“Global sport has a long history of activism – particularly by athletes – and of propagating the vision of helping shape a better world. In 2022 and beyond, society’s changing expectations of sport’s contribution to all forms of social justice is empowering a new generation of activists, whose influence extends far, far beyond the sporting arena.” Craig Foster, Adjunct Professor, Sport and Social Responsibility, Torrens University Australia.
Can 2022 be the reckoning sport needs to step out from under the veil of neutrality and take a stand on issues like human rights, racial injustice and climate change?
Society’s expectations are changing, and sport is being forced to adapt. It will be up to the next generation of players, coaches and fans to ensure human rights and equality underpin sport, and to make an impact on the social, economic and climate issues facing our communities.
What, then, is its responsibility to mobilise real, substantive action behind the slogans and policies of humanitarianism, equality and respect?
“Athletes are conditioned to think that we can’t use our platforms to express our beliefs, but that’s not the case,” says former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. “We are members of this society and are entitled to influence it. If more players are willing to take a stand – and leagues encourage it – then others will realise they don’t just have to shut up and dribble.”
In collaboration with Socceroo legend and human rights activist Craig, Torrens University has developed Sport for Good. Designed to inspire individuals to find their voice, this suite of free online short courses explore sport’s growing role to drive change for a better world.
Every Sport for Good learner will benefit from the lessons and inspiration we can draw from those who’ve come before us. Students will examine real-life stories from sporting history where athletes and teams have struggled against oppression and changed society. Along the way, you’ll gain a unique insight into the sports industry, strategic activism and the political process.
You’ll hear from legendary athletes across rugby league, Aussie rules and soccer, who share their stories of activism and how they’re using their platforms to promote global good including:
- Sonny Bill Williams (Heavyweight Boxer, Former Professional Rugby Player and Human Rights Activist)
- Adam Goodes (Former Professional Australian Rules Footballer, Indigenous Rights Activist)
- Kathryn Gill (Co-CE, PFA, Professional Soccer Player and Former Matildas Captain, Gender Equality Activist)
- Asma Elbadawi (Professional Basketballer, Sports Inclusivity Activist, Poet)
- David Pocock (Former Professional Rugby Union Player, Environmental Activist)
- Sir Bryan Williams (Former All Black, New Zealand Rugby Union Footballer, Former Coach of The Samoan National Rugby Team)
“It is time for the sporting world to accept its social responsibilities and use its power, platform and influence to drive meaningful and lasting change,” says Craig. “My hope is that the global sporting landscape is going to be fundamentally different in years to come. We all have a responsibility to ensure that it continues to shift for the better and that future generations of sport leaders and management professionals at all levels strive for a higher purpose by using the social power of sport for good.”