When Race, Religion, and Sport Collide tells the story of Brandon Davies’ dismissal from Brigham Young University’s NCAA playoff basketball team to illustrate the thorny intersection of religion, race, and sport at BYU and beyond. Author Darron T. Smith analyzes the athletes dismissed through BYU’s honor code violations and suggests that they are disproportionately African American, which has troubling implications. He ties these dismissals to the complicated history of negative views towards African Americans in the LDS faith. These honor code dismissals elucidate the challenges facing black athletes at predominantly white institutions. Weaving together the history of the black athlete in America and the experience of blackness in Mormon theology, When Race, Religion, and Sport Collide offers a timely and powerful analysis of the challenges facing African American athletes in the NCAA today.

Dr. Darron T. Smith is a frequent political and cultural commentator on various issues of U.S. based issues of race, racism, and discrimination in forums ranging from Religion Dispatches, The New York Times and Chicago Tribune op-ed to ESPN’s Outside the Lines. His research spans a wide myriad of topics on race including healthcare disparities, Religious studies, Race & Sports, and Race, Adoption and the Black Family. His current research focuses on health care workforce discrimination involving African American physicians and physician assistants. He is the co-author of White Parents, Black Children: Experiencing Transracial Adoption and co-editor of Black and Mormon. His current book, When Race & Religion Collide: Black Athletics at BYU and Beyond was released in 2015.

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  1. My local LDS wards are probably the most racially diverse congregations of any religion in our area, certainly more diverse than the Episcopalians, Methodists, Catholics, and Jews. Only the Baha'is probably do better.

  2. a RACIST CHURCH ??? YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT UTAH.. YOU PROBABLY DONT EVEN THINK ABOUT THE MILLIONS OF BLACK, ASIAN, EUROPEAN MEMBERS AROUND THE WORLD WHO ARE ALL LED BY PEOPLE FROM THEIR OWN CULTURE AND COLOUR. i AM A WHITE NEW ZEALAND GIRL MARRIED TO A BROWN MAORI WITH SIX MIXED RACE CHILDREN AND THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM WITH OUR SITUATION IN OUR SOCIAL, CULTURAL AND RELIGIOUS LIVES.MORMON STORIES SEEMS TO BE A PLATFORM FOR PERSONAL ISSUES THAT TRY TO PUT THEIR ISSUES ON THE CHURCH AS A WHOLE..THE AMERICAN CULTURE SEES THINGS VERY DIFFERENTLY FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD .AND YOUR MORMON STORIES IS A REFLECTION OF THIS.

  3. John – please spend time around the civil rights community. Don't worry – you'll survive. Get out of the bubble. You likely don't know just how fearful and naive you sound but it's understandable when much of your life has been spent in a Mormon bubble.

    You don't sound "racist" so much as afraid. What are you afraid of if people do happen to spot some underlying issues for you to confront? It's OK – you'll be respected as you evolve if you're also honestly striving to grow. But, guess what, that fear likely as far as I can tell comes from some underlying forms of racism which you may not have confronted yet, those forms are visible in your old videos on this topic of race. In old videos that you made, you exhibited open (but passive aggressive) hostility to the civil rights movement and in particular toward Martin Luther King, going on a long winded rant in a video in which you attacked King. You did that on the basis of questioning "hero worship" as if the reason why people quote King these days is about "hero worship" or as if people in the civil rights community are naive or in denial to his personal errors. The civil rights movement isn't based on "hero worship" of King no matter what you may have been led to believe within the Mormon bubble. Out of curiosity at the time I looked up why you would feel that way and if I'm not mistaken, Ezra Taft Benson is in your family. Benson was an avid, deeply committed white supremacist. So, John, it seems you've got some issues to confront and as someone trained in psychology you now know something of how to confront these issues. Openly.

    You're a strong advocate of mutual understanding among Mormons and ex-Mormons and an advocate for understanding of the LGBTQ community. Time to gain greater awareness in the area of cultural competence in this area too. Some of your old videos on this topic are offensive and I get the impression that you are evolving. I applaud the efforts. But now you have got to please get out of your comfort zone. That won't happen if you focus so much on Mormons and even ex-Mormons. Get to know people whose lives have been committed to the struggle. Come to historically black churches (in particular the really strong ones that make a difference – Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta, Metropolitan AME in D.C., Emmanuel AME in Charleston, etc), communities, and colleges, get close friendships among people in these communities, have open and frank dialogue. In time you'd get past your fears. And you'd stop sounding so naive. Stop being so fearful. And stop putting your foot in your mouth.

  4. Congratulations on the beginning of finding your voice without worrying about how to say things that don't go too far against the church. Congratulations on waking up. Now it's time to raise your voice.