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An Exploratory Study of Black Male College Athletes’ Perceptions on Race and Athlete Activism

This qualitative pilot case study focuses on black male athletes at a major university in the United States of America (USA) and utilizes critical race theory (CRT) to understand their perspectives on race and athlete activism in the context of American society and sport. Our interviews with this important stakeholder group uncovered four themes related to their perceptions of race and athlete activism: 1) race is still an important issue in American society and sport; 2) knowledge about the activism of black athletes from the past is important; 3) differences in the mindset and attitude toward activism between current and past black athletes exist; and 4) black athletes have a responsibility to speak on social issues and causes today. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for theory, research, and practice. In addition, future research directions are offered for scholars who are interested in diversity and social justice in the context of American higher education and college sport.