Sport Policy, Athletes' Rights and Citizenship

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 09:06
Oral Presentation
Margaret MACNEILL, University of Toronto, Canada
Bruce KIDD, University of Toronto, Canada
Rosie MACLENNAN, University of Toronto, Canada
In a policy conversation with Olympian-advocate-scholars -- Dr. Bruce Kidd and Rosie Maclennan -- we explore the changing inter/national landscape of sport policy and the implications it holds for athletes’ rights from a social justice perspective and for the multiple notions of citizenry held by athletes. Policy engagement and social initiatives by present and former athletes are observed in order to scrutinize: (1) athletes’ rights and relationships with sports organizations, transnational media, and sponsors; (2) the meanings and forms of citizenship fostered in different kinds of political activity; and (3) how different approaches to policymaking help or hinder social justice. While competing internationally and serving as an athlete representative for the International Federation of Gymnastics and the Canadian Olympic Committee, Maclennan discusses how she investigates the roles and identities of high performance athletes, the complex regulations and contractual agreements imposed by governing bodies, and the myriad of pressures acting on athletes as they pursue ‘social responsibility’ initiatives in and around the realm of sport. For Kidd, “‘critical support’ or ‘critical partisanship’ is the commitment to the rigorous scrutiny of and intervention into the ideas, institutions and practices to which one is committed, advocates and carries out” (2013, p.341). His wide range of emancipatory projects have contributed to policy changes, ranging from including athlete representation on sport governing bodies, the right to due process and arbitration as a basic human right and the dismantling of gender verification policies of international sport federations, to deploying sport as a vehicle to help end apartheid in South Africa. A critical appraisal of policy making models, assumptions of citizenry and ethical foundations of ‘best practices’ in sport policy and governance will be synthesized to advocate a number of ways forward to an intersectional and intersectoral approach to social justice in sport.