A newly published book—written by several Ball State University journalism students and edited by their professor—explores the tie between sports and social justice by following lives of over 20 athletes, coaches, and sports media professionals in different stages of their careers. 

Facing Social Justice in Sports was edited by Dr. Adam J. Kuban, professor of Journalism at Ball State’s College of Communication, Information and Media (CCIM), and includes stories written by undergraduate students in Dr. Kuban’s intermediate Sports Reporting & Writing course. The writing touches on the topics of racism, gender equality, poverty, international-student rights, mental health, disability, and LGBTQ+ challenges. Each chapter invites the reader to see the world through the eyes of those who have shared their personal stories. The book was published by The Facing Project Press, an imprint of The Facing Project. 

“The Facing Project’s writing model uses empathy to inspire awareness and action,” said Dr. Kuban, a professor in CCIM’s School of Journalism and Strategic Communication. “My students interviewed the athletes, coaches, or sports media professionals featured in these chapters, learning about them, and exploring their nexus of social justice and their respective sport. In the spirit of empathy, my students composed these stories as though they were the storytellers—from the first-person perspective. 

“Some chapters will inspire hope and maybe even prompt change or action. Some will undoubtedly anger you. Some might seem to end abruptly and without a satisfying conclusion,” Dr. Kuban added. “That’s simply because most of these lived experiences are not yet complete. This book project has taken two years to finish, and as we’ve learned throughout that time, social-justice issues in sports are complex and emotional. It can be hard to tell it like it is. But at the end of the day, we ask that you do what the student writers did: Listen.” 

Released Sept. 13, the book has already received high praise. 

Gene Policinski, a founding editor of USA Today and the newspaper’s former managing editor of sports, said, “Facing Social Justice in Sports offers a unique, penetrating portrait of athletes as they consider important social issues of our day; this is an insightful conversation with these rare and talented competitors.” 

Don Yaeger, an 11-time New York Times best-selling author, said, “Reading these stories was eye-opening and instructive, and I couldn’t give this book any higher praise.” 

Facing Social Justice in Sports is available in most places where books are sold, and is coming soon to Amazon, Indiebound, Powell’s, Goodreads, and other sites.