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Volume 39 (2022): Issue 4 (Dec 2022)

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“They Do Not Represent Our Gym”: How CrossFit Affiliates Define Community as They Respond to Racial Controversy

Shaun Edmonds, Nancy L. Malcom, Christina M. Gipson, and Hannah Bennett

Following the racist comments of the then CEO and CrossFit co-founder Greg Glassman concerning the murder of George Floyd, CrossFit affiliates took to social media to repudiate his statements. Throughout their social media posts, these affiliates struggled with their relationship to the CrossFit brand, the imagined CrossFit community, and the community formed in their local box. Using qualitative thematic analysis of CrossFit affiliates’ Facebook and Instagram posts made during June 2020, we find that the affiliates had a range of responses that included silence, reconsideration of their affiliate status, and social activism. Furthermore, we find that the affiliates’ focus on (re)defining community served to deflect from deeper discussions of systemic racism within CrossFit and the CrossFit community.

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Once You See It, You Can’t Unsee It? Racial Justice Activism and Articulations of Whiteness Among White Collegiate Athlete Activists

Yannick Kluch, Emma Calow, Eric M. Martin, Travis R. Scheadler, Andrew Mac Intosh, and Shannon Jolly

The goal of this study was to examine how athletes holding privileged racial identities understand their whiteness as they engage in racial justice activism. Drawing from 12 semistructured interviews with white collegiate athletes who have engaged in activism for racial justice, we identified four higher order themes which we situate within a broader discussion of how each theme either reinforces or disrupts racial power: articulations of (a) racial consciousness, (b) white privilege, (c) white empathy, and (d) white accountability. While the white accountability theme has the potential to disrupt racial power due to its relying on rigorous self-critique, the remaining themes pointed to limited understandings of the systemic nature of racism, which can thus inadvertently (re)produce white supremacy even when engaging in activism for racial justice. Limitations, implications, and future directions for research are discussed to empower more white athletes to reflect critically on whiteness and facilitate systemic change.

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Reflections on Working With Black Youth From Underserved Communities in the United States: Decolonizing My Whiteness Through Critical Collaborative Interrogation

Robert T. Book Jr., Donka Darpatova-Hruzewicz, and David Dada

This autoethnographic paper introduces a decolonizing methodological process termed—critical collaborative interrogation (CCI)—one offering a more radically reflexive approach to teasing out inherent power relations within sport-for-development spaces. The process of CCI utilized four autobiographical vignettes written by the first author as means of decolonizing his whiteness, vis-à-vis, an academic peer from his present and a coworker from his past. By ascribing to a decolonizing praxis, we contend that CCI offers not only a novel way to elucidate innate racial biases, complicities, and moral imperatives within sport-for-development work, but also promoting CCI as a transformative process by drawing upon “other” ways of knowing and alternative perspectives.

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Toward a Theory of Sportswashing: Mega-Events, Soft Power, and Political Conflict

Jules Boykoff

Sportswashing has emerged full force in the 21st century, highlighting the gap between word and deed in the sports world. Yet, the term suffers from definitional imprecision and is often applied solely to autocratic hosts. This article offers a robust definition of sportswashing and—building from the soft-power approach to analyzing mega-events like the Olympics and World Cup—creates a sportswashing typology. This paper offers four advances in conceptualizing sportswashing: (a) the practice is not just the domain of autocrats, but can emerge in democracies as well; (b) domestic audiences are crucial to understanding the political complexities of sportswashing; (c) sportswashing often sets the stage for military intervention; and (d) new forms of sportswashing are emerging, with authoritarian regimes funding teams and events in democratic states.

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“Saturdays Are For The Boys”: Barstool Sports and the Cultural Politics of White Fratriarchy in Contemporary America

Kyle Kusz and Matthew R. Hodler

Existing across multiple media platforms, Barstool Sports (“Barstool”) is one of the most important sport brands in the United States. While Barstool’s critics frequently assert that the company is “racist,” few, if any, detail how their racial politics work. Through a brief genealogy of Barstool’s cultural history and a close critical reading of “The Barstool Documentary Series,” we show how Barstool’s racial politics operate through gender—specifically the affective appeal of Big Man sovereignty and the homosocial bonds of White fratriarchy —to create and normalize racially exclusive and White male-dominant social worlds that dovetail remarkably with racial and gender ideas that organize what Maskovsky calls Trump’s “White nationalist postracialism” and the Proud Boys’ “Western chauvinism.”

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Erratum: How Sports Identification Compares to Political and Religious Identification: Relationships to Violent Extremism and Radicalization

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How Sports Identification Compares to Political and Religious Identification: Relationships to Violent Extremism and Radicalization

Andrew C. Billings, Nathan A. Towery, Sean R. Sadri, and Elisabetta Zengaro

A national survey of 314 Americans was utilized to determine the degree in which sport identification functions similarly to political and religious identification as well as the degree to which each of the three forms of group hyper-identification correlate with violent extremism and violent radicalization. Results found that sport identification correlated with extremism but not radicalization, political identification correlated with both, and religious identification correlated with neither. Moreover, each type of identification positively correlated with the other, and subgroups within each form of identification functioned similarly. Ramifications for social identity theory are advanced, arguing that whether one identifies with these groups appears more pertinent than which group identifies within that identity association regarding propensity for violent extremism and radicalization. Avenues for future research are advanced.

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From Football to Soccer: The Early History of the Beautiful Game in the United States

Adam R. Cocco

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The Sport Marriage: Women Who Make It Work

Linda J. Henderson