Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Zola Budd and the Political Pawn

Pam R. Sailors


The attitude toward athletes engaging in political speech has varied over time, with activism often discouraged, but encouraged on rare occasions. The paper seeks to reconcile the two conflicting positions through proposing a more nuanced way to think about the relationship between athletes and political activism. Specifically, I argue that political speech, while obviously appropriate outside the field of play, has no place within the sporting arena. The paper begins with descriptions of the Colin Kaepernick case and the Zola Budd case. The main substance of the paper comes in laying out the position that athletes should not be activists, acknowledging a challenge to that position, and incorporating the notion of sacred space to establish the final conclusion.

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