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Policing Black Athletes

Racial Disconnect in Sports


Vernon L. Andrews

"Why isn’t sport played the way it used to be played, when football was for men who loved America, who saluted the flag, and who respected our men in blue and our troops by standing—and not kneeling—for our National Anthem!" This sentiment permeates American football today, and represents the feelings of many fans who can appreciate their Black heroes, but find the issue of "Blackness" via the two extremes of celebratory expression and protest, regressive. "This should be about sport, not politics," many feel. The author concurs. As much as we may wish the sporting arena didn't have to be the last battlefield for Civil Rights, here we are. This book explores how conflicts over diversity, culture, inclusion, exclusion, protest and control have been played out over the twentieth century in various sports and institutions. Are there lessons to be learned from our overlapping—though at times, separate—cultural histories of Black and White? This book is about how we learn to act when in public and when playing sports. Infused in this conversation is the ever-present policing of Black bodies in sport and society, and the disconnect we have as citizens living in the same country perpetually divided by race. Interwoven throughout are solutions for moving forward.