"If it's not fair and equitable, then who are we serving? ": Exploring experiences of racism in sport in winnipeg


From racial aggressions during a community youth soccer game in Winnipeg (Macdonell, 2019), to the widely reported racial abuses faced by Canadian and international soccer star, Alphonso Davis, racism in sport is systemic, invading the ranks of coaches, officials, and volunteers in all sports across Canada (Joseph et al., 2021). In collaboration with Immigration Partnership Winnipeg, focus groups were conducted with sport stakeholders in Winnipeg, including service providers (coaches, administrators, parents, and volunteers) and athletes (from grassroots to professional athletes) to gain insight into participants' lived experiences of racism in sport. Twelve focus groups, involving a total of 39 participants, took place in the summer of 2021 using the MS Teams platform as in-person research was prohibited at the time due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Drawing on the voices of the participants, this presentation focuses on what people who experience racism in sport think can be done to address and eliminate it. This research affirms that racism is prevalent in sport at all levels, and to deny that athletes who are racialized, Indigenous, and religious minorities experience racism in sport is to be willfully ignorant of the realities occurring in the gyms, fields, and arenas in Winnipeg. Results of this study suggest that sport organizations lack the knowledge, skills, and intentional preparation to respond to instances of racism in sport and to develop anti-racist initiatives within their organizations.

Acknowledgments: Canadian Heritage; Immigration Partnership Winnipeg