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National anthems and athlete activism.

Parry, K. D., Adair, D. and Cleland, J., 2024. National anthems and athlete activism. In: Lawrence, S., Hill, J. and Mowatt, R., eds. Routledge Handbook of Sport, Leisure, and Social Justice. Abingdon: Routledge, 431-445.

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DOI: 10.4324/9781003389682-38


This chapter examines athlete activism and its expression through national anthem protests in sport. Focusing on three key environments – the United States, Australia, and Northern Ireland – we trace the evolution of anthemic protests and explore their bases and effectiveness as forms of athlete activism. The death of George Floyd in the US sparked global condemnation and propelled the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, which had originated in response to police violence against black communities in 2013, to new heights. Professional sporting events became platforms for widespread support of the movement, with players, club staff, officials, and media organisations engaging in coordinated displays of solidarity, such as taking a knee or raising fists. Some of these protests occurred during the playing of national anthems, leading to sharp criticism in certain circles. The chapter delves into the significance of national symbols and patriotic rituals in sports, particularly in the highly charged political climate following the September 11 attacks. The hyper-patriotic stance adopted by sports in the US raises concerns about the potential conflation of patriotic sensibilities with blind loyalty, stifling dissent, and critical engagement with national symbols.

Item Type:Book Section
Additional Information:Part VI, Chapter 32.
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:39822
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:10 Jun 2024 09:42
Last Modified:11 Jul 2024 12:45


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