School of Communication
Communication Studies: Journalism
national anthem, protest, NCAA, sports
Shields, Christian, "Political Protests in Professional and Collegiate Athletics" (2022). Senior Honors Theses. 1162.
Sports are an integral part of American culture. In recent years, however, athletics have been increasingly intertwined with political discussion. This includes several important political discussions such as social justice, gender equality and others. While this phenomenon has been primarily seen at the professional level, collegiate athletics have also begun to mingle with political discourse. An analysis of both professional and collegiate athletic protests showed a better understanding of why politics have become prevalent in athletics as well as an opportunity to decide whether such practices in sports should be encouraged. First, the history of political protest in both college and professional sports provided context for contemporary protests. Next, these current protests were examined. Information was given about how governing bodies at large handle these protests. After that, examples of athletes who refused to protest looked at how some of these athletes were treated for their actions. Social justice is not the only hotly contested debate occurring in sports; there is a list of several other athlete protests regarding the topics of vaccine mandates, NIL and gender equality, the opinions of coaches regarding player protest, why athletes may feel empowered to protest, and what effect such political protesting may be having on sports’ viewership ratings.