Baseball and rap music are often not considered culturally or historically synonymous, but a shift appears underway. This research examines how 239 rap lyrics reach across the formerly confined (mostly racialized) boundaries of baseball to engage the sport through its reference to 128 baseball players. A thematic analysis explores how the languages of baseball and rap culture intersect through linguistic translation. The authors develop a broad understanding of the positive and negative “baller” references, and how it could affect the future growth of baseball role models for Black youth athletes. Thus, baseball “text” as a source language translates to rap “text” as a target language to form a commonly constructed language at an intersection of music, sports, and masculinity.
Travis R. Bell and Victor D. Kidd
C. Keith Harrison, Rhema Fuller, Whitney Griffin, Scott Bukstein, Danielle McArdle, and Steven Barnhart
The purpose of this paper is to contextualize and analyze the lyrics of Tupac Shakur by using the research methodological approach of concatenation to merge hip-hop and sport so that the qualitative data from these songs might serve as a cultural map to constructs of identity, race, social class, and black masculinity in the context of sport and the black male athlete experience in America. Applying critical race theory and White’s framework of black masculinity and the politics of racial performance, a connection is made with themes of the artists’ (rapper) social commentary and the athlete (baller). The themes from Tupac Shakur’s lyrics are follows: (a) Trapped, (b) Against the World, (c) The Streetz R Death, and (d) Ambitionz. Synergy with the rapper and baller are articulated, as well as implications for scholars and practitioners that work with high school, collegiate, and professional black male athletes, along with other men of color.
Earl Smith and Angela J. Hattery
P Diddy’s Bad Boy for Life video provides a strategic point of departure in the quest for values and community, sui generis, in SportsWorld. This study poses an interruption to the “ideological” articulations of discourse on the relationship between hip-hop music and sports by providing an examination of empirical and scientific data inside of SportsWorld. There is a carefully crafted narrative about the coexistence among Black American athletes, SportsWorld, and hip-hop music. From the beginning of Black athletes’ entry into the White spaces of the so-called level playing field of sports—from National Association of Stock Car Racing to the National Hockey Association to Major League Baseball to National Basketball Association—this integration upsets the norms of both civility and history; because for many in White America, the belief persists that these same athletes were not then and should not be today in those sacred spaces. From Jackie Robinson to the Williams Sisters to Jack Johnson to Tiger Woods to Althea Gibson to Fritz Pollard and, of course, Muhammad Ali—all of these pioneers suffered the indignities of racial discrimination. As Smith argues in his 2014 book Race, Sport and the American Dream, fast forward, deep inside the second aught of the 21st century, it is often assumed that the addition of hip-hop music to the pregame and half-time entertainment at ballparks, basketball arenas, stadiums, and ice hockey arenas signals a welcoming to the Black Athlete and their fans. Using a Marxian lens, this study argues that both these assumptions are no more than the ideology of beliefs that Marx describes as “fantasies and illusions” or more straightforward a “phantasmagoria.” These fantasies and illusions show up as a laterna magica projecting images on society and in SportsWorld, where these can be described as commodity fetishism. Through the authors' empirical analysis of data on segregation and integration in SportsWorld, they demonstrate that things are not always as they seem.
Callie Batts Maddox
In 2020, baseball and softball will return to the Olympics after a twelve-year absence. Leading the effort to secure reinstatement was the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the international governing body for the two sports established in 2013 upon the merging of the International Baseball Federation and the International Softball Federation. Faced with continual threats of Olympic exclusion, the WBSC offers a unique model of global governance in that one federation is in charge of two very different sports. The history and work of the WBSC is made more complicated by the gendered bifurcation of baseball and softball, and systemic cultural beliefs that mark baseball as male and softball as female. Utilizing this gendered tension as a guiding framework, this article traces the emergence of the WBSC and suggests that the global governance of two sports under the single banner of the WBSC risks reproducing long-standing gender stereotypes and assumptions.
Michael B. Devlin, Kenon A. Brown, Natalie Brown-Devlin, and Andrew C. Billings
Nationalistic notions are embedded within every part of the Olympic Games, inculcating feelings pertaining to one’s nation. Previous research examined the degree to which one is affected by portrayals of nationalism during international sporting events, finding that media consumption and results increase nationalistic feelings. However, such analyses rarely infused overarching fandom into the equation and failed to make global comparisons. This study surveyed 2,245 people from three continents in six different nations (Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and the United States) to examine nationalistic attitudes during the 2018 Winter Olympics and subsequent effects. Significant differences between nationalized qualities manifested between each continent, as did their paths to becoming a fan and consuming content.
Cecilia Stenling and Michael Sam
Despite an increase of advocacy by established nongovernmental sport organizations, little is known about how advocacy is enacted and with what effects. Building conceptually on frame alignment theory and empirically on interview data from 19 Swedish Regional Sport Federations, this article investigates how advocates politicize sport to gain “insider status” and analyses the by-products of such efforts. This research demonstrates that the architecture of advocacy claims perpetuates a separation between organizations that “sell” sport from those that “produce” it. Framing also impels centralized authority because advocates safeguard their credibility as political actors by taking up a “leadership-position” vis-à-vis clubs. Advocacy frame alignment has further by-products insofar as they narrow advocates’ room for maneuver and become institutionalized over time.
This paper examines the governing body of international gymnastics, the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) and its relationship with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It outlines the nature of the relationship between the two bodies and how that relationship has historically impacted the resulting policy of both organizations. In particular, this research focuses on three main areas of policy. The first is economics and the shift from amateur to professional and commercial gymnastics. When the IOC began to develop commercial interests, the FIG feared losing its purity if it was to follow suit. Second, it explores policy surrounding gender. This is particularly relevant in a sport where each discipline is not only categorized by gender, but also contested on the basis of performance-gendered ideals. And finally, this research examines athlete welfare. Gymnastics is known for its young, docile participant base and, more recently, cases of sexual abuse in the United States. While a range of protective policies have since been created, what existed at an international level before then? I argue that the FIG has had to work within the confines of its Olympic remit in order to retain its relevance to the Olympic behemoth and its inclusion in the Games as gymnastics’ pinnacle event. At the same time, the FIG has mediated Olympic policy and exerted the will of the IOC over stakeholders in gymnastics. Moreover, this relationship is symbiotic: gymnastics is one of the top three most popular Olympic sports, attracting viewership and its attendant commercial benefits to the Games. This research is based on FIG bulletins and IOC correspondence, and it builds on a range of secondary works about the role of International Federations, their policies, and their rules in shaping the sports they govern.