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Playing and Protesting: Sport as a Vehicle for Social Change
Despite the fact that athletic activism is nonnormative behavior, there is still a long, albeit small, tradition of individuals who use the playing field to advocate for political and social justice. This article examines such individuals who, while in their role as athletes, engage in social or political activism to foster progressive social change. Using data from 21 in-depth interviews conducted with athletes who have been involved in activism on a range of issues, we identify four embedded dimensions of sport that have strong implications for a progressive and activist political orientation. These dimensions are social consciousness, meritocracy, responsible citizenship, and interdependency. In conclusion, we make the case that sports can and should be a vehicle for progressive social change.