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They Didn’t Do Anything Wrong but They Did Everything White: Examination of the 1968 Harvard Crew’s Support of the Olympic Project for Human Rights

Amanda Nicole Schweinbenz and C. Keith Harrison

The iconic image of Tommie Smith and John Carlos standing on the podium, with bowed heads, black-gloved fists in the air during the playing of the American national anthem at the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City, is a symbol of resistance and the civil rights movement. This symbolic activism was part of a larger movement, the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR) that was led by Dr. Harry Edwards. The movement was designed to be a nonviolent protest against the inhumane treatment of Black men in the United States. While Edwards and several of the track-and-field athletes worked to create awareness of their fight, a small group of rowers out of Harvard University also took notice. The Harvard men’s eight was the crew selected to represent the United States at the 1968 Games in Mexico, and shortly after their selection, a number of the men decided that they too wanted to support the initiative that Edwards had started. In their attempt to prove that they were indeed allies to the Black athletes on the American team, the men met with Edwards and decided to send letters to each person selected to represent the United States at the 1968 Games in Mexico that outlined the plight of the Black American athletes. However, while their intentions may have been honorable, many within the OPHR movement did not agree with the involvement of the Harvard rowers. Several members argued that these privileged White men had no right to be involved and their initiative was unwanted. This raises important discussions surrounding allyship; more specifically what constitutes an ally compared to the “great white hope?” This paper uses Edward’s concept of allyship and the oblivious possessive investment of whiteness and critically examines the Harvard men’s support of the OPHR movement in 1968.

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Hip-Hop and Sport—An Introduction: Reflections on Culture, Language, and Identity

C. Keith Harrison and Jay J. Coakley

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Rap Sessions From the Field: Intersectional Conversations With Jemele Hill, Bun B, Fat Joe, and IDK

C. Keith Harrison and Reggie Saunders

To end this special issue, Dr. C. Keith Harrison and Reggie Saunders connected with individuals that exist at the intersection of hip-hop culture and sport. This series of interviews begins with Jemele Hill, an American sports journalist and activist. A graduate from Michigan State University, Jemele also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Central Florida from 2012 to 2014 teaching undergraduate sport business management students practical lessons about sport media. Reggie has been an adjunct faculty member at University of Central Florida since 2015, co-teaching innovation and entrepreneurship in sport/entertainment with Harrison. Reggie follows with an interview with Bun B, one half of the Texas rap duo, UGK and currently an adjunct professor at Rice University teaching a course on religion and hip-hop. New York rapper and entrepreneur, Fat Joe weighs in briefly on the topic, and Reggie closes out by interviewing rapper and Washington DC native, IDK. IDK is known for his hit song 24, and has a notable fan in Kevin Durant, National Basketball Association superstar and fellow Washington, DC native.

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A Day in the Life of a Male College Athlete: A Public Perception and Qualitative Campus Investigation

Suzanne Malia Lawrence, C. Keith Harrison, and Jeff Stone

Perceptual confirmation paradigm (PCP) rooted in social psychology, can be implemented to frame sport science research questions (Stone, Perry, & Darley, 1997). Public perception of college athletes’ lives has been scarcely investigated in the sport sciences (Keels, 2005) using the PCP to prime stereotypes. The purpose of this study was to prime stereotypes about a day in the life of a college athlete by using qualitative inquiry to assess college students’ (N = 87) perceptions. Participants provided written responses about a day in the life of a college athlete. Two different college athlete targets were used “Tyrone Walker” (n = 44) and “Erik Walker” (n = 43). Four major themes and one minor theme emerged which are descriptive of the participants’ perceptions. Findings were related to the leadership responsibilities of sport management practitioners in higher education. Future research inquiries and relevant suggestions were articulated for sport management scholars in the 21st century.

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White College Students’ Explanations of White (and Black) Athletic Performance: A Qualitative Investigation of White College Students

C. Keith Harrison, Suzanne Malia Lawrence, and Scott J. Bukstein

While the sport sociology community has had a long-running conversation about the relationship between athletes’ success and race, there are few empirical investigations of individuals’ attitudes regarding the connection of race and athletic performance. This study on White college students’ explanations of White (and African American) athleticism attempts to push this discussion of race and sport. Using a qualitative, open-ended question we elicited explanations from White college students about athletic performance. Findings revealed that White students explained White athleticism through discussions of African American athleticism. In addition, White student participants avoided biological explanations regarding White athletes’ success.

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Beyond the Black/White Binary: A Multi-Institutional Study of Campus Climate and the Academic Success of College Athletes of Different Racial Backgrounds

Leticia Oseguera, Dan Merson, C. Keith Harrison, and Sue Rankin

This work contributes to an understanding of college athletes’ experiences with campus climate and its relationship to perceptions of their academic success. This work extends race work to include Latina/o and Asian and Pacific Islander college athlete populations across multiple divisions and sports as the literature is scarce on college athletes of color beyond the Black/White binary and high profile sports. The current paper fills a gap in the literature by applying the Student-Athlete Climate Conceptual Frame and quantitative research on college athletes of color, women college athletes and perceptions of campus climate and academic success. Our findings highlight a relationship between positive perceptions of campus climate and academic success. Participation in academic student organizations is also related to academic success.

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My Ambitionz az a Qualitative Ridah1: A 2PAC Analysis of the Black Male Baller in Amerikkka2

C. Keith Harrison, Rhema Fuller, Whitney Griffin, Scott Bukstein, Danielle McArdle, and Steven Barnhart

The purpose of this paper is to contextualize and analyze the lyrics of Tupac Shakur by using the research methodological approach of concatenation to merge hip-hop and sport so that the qualitative data from these songs might serve as a cultural map to constructs of identity, race, social class, and black masculinity in the context of sport and the black male athlete experience in America. Applying critical race theory and White’s framework of black masculinity and the politics of racial performance, a connection is made with themes of the artists’ (rapper) social commentary and the athlete (baller). The themes from Tupac Shakur’s lyrics are follows: (a) Trapped, (b) Against the World, (c) The Streetz R Death, and (d) Ambitionz. Synergy with the rapper and baller are articulated, as well as implications for scholars and practitioners that work with high school, collegiate, and professional black male athletes, along with other men of color.