Dr Nikolas Dickerson: Sport in the time of Black Lives Matter - Moving towards Black ways of knowing

  • Black athlete in starting blocks of race track

Over the last five years, anti-Blackness has become more visible within the public imagination in the United States. The killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude, and George Floyd led to a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in both the US and abroad. These deaths may have happened in the United States, but the global response has shown that racism and anti-Blackness are not unique to the US


In the United Kingdom, we know that Black people are more likely to die in police custody, more likely to have been stopped and fined during lockdown and are more likely to die from COVID-19. Sport has played a central role in bringing these inequities to the fore through the embracement of BLM, and it is also a site which has helped frame the importance of this movement through explicit and covert racism within the institution of sport. The widespread protests in cricket, F-1, football, and by many other athletes in other sports demonstrated that these inequities or more precisely human rights issues are too important to ignore. More so, athletes such as Azeem Rafiq, Eni Aluko, Ebony Rainford-Brent, Diane Asher-Smith, Lewis Hamilton, Nigel Walker, Raheem Sterling, and many others have reminded us that sport is not free of institutional racism. Similarly in the United States, the activist movements of the women of the WNBA, Naomi Osaka, and Colin Kaepernick among many others demonstrate that sport is both a site for the reproduction and resistance to issues of institutional racism. 

This talk thus seeks to use my own experience as a Black American living in the UK during this period, sport, internet memes, popular culture, and my own research on Black masculinity, sport, and national identity to discuss why race matters in our current moment.  

Specifically, I will draw on this wide variety of resources and the autobiographical to interrogate the links between anti-Blackness in sport and broader society, in both the US and UK. I conclude by discussing a current research project that engages Black music, sport, and Black methodologies to draw attention to the ways the Black diaspora create alternative ways of living despite the longevity of living under subjugation. But, also to make connections to the ways this type of work has connections to discussions of decolonizing the curriculum.


  • Date: 21 March 2022
  • Time: 18:30-20:30
  • Venue: University of Lincoln, Nicola de la Haye Building, NDH0020
  • Book your place here
Senior Lecturer, School of Sport & Exercise Science

Dr Nikolas Dickerson

Senior Lecturer, School of Sport & Exercise Science

Nik is a Co-Chair of UoL's People of Colour Staff Network. His research interests lie in the sociology of sport, race and masculinity, and media representation. Staff profile

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