Critiquing Anthropocentric Media Coverage of the COVID-19 Sport “Hiatus”

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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  • 1 Towson University
  • 2 Springfield College
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This commentary highlights a recent trend of anthropocentrism (a focus on human-centered interests and activities) in the media coverage in the United States and Europe on the disruption of the contemporary sports industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors argued that the coverage promotes anthropocentric narratives by framing the pandemic as an external force causing a temporary and unforeseen “hiatus” in the sports industry. As a result, media consumers learn about human interest stories associated with consumer demand and industry adaptation: stories that renormalize, rather than question, the sports industry in its current and hegemonic form. Such media discourses bypass an opportunity to consider the longstanding entanglements of human and nonhuman actors in sporting contexts, rethink sport through environmental and nonhuman perspectives, and, ultimately, advance more progressive, democratic politics. The commentary employs a posthumanist lens to critique the recent anthropocentric media coverage, highlighting the ways in which it reproduces the dualist logic of neoliberal capitalism and deflects attention to the human and nonhuman relations that have always existed in contexts of sport and human physicality.

Clevenger and Bustad are with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Towson University, Towson, MD, USA. Rick is with the Dept. of Sport Management and Recreation, Springfield College, Springfield, MA, USA.

Clevenger (sclevenger@towson.edu) is corresponding author.
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