Don’t just shut up and play: theorizing athletic resistance
LE3 .A278 2018
Master of Arts
Social and Political Thought
This thesis examines and theorizes anti-racist resistance by male Black athletes in North American professional sports. Drawing on the work of Peter Meiksins, Hugo Radice, and Harry Edwards, professional Black athletes are identified as precariously employed, racialized, and exploited members of the working class. Antonio Gramsci’s concept of hegemony is employed to explain why acts of athletic resistance are relatively rare given the likelihood of a reactionary coercive response. Several historical expressions of resistance by professional male Black athletes are examined, as well as an analysis of various contemporary examples of athletic resistance and a case-study of Colin Kaepernick specifically. It is concluded that professional sports can and do serve as a site of resistance, particularly in regards to expressions of anti-racist resistance by male Black athletes, though the athletes’ decisions of when and how to resist –or not to resist at all -are shaped largely by the athletes’ status as precariously employed and racialized workers.
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