Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Intercollegiate Media Studies

Reader 1

James Morrison

Reader 2

Jennifer Friedlander

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2017 Laura K. Reifsnyder


Sports presents one of the most popular forms of entertainment in society, and sports media continues to expand its billion-dollar influence through new television deal and broadcasting rights. But with a population of journalists who are overwhelmingly white, straight, and male, sports media is promoting the hegemony of said image by reproducing stereotypes in its broadcasts to audiences around the country. Mainstream media regurgitates these stereotypes in their coverage of minority athlete by portraying black players as unintelligent or “thug”-ish, women as “butch”, and gay athletes as effeminate. These representations allow for the perpetuation of the white, heterosexual male narrative throughout society while sidelining those who do not fit the description. But just as sports media is growing in popularity, so too is the athlete activist. Starting in 2013, today’s athletic superstars are now using their exalted platforms to address societal issues and speak on behalf of marginalized groups that are often ignored or misrepresented by traditional media narratives. The efforts of Colin Kaepernick, Billie Jean King, and Jason Collins in fighting against the system and these stereotypes will reveal how certain athletes are represented in the media and their unique position of changing the discussion and inspiring others to challenge societal norms. The growing popularity of social media and its use as a tool for social activism will also be examined, particularly as it has revolutionized the culture of athlete activism.