“Futures—Past,” A Reflection of 40 Years of the Sociology of Sport Journal: An Introduction
Letisha Engracia Cardoso Brown, Chen Chen, Tomika Ferguson, Courtney Szto, Anthony Jean Weems, and Natalie Welch
An xG of Their Own: Using Expected Goals to Explore the Analytical Shortcomings of Misapplied Gender Schemas in Football
Sachin Narayanan and N. David Pifer
Although professional women’s football has benefitted from recent surges in popularity, challenges to progress and distinguish the sport persist. The gender-schema theory explains the tendency for individuals to hold female sports to male standards, a phenomenon that leads to negative outcomes in areas such as media representation and consumer perception. One area in which schemas have a more discreet effect is player and team performance, where the assumption that technical metrics developed in men’s football are transferable to women’s football remains unfounded. Using expected goals, a metric synonymous with the probability of a shot being scored, we highlight how variables important to shot quality and shot execution differ across gender, and how attempts to evaluate female footballers with models built on men’s data increase estimation errors. These results have theoretical and practical implications for the role they play in reframing schemas and improving the methods used to evaluate performance in women’s sports.
“What Have I Learned . . . ” and How Did I Get There? Reflection on a Research Journey
Receiving a lifetime award allows one to pause and reflect on one’s research journey. In the spirit of Earle Zeigler himself, I reflect on: “What I have learned . . . ” on my research journey, and more specifically on how I got there. My research has always focused on the interaction between sport, economics, and society and evolved: “From socio-economic impacts on sport participation to socio-economic outcomes of sport events.” To cover 40 years of research, I am highlighting how: (a) “triggers,” (b) “influencers,” and (c) “lessons learned” intermingled to push my research agenda forward. This reflection proved to be a very gratifying exercise. I can highly recommend it to all researchers. Perhaps, this can become a stepping stone to be promoted to the rank of Prof. Emeritus or Emerita. Either way, sharing our experiences may trigger, inspire, and advance the learning of future generations of sport management scholars.
Brittney Griner, Intersectionality, and “Woke Politics”: A Critical Examination of Brittney Griner’s Return to the United States
Ajhanai C.I. Keaton, Evan Frederick, Keisha Branch, and Ann Pegoraro
In February of 2022, professional women’s basketball player Brittney Griner was detained in Russia on drug possession charges. Her detainment was a trending Twitter topic demonstrating the cultural, political, and social state of the United States, specifically pertaining to race, gender, nationality, and LGBTQ matters. The purpose of this study was to analyze what Brittney Griner’s release from Russia tells us about social power relations and contemporary social political matters on the axis of race, gender, and sexual orientation. We organized the data to determine three distinct, yet interconnected themes: (a) Woke Politics at the Intersection of Race, Gender, and Queerness; (b) Preferential Treatment at the Expense of Whiteness Informed Patriotism; and (c) Intersectionality as Political Pandering.
Indigenizing Sport Research: Analyzing Protective Factors of Exercising Sovereignty in North America
Alisse Ali-Joseph, Kelsey Leonard, and Natalie Welch
Indigenous Peoples have an inherent responsibility and right to “exercising” sovereignty—the practice of sport and physical activity in performance of our cultural, political, and spiritual citizenship. By exercising this inherent right and responsibility, sport has the power for communities to reenvision their futures. Sport and physical activity are highly regarded and practiced in multiple contexts within Indigenous communities. Utilizing Indigenous ways of knowing, practices of resurgence, Indigenous activism, and Indigenous responses to political and cultural injustices, we apply the five protective factors of “exercising” sovereignty, including community, relationality, strength, abundance, and resilience to analyze Indigenous sport research in North America.
