The Lack of Political Activism Among Today’s Black Student-Athlete


  • Renford Reese



The period of 1968-1972 was the only period in American sport history that black athletes were outwardly committed to the struggle for liberation and equality. Throughout American history, the black athlete has been socialized to be politically unconscious, inactive, and docile. During the era in which Dr. Harry Edwards led the revolt of the black athletes, the activism of the athletes matched the injustices that existed in American society. With the rise of the prison industrial complex, racial profiling, the extraordinary racial disparities in the criminal justice system, the disdain of our former black president, ubiquitous black poverty, and the incessant incidents of police brutality, this article examines how the activism of today’s black student-athletes does not match the glaring injustices that exist in American society. The protest by the University of Missouri’s football team in 2015, which resulted in the president of the university resigning, highlighted the power of black student-athletes when their voice is collective, animated, and purposeful. NCAA Division I athletics has become a $10 billion industry and black-student athletes are responsible for generating a significant amount of this revenue. Today, they have the leverage, influence, and power to change many policies that affect their own development and the condition of those in their communities. This paper examines the lack of activism and political consciousness among today’s black-student athletes. 


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