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.

chapter |7 pages


ByRory Magrath
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chapter Chapter 1|12 pages

Athlete activism and the Olympic Games

A dialectic of resistance and restriction
ByJules Boykoff
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chapter Chapter 2|12 pages

Educated activism

A focus group study of high school athletes' perceptions of athlete activism
ByCole G. Armstrong, Ted Butryn
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chapter Chapter 3|12 pages

“It's our duty to utilize the platform that we have”

Motivations for activism among U.S. collegiate athletes
ByYannick Kluch
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chapter Chapter 4|11 pages

Financial implications for athlete activists

The cost of taking a stance
BySamuel Schmidt
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chapter Chapter 5|10 pages

The changing face of Black athlete activism

ByLetisha Engracia Cardoso Brown, DeShon Foxx
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chapter Chapter 6|12 pages

Disability, sport and social activism

Para athlete activism
ByDamian Haslett, Brett Smith
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chapter Chapter 7|11 pages

Disabled athlete activism

Using an emancipatory theological approach to promote the use of disabled athletes in disability activism in the U.K.
ByStuart Braye, Tom Gibbons
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chapter Chapter 8|11 pages

Revising trans-exclusionary narratives in women's sports activism

Who are the “women” of women's athletics?
ByValerie Moyer
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chapter Chapter 9|10 pages

Doddie Weir and the activism of health, nationhood and storytelling

ByLeslie Crang
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chapter Chapter 10|11 pages

Elite athlete activism for gender equality in sport

Women's football in Spain
ByCelia Valiente
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chapter Chapter 11|12 pages

Athlete activism relative to clothing

A case study of Ibtihaj Muhammad and the sport hijab
ByLinda K. Fuller
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chapter Chapter 12|12 pages

Braids, beads, catsuits and tutus

Serena Williams' intersectional resistance through fashion
ByShaonta’ E. Allen
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chapter Chapter 13|11 pages

“I'm not going to the f***ing White House”

Fan discourse about Megan Rapinoe during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup
ByHayley F. Gallagher, Caroline Wright, Jeffrey W. Kassing
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chapter Chapter 14|12 pages

Across field and classroom

The activism of Adam Goodes and the role of Australian teachers in tackling racism
BySam Schulz, Faye Rosas Blanch, Sam Elliott
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chapter Chapter 15|14 pages

“Best way to silence the haters?”

Raheem Sterling's use of social media and selective press interviews in the fight against racism
ByJonathan Cable
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chapter Chapter 16|12 pages

Online activism and athlete advocacy in professional women's golfRisk or reward?

ByNiamh Kitching, Ali Bowes, Meghan MacLaren
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chapter Chapter 17|12 pages

Psychological benefits for the athlete activist

ByTravis R. Scheadler
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