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Gamed by the System

Exploring Black Male Youths’ Motivation to Participate in Sports

Deborwah Faulk, Robert A. Bennett III and James L. Moore III

Keywords: Black youth; motivation; racial projects; schools; sports

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.

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