The study examines the significance of the Confederate flag in the local sport cultures of the American South. Building on a growing body of research related to sport, Whiteness, and the formation of local identity, this article questions how and why the Confederate signifier remains a contested, yet meaningful, symbol in the spaces and spectacles of the South’s most Confederate-emblazoned sporting institution: the University of Mississippi’s football team (the Ole Miss Rebels). Informed by (1) a critical historiography and (2) an exhaustive ethnography conducted from 2004 to 2006, this article mediates on the intersection of an exclusionary history and contemporary signifying acts of Dixie South Whiteness articulated through the sporting local. It concludes with a brief discussion on the international expansion of the flag’s sporting import.
The author is with Towson University, Department of Kinesiology, 322 Towson Center, Towson, MD.