ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – Dr. Derek Catsam, a history professor at the University of Texas Permian Basin, recently released his latest book titled Don’t Stick to Sports: The American Athlete’s Fight Against Injustice. The basis of the book is examining instances throughout American history where athletes have been subjected to inequalities.
An example of this is during the 1968 Olympics, with Tommy Smith and John Carlos raising a fist with gloves on during their medal ceremony. Jackie Robinson finally earning his shot to play in the MLB. Even more recently, the Colin Kaepernick protests when he kneeled during the national anthem.
“We think of sports as the ultimate meritocracy whoever’s bigger whoever’s stronger whoever’s faster, whichever team wins is sort of because of their ability and yet for the vast majority of American history athletes have been excluded.” Says Catsam during his interview, “We have a history of excluding athletes because of who they are and we don’t take that it into account when we look at protest movements in sports and things like that.”
When it comes to athletes now using their platforms as a way to spark conversation of oppression or what they are feeling, Catsam says it’s vitally important, detailing that athletes such as LeBron James have done this over the past few years.
The idea of the book came about when Catsam was working out his contract on his previous book “Flashpoint: How a Little-Known Sporting Event Fueled America’s Anti-apartheid Movement”. The publisher liked the concept and asked Catsam to write a book regarding American sports and politics to what Catsam says, “they sweetened the pot” on a contract for both books instead of one.