Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School

School of Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Rebecca A. Kuehl


Black Lives Matter, Black/African American identity, media, Race, sport


This study was conducted to understand how communication and identity are experienced by Black university athletes in asking about their experiences and how they gauge mainstream media portrayals of Black NFL athletes making verbal or physical statements about or in protest of social injustice, racism, and inequality in America. I interviewed five university athletes identifying as Black/African American or Mixed- Race using media representations of Black NFL athletes’ protests since the NFL has dominated mainstream media headlines regarding recent athletes’ protests, especially in connection to the Black Lives Matter social movement. I also used several theories to interpret the data after collection, including Communication Theory of Identity, Social Identity Theory, Threshold Identity, and Cultural Identity Theory.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

African American college athletes.
African American athletes -- Press coverage.
African American athletes -- Political activity.
African American athletes -- Social conditions.
Sports -- Social aspects.
Identity (Psychology)
Social justice.
Racial justice.
Black lives matter movement.
Mass media and sports.

Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright