sport

This year has seen a remarkable renaissance of star athletes in the United States for the first time since the 1960s and ’70s using their hyper-exalted platform to speak about politics.

One person who can speak about these eras like no one else is legendary sports sociologist Dr Harry Edwards, who played a role in advising activist athletes from Muhammad Ali to Colin Kaepernick.

The Mexican and US national teams defied protocol on November 11 in their World Cup qualifier as they posed together for a team photograph. The move was a display of unity as US president-elect Donald Trump threatens to tear the two nations apart.

Mexico won the game, hosted in Ohio, with a 2-1 final score.

Normally, football teams pose separately before the game, but this time the players decided to pose together to strike back at Trump’s proposal to make Mexico pay for a wall between the two countries to keep immigrants out.

Adding to ongoing protests against Donald Trump’s election victory, basketball teams appear to have also come out to play against the US president-elect. At least three NBA teams have said they will not be staying at Trump brand hotels, with other teams expected to follow their lead.

The Milwaukee Bucks, Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks have already stopped, or will no longer stay, in Trump branded accommodation while they are on the road to play against the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls.

Imagine hearing that your favourite athlete had drowned after being stuffed in the hull of a ship in order to avoid authorities and cross a treacherous body of water. Their goal in this alternative universe was to flee violence as well as earn enough to support their families.

That is exactly what happened to the goalkeeper for the Gambian national women’s football team, Fatim Jawara.

FIFA, the world’s ruling body of football (soccer), has banned wearing poppies to mark the death of British soldiers in war, which has provoked a confected outrage by British media and politicians.

The football associations of England and Scotland intend to defy the ban in the two national teams’ match on Armistice Day on November 11. In the editorial below, British left-wing daily The Morning Star responds to the hypocrisy of those opposing FIFA’s ruling.

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Singer Denasia Lawrence knelt while performing the national anthem at a Miami Heat basketball game on October 21 and opened her jacket to reveal a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt.

It was a variation on a protest that has punctuated many US sporting events in recent times against racist police violence. Like other anthem protests, the gesture by the Black singer Denasia was intended to highlight the unfair police treatment of people of colour in the United States amid ongoing killings of unarmed Black people.

From continued ire toward NFL star Colin Kaepernick over his protests against police killings to outrage over a racist mascot and a Los Angeles slugger’s rejection of Trump, sport in the US is fast becoming politicised.

Reflecting a racially-polarised society, tensions have recently broken past the typical barriers and spilled — like a rowdy, drunken fan — onto the playing field of the usually-insulated field of sports.

Pitched Battle: In the Frontline of the 1971 Springbok Tour of Australia By Larry Writer Scribe Melbourne, 2016 336pp, $35.00

“Sport and politics don’t mix” is often heard from politicians and media commentators when people target sporting events in acts of protest or athletes use their chosen sports to make political statement — for example Muhammad Ali and, more recently, US NFL star Colin Kaepernick. However, sport is often politicised in many different ways by the ruling class to reinforce the status quo.

Play On! The Hidden History of Women’s Australian Rules Football
Brunette Lenkić and Rob Hess
Echo Publishing 2016,
324 pages

In a landmark development, the first national women’s Australian Football competition — AFL Women’s — will be launched next February. But a century ago, attitudes to women playing the game were very different.

 The protests by professional sports players in the United States during “The Star-Spangled Banner” have spread since NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick sparked the controversial movement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in August by refusing to stand for the anthem before games. The protests have spread, with other NFL players joining in as well as sportspeople from soccer and volleyball.

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