What is the responsibility of sport to help shape a better world?
That was the big question that everyone was asking back in 2016, when professional footballer Colin Kaepernick made his historic gesture of protest against police brutality and racial injustice, spurring a whole movement across the NFL.
It is also the guiding question behind this cutting-edge, new series of free, online courses for sports professionals, students, fans, players, or anyone curious about the growing role of activism in sport.
The first of its kind to ever be offered completely free to the public online, the 'Sport For Good’ series of online courses offers a groundbreaking blueprint for ethical leadership in a changing industry.
Sport unites us, connects us, and challenges us to be our best selves.
We all have the power to do something good in the world if we’re given the right tools. With Sport for Good, you will learn how you can use your voice, your position in the sports industry or your love of the game to make a positive impact.
Delivered in four separate parts, each unit offers combines practical training with an analysis of key topics at the intersection of sports and politics today:
● Sport and Society
● Sport and Human Rights
● Sport Leadership in a New World
● Sport and Social Change
Each part takes just eight to ten hours and can be completed any time, at your own pace. Completion of the course will earn you a ‘Sport for Good’ digital badge; a unique, verified credential that you can present online to employers or institutions, and share on LinkedIn or other social media.
Developed by Torrens University Australia in collaboration with Australian soccer legend, human rights activist and Adjunct Professor, Craig Foster, the ‘Sport for Good’ series of courses looks at the historical background of activism in sports, the global challenges of sport today and the role of the industry in protecting human rights and championing social change.
“Whether it’s climate change, gender, racial or sexual equality, or the treatment of migrants and refugees: sports bodies, athletes, corporate partners and fans have a responsibility to make a commitment to upholding a basic standard of treatment for all,” said Foster.
“This should be fundamental in sport here in Australia and around the 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.
In each of the four parts, learners can access an exclusive set of video interviews featuring an all-star cast of international athlete activists, 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)
Sport today is evolving into a powerful platform for activism and social critique.
Torrens University Australia is committed to the philosophy of ‘Be Good’ through education across all sectors. This course looks at how we can all Be Good through the lens of sport: it aims to encourage learners to understand the issues and harness the power of sport for social good.
But, is the Sport for Good series of courses scoring points among sports industry professionals?
Late last year, twenty sports industry professionals and athletes did an advanced trial of the Sport for Good courses. Here’s what they have to say about it.
“I wish I had completed this course when I first commenced my career in the AFLW. Whether you are a social player or elite player this course provides insight to how you can make a real difference through your leadership and actions. The section on Hakeem al-Araibi was really moving and brought me to tears.
To me it demonstrated how lucky we are to live in a country where we have freedom, rights and celebrate diversity. Sport creates a space to build connections, inspire others and bring people together. This course has inspired me to be brave and stand up for what is right.”
- Leah Kaslar, AFLPA Education Ambassador, Assistant Coach and Professional Australian Rules Footballer
“Sport connects us. Sport inspires us. Sport unites us. The Torrens University Sports for Good short course offers a broader picture of what it means to be an athlete, and the influence sport and sports people can have on the world. I have taken a lot away from this course.”
- Mackenzie Arnold, Professional Athlete for the Matildas and West Ham United, a Torrens University Australia PFA Education Ambassador
“Sport for Good, a Torrens University free short course, educates us on how we can use our involvement in sport to make a difference in our communities and influence the issues facing our society. Everyone involved in sport, from staff and players through to volunteers and spectators, should take this course. Let’s make a difference together.”
- Andrew de Gruchy, Foundation & Business Development Head at GWS Giants
“We all have the power within us to make a positive impact on social and human rights issues. Sport for Good teaches you how to use your involvement in sport, as a fan or an athlete, to achieve this.”
- Caitlin Foord, Professional Athlete for Arsenal Football Club and Matildas PFA, Torrens University Australia Education Ambassador
“I thoroughly enjoyed the Sport for Good short course from Torrens. It was incredibly enlightening and inspiring from an athlete’s perspective in terms of the impact one can have on the community and broader world.
If an athlete is able to get their house in order and live an authentic life as a role model within their community, their position can lend great power to social causes they feel passionately about.
The story of the Brazilian football team captain Sócrates in the 1980s, as well as the story of Muhammad Ali in the 1960s, were inspiring. They lived authentic lives and stood strong by their beliefs, despite the extreme individual adversity it invited.
I encourage other athletes to look at this course as a tool to develop this authenticity and explore ways to promote causes they may feel passionate about.”
