Weaponized Patriotism and Racial Subtext in Kaepernick’s Aftermath: The Anti-politics of American Sports Fandom

Michael Serazio, Emily Thorson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The history of sports culture and fandom has long been as reactionary as it has been hospitable to progressive politics. As the most conspicuous recent example, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s U.S. anthem protest generated intense controversy with many critics claiming that sports and politics should, generally, not mix—a condemnation that ignores that context’s already pervasive militaristic nationalism. This article offers the first nationally representative examination of fans’ antipathy toward sports’ politicization through a critical textual analysis and inductive classification of their responses to the issue. Ostensibly “aracial” rebukes to that activism could nonetheless be characterized in lineage with historically stereotypical representations of and affronts to black athletes: as threatening to society, not intellectually equipped to engage, and illegitimate as leaders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTelevision and New Media
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • Colin Kaepernick
  • fans
  • politics
  • protest
  • race
  • sports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

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