Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


Public Policy


Jaime Settle

Committee Members

Paul Manna

Martin Schmidt


Should athletes shut up and dribble? Most academic scholars and pundits assume that contemporary African American professional athletes who engage in political activism do so to raise awareness about social issues and influence individuals’ opinions. However, there has been no meaningful effort to quantify the persuasive impact of this activism, examine the nature and scope of such an impact, or compare it to the impacts of other actors on the national scene. Using a focused and quantitative approach backed by Twitter data from the accounts of every starting American professional basketball player in the NBA in 2017 and a nationally fielded survey experiment utilizing a preference-incorporating choice and assignment design, I examine the effect of African American professional athletes’ political statements on individuals’ opinions about the Black Lives Matter movement and racial injustice.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

On-Campus Access Only