Drawing on an extensive archive of media texts collected between 2014 and 2019, we trace shifting representations of the National Football League in discourse on painkiller use among its players. We argue that in contrast to earlier eras, an image of the league as an exploitative and corrupt institution has come to the fore. Clustered around the announcement of a series of player lawsuits, these discourses are tempered by the persistence of narratives of personal responsibility and the elision of racial logics that predetermine athletes’ subjection to pain and injury. Situating our analysis in the context of the drug wars and the profit motive of the National Football League, we argue that these discourses both reflect and contribute to the workings of racial capitalism across the professional football and pharmaceutical industries.
Matt Ventresca and Samantha King
Natalie Brown-Devlin, Michael B. Devlin, and Vincent Peña
To examine the relationship among identification, fan expectations, and sponsorship outcomes, this study examined Alabama and Clemson fan expectations and responses to the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) football championship game outcome. This case study sought to understand how fans of winning and losing teams evaluated a sporting event’s sponsor following the conclusion of an event, positing that highly identified fans would demonstrate a halo effect, and report favorable attitudes toward the sponsoring brand as suggested by previous research. However, there is a lack of theoretical evidence regarding consumer expectations when applied within the context of sport. Thus, using the theoretical framework of identification and expectation violation theory, the authors inquired to what extent the outcome of the game and one’s expectations of the outcome influenced their evaluation of the event sponsor. The results support previous research regarding potential halo effects, but also add nuance to earlier work demonstrating that a halo effect is not unilaterally applied for all fans. Given the unpredictable nature of sport and the increasing cost of sponsoring sporting events, these findings help explain the extent to which violations of one’s expected outcome affect subsequent evaluations of a sponsor.
Jordan Maclean and Justine Allen
While there is increasing recognition that sport is sociomaterial, little is known about what this means for an analysis of coaching practice. This paper develops a cartography of coaching based on an actor–network theory ethnography of two volunteer football coaches’ practices in Scotland. A sociomaterial analysis generates anecdotes that are reordered into five parts: (a) moving from the eleven-a-side game toward a field of practice, (b) delegation, (c) quasi-object, (d) interruptions, and (e) manufacturing. Each part is accompanied with an analytical move inspired by Latourian actor–network theory. Coaching is conceptualized as a field of practice resting on three propositions. The first proposition is that coaches intervene by fabricating passages in practices which are always under construction. The second proposition is that materials and materiality shape practices in ways which can make players more, or less, disciplined. And the third proposition is for a local and situated sociomaterial competence where nonhumans are matters of concern. Coaching with Latour paves the way for a new space in the sociology of sport for studies dedicated to the sociomateriality of sport.
Sayvon J.L. Foster, John N. Singer, and Joseph N. Cooper
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have made notable social, cultural, and economic contributions to the African Diaspora, particularly since their inception in the United States. Being that HBCU athletic programs account for a small proportion of the intercollegiate athletic industry, these unique entities are often examined in the same vein as their Historically White Institution counterparts without a full account of the intergenerational adverse impacts of systemic racism. Since HBCUs are situated within the distinct context of Blackness, the researchers offer a reconceptualization through the theoretical lens of Black Critical Theory. This manuscript illuminates linkages across extant literature, while also presenting a budding theoretical framework in the study of sport, and sport organizations, that have deeply embedded relationships with communities, for example, HBCUs and the Black community, stickball and lacrosse within Indigenous communities, and the relationship between women and womens’ sports leagues. Implications of this work are centered on promoting more critical reconceptualizations of sporting spaces that reflect the full diversity of the societies in which they exist.
Helene Joncheray, Sabine Chavinier-Réla, Fabrice Burlot, Sébastien Dalgalarrondo, and Stéphane Fukazawa-Couckuyt
The objective of this article was to describe the experiences of normalization of pain and injuries among elite adolescent basketball players and their staff. A total of 10 elite adolescent basketball players, ages 15–17 years and eight members of their staff, were interviewed. Results showed that (a) for both players and staff, being able to normalize pain is considered as a necessity and requires experience; injury is regarded as inevitable and as a way to gain body expertise and (b) technical and medical staffs have difficulties in agreeing on pain and injury management. The originality of the results presented lies in the fact that the elite players interviewed are in training; and that the expectations of the players, the technical staff, and the medical staff were questioned at the same time.