Letter From the Editor
Twice Invisible, Twice Clandestine. Football and Lesbianism in Spain During the Years of Democratic Transition (1970–1982)
Dolors Ribalta Alcalde and Xavier Pujadas
The main objective of this paper is to analyze the relationship between women’s football and lesbianism during the 1970s in Spain as well as the invisibility characteristics of this group of women in the context of the invisibility of women’s football in this period and in the context of the political transition until 1982. In the repressive context of late Francoism and given the validity until 1978 of laws that expressly persecuted homosexuality, social, cultural, legal, and political pressure had a very important impact on lesbian women who participated in the incipient practice of football in Spain in the 1970s. Some of these players built gay social networks through sports clubs and later started clandestine meetings in bars and private celebrations. The period studied—between 1970 and 1982—coincided with the rebirth of women’s football in Spain and the international emergence of this sport. The research has been based on the use of in-depth interview as a method and historiographical technique that has allowed us to obtain the life stories of nine lesbian or heterosexual women football players in different Spanish cities (who in general have lived and live in a private sexual identity) and two coaches linked to women’s teams. These sources have been expanded and contrasted from others of a documentary nature (specialized press and bibliography) to reconstruct the context studied and contrast the reliability of the information collected. In conclusion, it has been established that, despite the low visibility of women’s football and homosexuality, the legal pressure of the period and the opposition of the public authorities and institutions of the dictatorship, the field of football allowed these women to overcome some of the difficulties in the process of building their identity and discrimination based on sexual orientation. In turn, support networks—especially of teammates—private parties and atmosphere bars, were fundamental to the life experience of young lesbian athletes in the still repressive context of the end of the Franco dictatorship and the first years of the young democratic regime in Spain.
The Penalty That’s Never Called: Sexism in Men’s Hockey Culture
Teresa Anne Fowler, Shannon D.M. Moore, and Tim Skuce
During the summer of 2022, Hockey Canada faced a reckoning regarding its outright denial of the ways in which gender-based violence is a part of hockey culture. This paper shares data from a study that involved qualitative interviews with semi/professional men’s ice hockey players regarding their resistance to the expectations of hypermasculinity in hockey culture. Hypermasculinity is the elevated status of traits that promote violence, stoicism, and aggression and that privileges the locker-room code of silence. Participants spoke about the dangers of playing through pain as well as the precarity of their roles on their teams due to policing strategies that put the team before anything else. The participants were less direct about the ways sexism and misogyny are used as a means to improve team bonding and performance, yet stories of sexism and misogyny were riddled throughout the data. Our analysis brings together Bourdieu’s concept of misrecognition to gain understanding as to why sexism remains/ed silent and Freire’s conscientization to promote more dialogic encounters to clear the air of sexism in men’s ice hockey.
The Case for Marxist–Leninist Sport: Going Beyond the Limitations of Western Liberalism
The sociology of sport has developed within and been intricately involved in the critique of neoliberalism. While important, there are certain limitations to this scholarship that are related to the nature of Western liberalism and academia. This paper attempts to argue a role for Marxist–Leninist thought in the sociology of sport. Historically excluded from academia after World War II, this bias is part of what Gabriel Rockhill has described as the “Global Theory Industry,” that decries socialism while remaining favorable to Western liberal capitalism. The anti-communism of the theory industry means that much of the work on neoliberalism and Marxism in the sociology of sport has ignored the experiences and efforts of socialist countries, as well as theorists from the Global South. This article broadly critiques existing neoliberal and Marxist studies of sport while arguing that a Marxist–Leninist approach may give those in the field a better account of sport and its relationship to domestic and global politics.
Through the Decades: Critical Race Theory and Pathways Forward in Sport Sociology Research
Jonathan E. Howe, Ajhanai C.I. Keaton, Sayvon J.L. Foster, and A. Lamont Williams
Critical race theory (CRT) is a powerful framework and methodological tool for sport scholars and practitioners to incorporate into their work. While CRT tenets vary depending on discipline, individuals utilizing the framework understand the permanence of racism and how it is institutionalized within various social structures. In honor of the 40th year of the Sociology of Sport Journal, we conducted a review of the journal to assess how CRT has been used among sport sociologists. After reflecting on the 40-year history of Sociology of Sport Journal, we argue for the continued use of CRT and CRT extensions to fulfill the maximum potential of this foundational framework to achieve its goals of emancipation, social justice, and racial equity. We conclude by discussing the future of CRT in sport sociology research and practice in a post “racial reckoning” society, specifically within the U.S. context.