefits for the Athlete Activist

            Travis Scheadler

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Rory Magrath is Associate Professor of Sociology at Solent University, Southampton, U.K. His research focuses on equality, diversity and inclusion in sport, with a specific focus on declining homophobia and the subsequent impact on men’s gender.