Darnell, S.C. (2012) 'Paying the price for speaking out : athletes, politics and social change.', International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education special bulletin., 63 .
Increasingly, high profile athletes and sportspeople speak out on social issues, make calls for social change, and assert themselves as political activists. Doing so often takes one of two forms: arguing for, and acting upon, the responsibility to recognize social issues external to sport, or addressing social issues and inequalities within sport itself and calling for reform. In this paper, I suggest that even though some athletes appear to be increasingly willing and able to assume these varied roles connected to political activism, there is still significant pressure on athletes to conform to dominant, expected, or preferred social and political norms in sport. As a result, athletes pay a price for speaking out, particularly with regards to their relationships, opportunities, popularity and acceptance in the culture and organization of sport. Supported by recent fieldwork, I consider some of the implications of this phenomenon for the relationship between sport and social change and the positioning of sport as a force for reform.
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