An Argument against Athletes as Political Role Models

FairPlay, Journal of Philosophy, Ethics and Sports Law 10 (2017)
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A common refrain in and outside academia is that prominent sports figures ought to engage more in the public discourse about political issues. This idea parallels the idea that athletes ought to be role models in general. This paper first examines and critiques the “athlete as role model” argument and then applies this critique to the “athlete as political activist” argument. Appealing to the empirical political psychological literature, the paper sketches an argument that athlete activism might actually do more harm than good.

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Shawn E. Klein
Arizona State University


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