Call for Papers | “The Current Status of Racism in Sport Psychology and Liberatory Practices for Dismantling Systemic Racism” | Special Issue of Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, Call ends January 18, 2021

Guest Editors
Raheem Sterling took a stand when Chelsea fans hurled racial slurs at him during a match. Steven Paston/EMPICS/PA Images/Getty Images

The sporting arena is often considered to be a prime example of a post-racial environment, a true meritocracy, where success is determined by a combination of natural talent, hard work, and mental fortitude (Carrington, 2010). While we might well wish this to be the case, it is crystal clear, upon closer examination, that racism and racist practices are deeply embedded in sport at all levels. From the underrepresentation of minoritized groups in coaching, support-staff, ownership, and board-level roles (Bradbury et al., 2018; UK Sport, 2019, Yeowell, 2013), the daily racial microaggressions experienced working in sporting and academic settings (Carter & Davila, 2019), to the biased and racialized language used by those who commentate and report on athletic endeavors (Merullo et al., 2019), racism has a discernible impact on sport psychology professionals and the athletes and coaches we serve. Moreover, while this racism exists within sport, it is essential that sport psychology practitioners are aware of, have an understanding of, and the ability to respond to the disproportionate impact that highly racialized events outside of sport have on the wellbeing of athletes and coaches of color.

The global Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement has reignited and amplified the conversation on racial injustice in global society. Also, Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling movement has elevated BLM centering racial justice through a sport activism lens and showing how sport can catalyze social change. Both movements have raised society’s collective consciousness on racism, racial justice, and healing. From professional, college, and youth sport organizations kneeling in solidarity with Kaepernick to the National Football League’s Washington Redskins changing their name and logo to the Warriors, to the uptick in hiring and promotion of Black and ethnically diverse professionals in sport leadership positions – progress is being made. However, there is still considerable work to be done in sport and sport psychology to achieve racial equality across all sport sectors and for all members of sport. For example, substantial system-wide reform that addresses recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion of racially and ethnically diverse candidates of color in senior sport leadership roles, coach training and development models that emphasize racial and culturally aware approaches, models for building and maintaining welcoming spaces for sport professionals in athletic and academic environments, reform within academic sport settings and programs, and systems that amplify Black, indigenous, and people of color’s (BIPOC) voices in academic publishing is needed. This special issue seeks to elicit applied and basic research, policy, and practice guidelines that serve to improve outcomes in the field by answering questions such as:

      1. What is the history and role of applied sport psychology in addressing racism and white privilege in sport?
      2. How might the sport psychology profession seek to make space for BIPOC voices through BIPOC-led research, scholarship, and leadership to disrupt non-inclusive systems in the profession?
      3. How do applied sport psychology practitioners, researchers, and professionals center the experiences of Black women and women of color within the sport profession?
      4. What are inclusive research approaches for engaging with participant samples from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, communities, and groups?
      5. How might we address the lack of representation and inclusion of BIPOC academics in academic sport psychology programs?
      6. How does the sport psychology profession ensure that supervision and training pathways are adequately preparing practitioners for work with racially and ethnically diverse populations?
      7. How are sport and performance consultants working to disrupt intersectionally oppressive practices through a globally diverse and inclusive lens?

Topics for the special issue may include but are not limited to:

      • Methods for supporting BIPOC athletes and sport administrators
      • Approaches for advancing intersectionality that influence BIPOC’s sport and exercise experiences
      • The experiences of BIPOC sport and performance psychology professionals in the academy
      • Approaches for addressing White urgency, discomfort, and fragility in sport and performance settings.
      • The experience of BIPOC applied sport psychology students and initiatives/supports for studentsuccess/health/safety.

Manuscript Submissions

Expressions of interest are welcome from a range of qualitative and quantitative approaches and we highly encourage submissions from BIPOC colleagues with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Expressions of interest are invited in the form of a 200 word abstract summarising the proposed submission to the Journal Guest Editors by 18th January 2021. Following review, authors will be invited to submit full versions of their manuscript for peer review by 1st June 2021. Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the JASP “instructions to authors” guidelines (for complete instructions for authors, click here). JASP receives all manuscript submissions electronically via their ScholarOne Manuscripts website located at:

ScholarOne Manuscripts allows for rapid submission of original and revised manuscripts, as well as facilitating the review process and internal communication between authors, editors and reviewers via a web-based platform.


Bradbury, S., van Sterkenberg J., & Mignon, P. (2018). The under-representation and experiences of elite level minority coaches in professional football in England, France and the Netherlands. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 53(3), 313-334.
Carrington, B. (2010). Race, Sport and Politics: The Sporting Black Diaspora. SAGE
Carter, L. & Davila, C. (2017). Is it because I’m Black: Microaggressive experiences against black professionals in Sport and Exercise Psychology. Professional Psychology: Research & Practice, 48(5), 287-293.
Merullo, J., Yeh, L., Handler, A., Grissom II, A., O’Connor, B., & Iyyer, M. (2019, November 3-7). Investigating Sports Commentator Bias within a Large Corpus of American Football Broadcasts. Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP), Hong Kong, China.
UK Sport (2019). Diversity in sport governance report.
Yeowell, G. (2013). ‘Isn’t it all Whites?’ Ethnic diversity and the physiotherapy profession. Physiotherapy, 99(4), 341-346.

Editorial information

Editor: Stephen D. Mellalieu, Cardiff Metropolitan University (

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