“Policing Black Athletes: Racial Disconnect in Sports”

Vernon L. Andrews, Ph.D.

“Why isn’t sport played the way it used to be played, when football was for men who loved America, who saluted the flag, and who respected our men in blue and our troops by standing—and not kneeling—for our National Anthem!”

This sentiment permeates American football today, and represents the feelings of many fans who can appreciate they Black heroes, but find the issue of “Blackness” via the two extremes of celebratory expression and protest, regressive. “This should be about sport, not politics,” many feel. The author concurs. As much as we may wish the sporting arena didn’t have to be one of the last battlefields for Civil Rights, here we are.

This book explores how conflicts over diversity, culture, inclusion, exclusion, protest and control have been played out over the years in various sports and institutions. Are there lessons to be learned from our overlapping—though at times, separate—cultural histories of Black and White? This book is about how we learn to act when in public and when playing sports. Infused in this conversation is the ever-present policing of Black bodies in sport and society, and the disconnect we have as citizens living in the same country perpetually divided by race. Interwoven throughout are solutions for moving forward.

“Others around the world revolt. Frustrated citizens in some countries overthrow the King or kill the ‘Strongman.’ Still others bomb buildings and assassinate random government officials. Here in the USA, athletes from 2016–2020 kneel during the national anthem.”

In “Policing Black Athletes: Racial Disconnect in Sports,” Dr. Vernon L. Andrews takes readers on a fascinating journey through Black and White cultures in America, exploring ways they have overlapped and remained separate throughout generations, and how they have unmistakably collided on sports fields.


Professional sports leagues should also have a say in this. Let’s start by demanding that Major League Baseball cancel or move its All-Star Game on July 13 from Truist Park in the Atlanta metropolitan area. We’ll see how much resolve Georgia politicians have when major events start getting canceled and teams and organizations start denying trips to Georgia.

There is some precedence here. In 1991, the National Football League relocated the site for Super Bowl XXVII in 1993 from Tempe, Arizona to Pasadena, California because of Arizona’s failure to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Years earlier, Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, and celebrities such as Stevie Wonder, Public Enemy, and U2 led an entertainment boycott of the state.

Not surprisingly, Arizona found religion, partly because of the NFL’s bold decision. Voters approved the holiday in 1993, and the NFL rewarded their open-mindedness by playing Super Bowl XXX in 1996 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.

Georgia, pull back those regressive, un-American, undemocratic laws that make us look like fools around the world. You’re on the clock.

Media Inquiries:

Dr. Andrews is available for an interview, to write a commentary, or to serve as a guest speaker. Digital or hard copies of “Policing Black Athletes” are available for review.

Please contact:

Pati Navalta

Cicero Estrella

Find out how the sporting arena has become one of the last battlefields for civil rights