History Professor Details the Intersection Between Sports and Politics

Prof. Amy Bass, history, College of New Rochelle, spoke about the place of politics in sports in a lecture last Thursday.

Prof. Amy Bass, history, College of New Rochelle, called sports a “great place to find politics” and argued that athletes should be allowed to advocate for causes in a lecture last Thursday.

Bass challenged the notion that sports are or should remain apolitical, arguing that athletes live inherently political lives.

“An athlete shouldn’t have to stop being who he or she is, the moment he or she steps onto the pitch, or the court, or the track, or the field,” she said.

Instead, she argued, athletes should be able to use the sports arena as a platform to make social or political statements.

“The modern black athlete, in this equation that pairs visibility with progress, is perceived to compete on a playing field that has been smoothed out to create equal opportunity,” Bass said. “In this scenario, sports exist in this vacuum without politics, but we know better.”

Citing examples such as the Black Power salute raised by a gold medalist sprinter at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Bass argued that the sports arena has historically always been a political space.

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