Kelly, C. (2017). INTERNAL ACTIVISM AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR ORGANIZATIONAL LEGITIMACY: A CASE STUDY OF THE NBA’S REACTION TO THE NATIONAL ANTHEM PROTESTS IN SPORTS. Unc Charlotte Electronic Theses And Dissertations.
Public relations scholarship, especially in recent years, has witnessed a growing call for studies that investigate how activists engage in public relations. There are still few studies on internal activism, despite its promise for new insights and discoveries, given that internal activists would seem to be more invested in maintaining organizational legitimacy. Therefore, this paper presents a case study analysis that investigates the NBA’s collective reaction to the surrounding issues of protest and racial justice to illuminate how athletes engage in social activism, and how teams and leagues respond to such to activism in public. More specifically, I argue the collective response from the NBA to the anthem protests illuminates how tensions between organizational interests and internal activist publics’ social justice activities can be productively negotiated, fulfilling societal obligations while still maintaining organizational legitimacy.