Previous research contributes to our knowledge about young people’s motivation
to participate in sports and athletic programs. In particular, scholarship has identified
significant others (such as parents and peers) and internal drivers (for example,
physical ability and skill, the desire to succeed, love of competition, etc.) as
some of the forces that shape the involvement of young men in sports. The role
of institutions and structures in influencing the decisions of young males to join
sports, however, is neglected to some extent in the current literature. Given the
history of race and gender marginalization relative to sports in the US, distinguishing
an additional layer that influences motivations are important. Young
black males face additional social pressures in society and in schools, in particular.
In this article we suggest that schools use sports to control the behaviors and aid
the character development of young black men.