Eric Martin, assistant professor for the School of Allied Health Sciences Department of Kinesiology, recently worked with the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) organization to co-author the second annual report, “The Athlete’s Quest for Social Justice: An Examination of 2017 Goals and Impact.” Martin has worked closely with RISE on research articles and projects at the collegiate and professional level. In this project, Martin worked alongside the RISE team to help with coding and analyzing data (described below) for the report.
RISE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress. Led by a remarkable alliance of professional sports leagues, organizations, educators, media networks, sports professionals, and athletes, RISE uses sports as a vehicle to bring people together to promote understanding, respect, and equality. The organization aims to spark enduring action through educational programing and public awareness campaigns.
The “Athlete’s Quest for Social Justice: An Examination of 2017 Goals and Impact” outlines actions taken by athletes and other stakeholders in sports to raise awareness about social injustice throughout 2017. It reviewed over 1,100 actions nationwide which were classified as collective actions, community outreach, financial contribution, protest, public statement, or special apparel. Additionally, each of the actions were categorized into what the primary goals were and included raising awareness about inequality, protecting human rights, empowering individuals, encouraging civic participation and advocacy, and increasing access to resources. Some examples of these actions consisted of athletes raising money for Houston flood relief, kneeling during the national anthem as various symbols of protest, and providing free football camps for minority and underserved youth. The report then provided several recommendations for athletes and other stakeholders to increase the effectiveness of these efforts. The RISE report evaluates the impacts of these efforts through athlete activism and assesses the goals that athletes worked toward during the year as they promoted social justice.
“It is critical to understand how athletes are actually engaging in their communities,” said Martin. “Sport has the power to change society, and these athletes have a unique platform to enact this change. They are engaged in a number of actions that benefit society and they should be recognized as such.”
Students and others can get involved with RISE to drive social progress by attending events, signing up for collegiate leadership programs, and taking the RISE pledge to treat everyone with respect and dignity to help end racism.
To learn more about how to get involved visit, http://www.risetowin.org/
To view the full report visit,