Sports, race, and gender have often clashed in American life and created greater impact than any individual game’s outcome.
NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit and then kneel during the national anthem in 2016 was certainly not the first time sports and race appeared to be on a collision course in America. This volume explores some of the chapters in this saga. African American heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson offended the racial sensibilities of the early 20th century simply by seeking a chance to become boxing’s champion. The struggles to integrate baseball and the challenges faced by African American athletes as they traveled during the Jim Crow era are described. Protests about the use of a team name considered to be a racial slur and the triumph of a female fencer who wore a hijab during the 2016 Olympic Games demonstrate how often societal concerns bleed into athletic events. Gender issues and sexual orientation in sports are addressed in the explosive case of sexual abuse in gymnastics and when gay athletes come out. This slim volume skims the surface of these complex topics, and young readers will need additional information to gain deeper understanding, although the large number of photographs is worth noting.
Young readers will find intriguing—if only surface-skimming—historical context for today’s controversial sports headlines. (source notes, glossary, select bibliography, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 10-18)