March 4, 2011


Filed under: Sports — Giorgio Varlaro @ 2:50 am

When looking at Peter Kaufman and Eli Wolff’s peer-reviewed article “Playing and Protesting: Sport as a Vehicle for Social Change” both authors wanted to look at four widely embedded dimensions of sport that have strong implications for a progressive and activist political orientation. Those dimensions were Social Consciousness, Meritocracy, Responsible Citizenship and Interdependency. Each not only tells why athletes use activism while participating in sports, but gives examples of which athletes chose to and why. Of the five mentioned dimensions, the one which stood with me the most was Interdependence.

Interdependence implies much more than working together on a team to reach collective goals; it also implies a level of reliance on others to help the athlete achieve her or his desires (Kaufman P., & Wolff E., 2010). Because athletes are so used to having a big support group (reliance on others) which makes most of their decisions in everyday life, it’s sometimes doesn’t allow them to realize the power they could have in relation to activism. Athletes are always used to being told what to do. From their high school days it’s their parents. When they go to college it’s their coaches. When they’re in their professional sports careers it’s their publicist, coach, agent, wife, teammates and so on. All the athlete really has to do is make sure they are ready for the upcoming playing season.

In the peer-viewed journal it states, “Anyone doing something hard whether you’re an athlete on a team, an activist, or someone running for governor, you have to be supported. And I think that’s probably one of the reasons why it’s so hard to be an activist and I know that’s the thing I keep running into again and again” (Kaufman P., & Wolff E., 2010 p. 169).

I truthfully do not like this statement. There is a difference between a governor and an athlete, a big difference. One will have to make decisions on policy which could be detrimental to a society. This person has a group of people who make very important decisions which relate to more than just activism. In relation to athlete, most of the decisions that they make (when they actually do have to make a decision) relate to minor things like paying bills, buying a house or if they want to go to the gym in the morning.

You can also look at the difference in education. I’m not saying that all professional athletes aren’t educated, but most of them had it very easy in their college years. Facts show that Division I athletes spend more time perfecting their athletic skill rather than develop their mind. Because they do not have to same cognitive thinking abilities that governors do, it’s hard to put these two types of people in the same example.

So when looking at athletes as a whole, and as to why they do not participate in activism, I believe that it’s because they really do not care for the most part. Athlete are so in-tuned to what will make them more money, they do not care if they might have the ability to make a difference in people’s lives that are less fortunate. The only time most athletes will do anything is if their publicist tells them to do it. But even in this case, the publicist is only making the athlete do something for his/her betterment. It’s like treating yourself like a brand. You want to be the most recognizable and have a good public perception because in the end, it will make you money.


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