SPORT, SOCIAL ACTIVISM AND NEW SPORTING ACTIVISM IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Running head: SPORT, SOCIAL ACTIVISM AND NEW SPORTING ACTIVISM IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Sport, Social Activism And New Sporting Activism In The 21St CenturyStudent Name
Sociologists of sport censoriously scrutinize the role, purpose, and gist of sport in the lives of individuals and their societies and try to define and explicate the development and dispersion of sports over time and across diverse cultures. It helps to understand how individuals get involved in sport and their challenges. It examines how culture, values, media, politics, economics, religion, race, gender, youth are related to sports and how they influence each other (Peterson, 2015). It tries to critically observe common sense assessments about sport’s role and meaning in various societies. By thought-provoking, honest, and taken-for-granted opinions about sport, sociologists try to create a standard and methodically suitable explanation that can inform people’s choices and activities, the policy of administrations, NGOs, and sports establishments. Sociology of sports seeks to create knowledge that will subsidize the progress of humans and divergent to performance effectiveness. Sociology of sport aims to change the world of sports by identifying and correcting myths about sports, critically assessing activities of influential groups involved in sport, and apprising social policy in the direction of the sport. This means that sociologists of sport seek to critically look into the costs, advantages, confinements, and possibilities of modern sport for individuals involved instead of focusing on the performance effectiveness of top sportspersons. This essay evaluates essential areas in the field of sport that can only be explained through studying sociology of work.
A great area that desires the contribution of sports sociologists is gender inequality. It is irrational to think that women’s participation in sport is not allowed. In the olden days, sports were considered men’s activities, and women were banned from taking part in the Olympics in the 1980s. In spite of the improvement of females in sports and some being role models, the female sportspersons are ignored by the media when reporting or writing newspapers. Even in the 21st Century, this is perceptible compared to male kinds. Despite the increased interest of women in sport, they are still considered inferiors compared to men. In the final periods of the 20th Century, there was a significant increase in women athletes. Athletes such as Billie Jean King fought for gender equality in sports. Billie campaigned against income inequality in sport based on gender. Gender matters are fundamental to sociology as the subject explains the roles of men and women in diverse facets of society. The learning of a sport or certain sporting is an aspect of the Sociology of Sport which cannot be forgotten. In the 20th Century, in the civic sphere, women sportspersons were expected to follow conservative gender standards. The culture and structure of sport should be changed to ensure that it becomes equally available to all people irrespective of their age, ability, and gender. Males and females can similarly participate and do well in sports if they are given an opportunity and encouraged to participate by providing them with the necessary items. Ensuring gender equality is one of the main concerns of Sociology of Sport which will create interest in sports in all persons since most individuals universally identify themselves as either male or female.
Sexuality in sports is also a significant concern. Heteronormativity in sports events is battled by athletes that identify as gay, lesbians, or bisexual. The sexual objectification of women sportspersons by mass media is a key challenge. Lesbians have taken an agency-centred line towards amativeness, such as in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) competitions, which discourages some individuals from joining sporting activities in fear of changing the sexuality of the group to identify with them (Knoester & Allison, 2021). Homosexuals have used sports as a means of interacting with each other. Some cultures do not accept homosexuality and bisexuality, yet they enjoy watching sports, which may discourage them from watching and following some sports. However, some athletes, such as Martina Navratilova, the first openly gay athlete, have shown the world that people have the freedom to choose their sexuality (Ennis, 2019).
