Sociology of race in sport

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Sociology Imagination

The minorities in the United States have often felt oppression directed at them stemming from the historical injustices of the past (Rorke et al, 2017). In fact, as recently noted, one of them could not “show pride in a flag for country that oppresses black people and people of color” (Colin Kaepernick, 2016).

From this inference, debates have arisen over what really constitutes patriotism as well as relations between the state and its people exposed badly. Much have this has emanated from spates of police brutality directed specifically at the people of color and blacks. Generally, approximately 50 players from the NFL have raised a fist, sat or knelt on game day as the national anthem was sung (Mollett, 2017). On the other hand, four teams have held hands or linked arms as a show of unity in the middle of this racial disunity.

Controversy has characterized much this controversy_ it has dominated conversations among persons of all backgrounds, races and ages (Rorke et al, 2017). On 8th of September 2016, Brandon Marshall chose to kneel during the opening of NFL; he claimed to take the stance as an opposition towards the social injustices occasioned against the people of color and blacks by the police.  Through his gesture, Brandon lost two sponsors but vowed to continue with his protests through taking the knee during the anthem.  On September 11th 2016, during the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, 5 players took a knee with majority of the from the NFL choosing to protest by raising fists, locking arms or taking a knee as the national anthem was sung.

Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas and Jelani Jenkins took a knee as they protested what they termed as economic, social and racial inequality in the United States and demanded real change (Rorke et al, 2017). This they sought to do through controversial stands. Gradually, the call spread throughout the United States as the cheerleaders too took an active role. In Howard University, the cheerleaders too took a knee as the national anthem was sung with majority of the football players raising their fists.

This protests attracted several other cheerleaders from other universities notably the University of Pennsylvania with both Junior Deena Char and Junior Alexus Bazen intimating that, “all over the news there has been brutality and violence against people of color and I truly believe infighting for equality and standing up for what I believe in.”

Prior to the playoffs in the WNBA, the call took a different angle with the Indiana fever team  when a white  lady was seen taking a knee in solidarity with the minority in creating meaningful change over incidents that had been going unnoticed (Mollett, 2017). In fact, their coach though unaware of what they had in store was categorically proud of their actions.

During the same call, Mistie Bass of the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA asserted that “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right and whatever right, think about such things.” In essence; this was a rallying call urging the nation to listen to the hurting of its people and offer meaningful response. More often than not, these protests have been met with tough opposition with lawmakers in some parts of the country interfering with the players’ budget to dissuade them from the protests. This has changed the call in some places but in others the rallying call has remained stronger.

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  1. Mollett, S. (2017). Celebrating Critical Geographies of Latin America: Inspired by an NFL Quarterback. Journal of Latin American Geography, 16(1), 165-171.
  2. Rorke, T., & Copeland, A. (2017). Athletic Disobedience: Providing a Context for Analysis of Colin Kaepernick’s Protest. FairPlay, Revista de Filosofia, Ética y Derecho del Deporte, (10), 83-107.
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