This article explores the intersection of representation, management, and race in the National Basketball Association (NBA) through a larger question on the relationship between corporate strategies for managing racialized subjects and popular representations of race. The NBA “brand”is situated in terms of recent developments in corporate and popular culture and then analyzed as an example of diversity management. Relying on original interviews with NBA corporate employees, as well as business and marketing industry reporting, the article analyzes the NBA as simultaneously an organization and a brand. As such, the NBA helps to “articulate” the corporate with the popular, largely through an implied racial project that manages race relations by continuing to equate corporate interests with Whiteness. The analysis contributes to ongoing discussions about the role of sports in perpetuating social disparities based on race at a time when “colorblindness” remains the paradigm of White approaches to race.
Laura Hills and Eileen Kennedy
This analysis of the televising of the 2005 Wimbledon Tennis Championships in the United Kingdom and United States explores how the space of Wimbledon is communicated to different national cultures. The theoretical framing draws on the concepts of deterritorialization developed in Tomlinson’s (1999) work and space invaders as understood by Puwar (2004). A discourse analysis of newspaper reports and television broadcasts demonstrates ways in which the mediation of Wimbledon can be understood as subject to deterritorialization, which opens up the space of Wimbledon to bodies simultaneously marked as insiders and outsiders, revealing tensions around the visibility and invisibility of bodies. We conclude by pointing to the potential of these tensions for disrupting the power dynamics of sport.
Douglas E. Martin and Richard A. Dodder
© 1993 Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
In the early 1970s Spreitzer and Snyder developed the Psychosocial Functions of Sport Scale to assess people’s perceptions of the importance of sport, and they administered this instrument to a sample of Toledo, Ohio, residents. This study reassesses the reliability and construct validity of the scale and examines college students’ perceptions of the importance of sport. Factor analysis and Cronbach’s alpha indicate that Spreitzer and Snyder’s scale meets the criteria of reliability and construct validity. An item analysis indicates that most subjects believe sport to be important for individuals and society. Subjects’ responses to 12 of the 15 items are strikingly similar to the response distribution reported by Spreitzer and Snyder; however, there are notable differences on three of the items, suggesting that the present sample did not view sport as an institution that develops good citizens, promotes fair play, or alleviates drug problems in society.
Athena Yiamouyiannis and Kay Hawes
The 2009–10 Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) data were used to analyze and compare student enrollment, sport participation rates/participants, and scholarship allocation at NCAA Division I, II, and III colleges and their subdivisions from a critical perspective through the lens of feminism. The EADA data included 1,062 NCAA collegiate institutions, with 350 Division I colleges, 209 in Division II, and 420 in Division III. Within Division I, the three subdivisions included I-A (FBS), I-AA (FCS), and I-AAA (without football). For Divisions II and III, findings were reported for colleges with and without football. Of the 6 million students attending NCAA colleges, 54% are female students, while only 43% of sport participants are women, which reflects an 11% gap between female enrollment and sport participation. Scholarship allocation appears to favor women when using the OCR comparison of scholarships to participants; however, the opposite conclusion is drawn based upon additional information.
Peter Millward and George Poulton
This article explores the establishment and development of fan-owned association football club, F.C. United of Manchester. It does this by drawing upon extensive ethnographic fieldwork, including interviews, observations and an analysis of multiple texts, such as fanzines, web-based and media reports materials and discusses this using Herbert Blumer’s theory of collective behavior. As such, the article addresses two research questions: first, what the empirical case example of F.C. United of Manchester offers to the critical understanding of Blumer’s theory and second, what the theory can give to the understanding of twenty-first century protests in popular culture. Therefore this article contributes to contemporary debates on association football fandom, social movements and the theories of Herbert Blumer.
Elizabeth C.J. Pike
The proposal that older people should engage in “active aging” has come to dominate local, national, and international policy agendas. This encompasses a variety of ways that older persons might maintain active citizenship, but invariably promotes physical activity and exercise as having health and social benefits, despite a lack of conclusive evidence to support such claims. In this paper, I further examine the meaning of these claims through an analysis of policy documents, reports, and media articles which promote the perceived benefits of physical activity in later life. I revisit Cohen’s (2002) concepts of folk devils and moral panics to understand how these messages simultaneously problematize older people while creating a market for emergent moral entrepreneurs who claim to have the solution to the problem they have in part created. I conclude with recommendations for improved understanding of the benefits and appropriate provision for active aging.
Brian Wilson and Robert Sparks
This paper examines the impacts of athletic-apparel commercial messages on youth and youth cultures. Sneaker companies routinely use celebrity Black athletes, like Michael Jordan, to help position and market their premium brands. While concerns have been raised over the potential negative impacts of this practice, the processes through which athletic-apparel commercials become interpreted and assimilated into youth cultures have not been well-researched, A study is reported that used focus-group methodology and Radway’s (1991) concept of “interpretive communities” to examine how Black and non-Black male adolescents view sneaker commercials and celebrity Black athletes. This paper explores the ways that “cultural power” and “symbolic power” (Lull, 1995) are exercised by both the sneaker companies that feature celebrity Black athlete spokespersons and by the youth “communities” that consume these images. Overall, the youth in the study comprised two distinct interpretive communities defined by cultural differences related to their distinct social locations and racial identities.
Christopher L. Stevenson
One underreported issue in the research on Christian athletes has been the difficulties these athletes experience in living with the demands and expectations of the dominant culture of elite, competitive sport. Data were derived from in-depth interviews with 31 elite athletes (23 males and 8 females), who were also professing Christians and associated with the evangelical organization, Athletes-in-Action. The athletes reported that it was by turning to or returning to an evangelical Christian faith that they were better able to cope with their problems and with the demands of the culture of elite, competitive sport. Discussion of these findings included a consideration of Coakley’s (1994) model “of conflict, doubt, and resolution,” which attempts to represent the conflicts experienced by Christian athletes in elite sport, and the approaches they take to assuage these conflicts.
Donald Chu and David Griffey
The contact theory of racial integration is examined in this survey of the behaviors and attitudes of secondary school students and student-athletes. Self-report questionnaires were completed by 1,082 subjects in the urban upstate New York area. Subjects were evaluated on two behavioral (race of students talked to, race of students phoned) and three attitudinal (like more friends of other races, choose interracial school, or races smarter than others) dependent variables. Dependent measures were evaluated relative to their correlations with a number of independent variables (athlete/nonathlete, individual or cooperative sport played, sport experience, won-lost record, exposure to minorities, sex, social status). Results of the study argue for consideration of the contact theory’s applicability to the sport situation.
Sarah R. Crissey and Joy Crissey Honea
This study examines the relationship between sport participation and perceptions of body size and weight-loss strategies among adolescent girls. Using a sample of 7,214 girls, ages 12–18 years, from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we find that girls who participate in stereotypically feminine sports are more likely to report feeling overweight, attempt to lose weight, and use multiple weight-loss strategies compared with nonathletes. We also find that the associations for weight loss, but not overweight perception, are generally weaker for non-White girls. These findings suggest that participation in stereotypically feminine sports, particularly for White girls, might exacerbate body image and dieting problems associated with dominant gender roles, but participation in stereotypically masculine sports does not.