Racism and discrimination in sports is another challenge in sports. There have been many cases of discrimination based on race in sports. Strict actions have been taken previously when some sportsmen of some races engage in crimes compared to others. For example, some white athletes have been involved in crimes, but the actions taken are minor compared to when the blacks engage in the activities. Racism forces individuals to treat each other differently, even in the field when playing. However, there have been changes where sportspeople are changing and fighting for equality for all races. 2020 was a year of sports activism after a black American named George Floyd was murdered by white police officers (Evans, Agergaard, Campbell, Hylton, & Lenneis, 2021). Los Angeles Lakers Superstar James and Kaepernick were among the athletes that condemned the act and wished for an end to racism. Also, a movement against racism termed ‘Black Lives Matter was started. Athlete activists and demonstrators worldwide supported the campaign to fight against racism (Evans, Agergaard, Campbell, Hylton, & Lenneis, 2021). Some early athletes, such as Jackie Robinson, a black baseball player, helped to fight against racism. He overpowered challenges and became a powerful athlete despite his colour. The sociology of sport aims at explaining the disadvantages associated with racism since the sport is a universal thing that unites individuals from all races. For example, fans of European Football Leagues are worldwide, where some are Asian, African, and European. Dealing with racism will positively impact sports as different races interact during the activities. Having teams of other races is a significant change in sports where teams had members of the same race, and fans would support members of their race.
Human rights are also an issue in sports. Every person has the freedom to participate in sports irrespective of their age, gender or country of origin. In the practice of sport, the rights of athletes as human beings have to be respected. They have a right to protection, equal treatment and good health. In the year 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted sporting activities, as social distancing was a measure to stop the spread of the virus. To protect the health of athletes, sporting events were cancelled and some postponed, including the Olympic games. There are social advantages that come with sports activities, and sports groups are looking for means to address challenges faced by vulnerable people who usually participate in sports in low-earning communities. This enables them to enjoy the right to sport irrespective of their social class. Kevin Love and DeRozan are known for their efforts in educating people on mental health, which is a good move in protecting human rights. By fighting against racism and murder, athletes try to campaign for human rights. Respecting human rights will help to promote equality unity and will encourage individuals to participate in sport as they have equal chances.
Mental health is also an issue in sports. Some athletes are drug addicts, while others use chemicals to enhance their activity in the field. As a result, tests are taken to ensure that participants are not under the influence of drugs, especially before major competitions. Sports have created unity and commonness among nations. Athletes such as DeRozan suffer from depression. He and Kevin love have played a significant role by talking to people about mental health as they are victims in the field of sports and understand the causes and effects. NBA also started a program and website in a campaign for mental health (Boren, 2018). Players were also expected to have a valid mental health license to avoid drug addicts in the field, who may even hurt other players due to poor judgements. This does help not only Americans but also players and individuals from all parts of the world. Mental health is key to a good team and a good game in general.
The 21st century has seen sports become increasingly politicized, and people throughout the world are reading books related to sports. There are many resources related to sports that equip people with knowledge and information on sports, such as the rights of an athlete. People from different cultures are able to get information wherever they are with the help of technology. Sports are no longer simple physical activities that people engage in locally. Things have evolved over the years, and sports involve other social phenomena such as feminism and social media, which were previously considered less significant. References
Boren, C. (2018, March 6). Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2018/03/06/everything-was-spinning-kevin-love-opens-up-about-his-in-game-panic-attack/
Ennis, D. (2019, February 20). What does Billie Jean King say about Martina Navratilova’s stance on trans athletes?. Retrieved from https://www.outsports.com/2019/2/20/18233542/billie-jean-king-reacts-martina-navratilova-trans-athletes
Evans, A. B., Agergaard, S., Campbell, P. I., Hylton, K., & Lenneis, V. (2021). Sport, race, and ethnicity in the wake of Black Lives Matter: Introduction to the special issue. European Journal for Sport and Society, 18(3), 187-191. doi:10.1080/16138171.2021.1966283
Knoester, C., & Allison, R. (2021). Sexuality, sports-related mistreatment, and U.S. adults’ sports involvement. doi:10.31235/osf.io/tfmp3
Peterson, G. (2015). Connecting social psychology and the sociology of sport: Using Goffman as a framework for sociological sports research. Sociology Compass, 9(5), 379-385. doi:10.1111/soc4.12245