- Reilly O’Brien, Professional Athlete for the Adelaide Crows, AFLPA, Torrens University Australia Education Ambassador MBA MPH
“As an active member of the sports community, I’ve seen first-hand how powerful sports can be as a platform of social awareness and change.
Torrens University’s Sport for Good short course is a great tool to help illustrate some of the examples of how sport has aided the community to date, but also to show how those involved in sport currently can contribute towards ongoing positive change. The materials are interactive and the videos from industry leaders are engaging throughout.”
- Orry Lack, Head of Partnerships and Fundraising at Melbourne Football Club
“Torrens University’s ‘Sport for Good’ short course is suitable for industry professionals with direct and in-direct links to the sports industry. The course highlights how powerful sport can be in driving positive change for all. We encourage our organisations employees, players and partners to complete this free course to see how they can play their part in driving social change.”
- Jeremy Tuite, Head of Partnerships and Membership at Penrith Panthers
“The Torrens University Sport for Good program not only educates people on the importance of advocacy from sports-people and organisations but also highlights the impacts that such advocacy can have.
The program details the history of advocacy in sport, the champions of our age and why sport and sportspeople cannot turn a blind eye to the future role they play in being leaders in today’s world. This program is essential for all aspiring leaders within sport and can make real and positive change.”
- Michal Jamison, Head of Commercial, AFL Players Association
“Torrens University's Sport for Good free short course educates us all on how to maximise our voice as athletes and as humans, to create positive change in the world. Together we can make a change. We would highly recommend this short course for anyone with an interest in sport or a passion for human rights.”
- Brendan Schwab, Executive Director, World Players Association
“To make a real difference, athletes need to be supported. The Torrens University Sport for Good program provides athletes or anyone with an interest in advocacy and activism, with the ultimate platform in which to develop a clear framework on how they can take the appropriate steps to maximise their advocacy on any issue.”
- Billymo Rist, Head of Program Development, AFL Players Association
“The Sport for Good short course was very enjoyable and kept me engaged throughout. I learnt a lot about the impact sports and sports people can have when speaking out about issues and the different ways this can be done. “
- Jake Timpano, PFA Player Development Manager and ex-Football player.
"At Simon Black Academy, success begins on and off the field. I'm a true believer in taking a holistic approach to training and preparing our athletes for their life long endeavours, whether it's elite sport or community sport on the field plus their long term careers off the field. Developing the whole athlete is about opening up their experience to learn how to best leverage the socio-cultural and political influence professional sport can play in contemporary society. The Sport for Good Short Courses series is a fantastic resource, and it aligns with what we set out to do at Simon Black Academy. We are passionate about encouraging the next generation of resilient and mindful sport stars who want to give back and contribute to their communities, and beyond.”
- Simon Black, AFL Legend, Football Director and Ambassador Simon Black Academy at Torrens University Australia
‘Sport is a powerful platform for change. It has a social responsibility to make the world a better place. Involvement in the Sport for Good online course will empower you with the knowledge and tools on how you can use your voice, position or love of the game to make a positive impact in the world.’
- Kathryn Gill Co-Chief Executive, PFA, Australian Professional Soccer Player & Former Matildas Captain, Gender Equality Activist
"In what is a polarised society, current events are informing the decision for athletes to consider advocacy and activism on behalf of a cause that aligns with their individual belief system. Yet, a way forward to address these key issues will require leadership from not only athletes but at every level. However, to make a real difference, athletes need to be supported. The Torrens University Sport for Good Program provides athletes, and anyone with an interest in advocacy and activism with the ultimate platform in which to develop a clear framework on how they can take the appropriate steps to maximise their advocacy on any issue.”
- Billymo Rist – AFLPA
“The Torrens University Sport for Good program not only educates people on the importance of advocacy from sportspeople and organisations but highlights the impacts that such advocacy can have. The program is essential for all aspiring leaders within sport and can make real and positive change.”
- Michal Jamison Head of Commercial – AFLPA
That’s some powerful feedback from some of the incredible athletes and industry professionals who’ve trialled the course.
But, perhaps the only way you can really understand what Sport for Good is all about is to find out for yourself.
Every time an athlete, fan or sports professional stands up for what they believe in, on or off the field, society is challenged to move forward just a little. When many of us stand up for what we believe in, society moves forward in leaps and bounds.
If you’re passionate about sports and you want to be part of a global movement for change, start your journey towards action with the Sport for Good free online courses. You will be surprised, moved, informed, inspired and equipped with the tools you need to join us in building a better industry and a better world, together.