Sport Activism and Protest

Authored by: Mick Totten

Routledge Handbook of Sport and Politics

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138792548
eBook ISBN: 9781315761930
Adobe ISBN: 9781317646679


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Even though many powerful stakeholders and mass consumers of sport still claim to believe that sport and politics do not mix, sport has proved fertile ground for activism and protest, its history littered with many forms of both. There are iconic examples such as John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s Black Power salute at the 1968 Mexico Olympics and the Black September group kidnapping and killing of eleven Israeli athletes, coaches and officials at the 1972 Olympics. More recently Ultras Ahlawy fans joined the Arab Spring protests in 2011, fighting street battles in Cairo to help seize control of Tahrir Square, while in 2014 members of Pussy Riot were whipped and tear-gassed when attempting to sing at the Sochi Winter Olympics, and millions of Brazilian people took to the streets in multiple protests against hosting the FIFA World Cup with many facing percussion grenades and tear gas. Despite the diverse nature of these and numerous other protests, of who is protesting on what issues, how and why, they are all forms of sport activism. They are also connected by political praxis, a compelling rationale for why doing nothing in the face of perceived injustice cannot be considered, and why political action and protest is required.

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