Recent scholarship suggests that women in martial arts and combat sports have increasingly begun to undo gender by challenging gender norms and constructing new femininities. Most of this research, however, has focused on gender dynamics within martial arts and combat sports settings, rather than outside of them. For this study, I conducted semistructured interviews with 40 professional women’s mixed martial arts athletes to examine the extent to which these women challenged gender norms in their intimate relationships. My data revealed that because they possess traits that are traditionally interpreted as masculine, many of the heterosexual women in my sample actually oversubscribe to gender norms in their intimate relationships to combat feelings of feminine insecurity. I argue, therefore, that rather than undoing gender, these women overdo gender in their intimate relationships. This study provides a cautionary tale to the celebrations of undoing gender for women combat sports athletes.
This study contextualizes replay within the discourse of sport media. Drawing on discourse as theory, the author articulates how replay functions within the sportscast as adjudication, arguably the most compelling yet contentious aspect of the live sportscast. Not only does replay function within sport media discourse, but it also operates within a broader cultural context. Given sport media’s key locus within the entertainment industry, the use of replay is a key technological innovation that has brought even more consolidation and coordination between sport media and the sport leagues and organizations. Replay is media’s contribution to maintaining the veneer of integrity through a quest for certitude. As an analytical strategy, the intertextuality of replay provides an opportunity to interrogate whose interests are being served and consolidated in the mobilization of this technology within affective economies that satisfy a neoliberal sensibility.
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.
Adam Love, Alexander Deeb and Lars Dzikus
In the 2016 National Football League (NFL) Draft, Moritz Böhringer became the first international player ever selected without having previously played in North America. The current study examined media coverage of Böhringer during the process of him being identified as an NFL prospect, working out for NFL scouts, being drafted, and trying to make an NFL roster. Ultimately, Böhringer was framed as an international experiment that produced serious interest from NFL teams and created a “feel good” story for fans. The study contributes to the broader understanding of sport, media, race, and nationality, illustrating how Böhringer—despite being a foreign athlete in a quintessentially American sport—was presented as a “breath of fresh air” that provided welcome relief from the “bad apples” in the league.
Damian Haslett, Javier Monforte, Inhyang Choi and Brett Smith
In 2019, the International Paralympic Committee produced a new strategy that highlighted the need to promote disability activism through Para sport. The purpose of this study is to understand what promoting disability activism through Para sport means to key stakeholders within an Irish national-level sociopolitical and Para sport context. Three groups of Irish stakeholders participated in interviews. Data were analyzed using a reflexive thematic analysis. Three themes were generated: social responsibility, identity performance, and Paralympic discourse. Within each theme, different stakeholders drew on different activist discourses to argue for and against promoting activism. This article poses significant challenges to the International Paralympic Committee’s strategy. Challenges are addressed by highlighting nine activist discourses that could have practical implications when promoting activism in different sociopolitical and Para sport contexts.
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.
Kerry R. McGannon and Ted M. Butryn
In this study, scholarship was extended on the cultural meanings of race and athlete activism by interrogating one key media spectacle surrounding athlete protests: President Trump’s 2017 speech questioning the National Football League (NFL) players’ character, with a focus on NFL owners’ responses. The NFL owners’ statements (n = 32) were subjected to critical discourse analysis. Discourses of post-racial nationalism and functionalism and the subject positions of “good player citizen” and “benevolent facilitator” (re)created meanings of the protests devoid of racial politics, linked to ideologies of color blindness, meritocracy, and diversity. These discourses and subject positions allowed the NFL owners to control protest meanings to maintain White privilege and appeal to their White fan base. These findings expand research on color-blind racism in sport, which perpetuates neoliberal ideals and the myth of a post-racial America, via taken-for-granted language use within discourses.
Henk Erik Meier and Cosima von Uechtriz
Athletic success in women’s sports, in particular in women’s soccer, is strongly linked to macrolevel gender equality within societies. There is also evidence that macrolevel gender equality matters for sport consumption. This study explored the role of mesolevel institutions for the popularity of women’s soccer. The example of reunified Germany illustrates that macrolevel gender equality might be less important for the popularity of women’s sport than mesolevel gender equality, that is, policy priorities adopted by sport associations and other actors involved in sport policymaking. The study comes with practical implications for the future popularity of women’s soccer.
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.