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A. Lamont Williams

if it was tears or water flowing. “Athlete” me kicks in: I beat my chest with my fists I slapped my face aggressively in the typical “wake up” athlete fashion in hopes of “hyping myself up.” You didn’t know him, he was a celebrity athlete , I think to myself. He’s just a guy I watch play a game on

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Kathy Babiak and Stacy-Lynn Sant

The transformative promise of philanthropy can bring attention to the need for social change. Celebrities, such as high-profile professional athletes, exercise tremendous influence over the public consciousness, which leads to greater connections and significant prominence in public life

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Lindsey M. Eliopulos and Jay Johnson

The purpose of this article is to examine the sport–celebrity relationship of singer–actress Jessica Simpson and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. This qualitative analysis of 100 magazine and 100 newspaper articles that coincided with the first publicized notion of the “Jessica [Simpson] Jinx” reveals the prevailing dominant ideologies of patriarchal structures, traditional gender roles, hegemonic masculinity, and deviance. This study uncovers typologies that mirror the archetypal sporting partnership, for example, Simpson’s feminine position as a “supporter” and her function as an “antagonist” (e.g., the femme fatale, Yoko Ono) and Romo’s position as a hegemonic male (the new-laddist, maverick sporting star) and victim. Through developing these themes, the researchers illustrate the concepts of villainization and victimization in the mass media, where Simpson was portrayed unfavorably. Romo, conversely, was portrayed favorably in the press, suggesting the need to maintain the patriarchal order while restraining female dominance.

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John Harris

Ray Gravell first achieved fame as a member of the great Welsh rugby team of the 1970s. After his playing career was over he moved into the national media, working as an actor and a broadcaster. This article examines obituaries and other newspaper accounts after the death of Gravell and the ways in which celebrity is consumed and (re)presented. It looks at cultures of commemoration in both the mourning and the celebration of this figure and analyzes how the past and the present are (re)presented in a complex interplay of imagining the nation. In an analysis informed by social identities research it explores Gravell’s symbolic significance and positions him as the last Prince of Wales.

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Ellis Cashmore and Andrew Parker

Sporting celebrities are not regularly discussed within the broader realms of sociological debate. Yet that is not to say that their identities cannot offer insight into wider patterns of cultural change. