Game On, Washington! Examining American Sport’s Response to the Uvalde Massacre


  • M. Blair Thomas University of Oregon
  • Jamie Levine Daniel IUPUI



Activism, Athletes, Gun Violence, Social Construction, Social Equity


On May 24, 2022, a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. In the aftermath, stakeholders within and across sports came together to call for political action around gun control. These included individual athletes (e.g., Natasha Cloud of the Washington Mystics and DeMarcus Lawrence of the Dallas Cowboys), as well as coaches (e.g., Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs and Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors). In addition, the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees coordinated their Twitter feeds to focus on gun violence statistics during a game, and the Miami Heat’s public address announcer, on behalf of the team, encouraged fans to call their state senators. In this essay, we examine the factors contributing to this coalescence. We build on relevant public administration scholarship that has examined the roles of athletes as social constructors and their impact on the administrative state. We contextualize this scholarship alongside the widespread public support for some measure of gun control. We also discuss future research avenues to examine the ongoing impacts of athlete protests.

Author Biographies

M. Blair Thomas, University of Oregon

Blair Thomas is a visiting assistant professor at the School of Planning, Public Policy, and Management (PPPM) at the University of Oregon.His research interests broadly focus on citizen engagement and explores the impacts of athlete engagement on citizen participation and public administration.Complementary research includes how local governments engage in marketing, branding, and licensing from a strategic management perspective.

Jamie Levine Daniel, IUPUI

Jamie Levine Daniel is an associate professor at the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI. Her research focuses on the relationship between nonprofit resource acquisition and program service delivery, with interest on the relationship between earned revenue and mission. She earned her PhD at Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs. She has recently published in Voluntas, Nonprofit Management & Theory, Administrative Theory and Praxis, and the Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research.






Social Equity Section