LONGLISTED FOR THE WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR 2019
‘This searching exploration uses sports to examine questions of race and identity … Bardowell does an excellent and passionate job of refracting the issues within sport – the dearth of black football managers, the lack of activism from black athletes who have made it into the spotlight – into wider society.' Financial Times
‘A painful reflection of racism in British sport … Bardowell ably demonstrates the power of the media to determine the narratives around these sporting lives. He flags up the false binaries often promoted between good (patriotic) and bad (self-centred) black sportswomen and men … it's a valuable act of remembrance of sporting stars who put their careers on the line in pursuit of a moral right.' Observer
Few people watch sport for its politics. Yet what happens on the field of play often reflects the problems in our society.
Such was the case in the eighties, when black footballers emerged from the dressing room to find bananas being hurled from the stands, and racially motivated attacks and police harassment were the norm.
Today, things have improved. Crowds are less hostile and stars like Anthony Joshua and Sir Mohamed Farah are among our most revered sporting heroes. But for athletes of colour, success on the field seldom converts to power away from it. Prejudice and abuse may be less overt, but they remain – often in front of our eyes, often without us being aware. The same can be said of British society: things are better, yet we continue to be divided by and in denial of racism.
No Win Race is a personal exploration of the complexities and biases implicit in being black in Britain, told through the prism of sport. Covering the period between the Brixton ‘riots' and Brexit, this is a book for those who want honest insight into UK race relations, and for anyone who senses that sport is more than just a game.
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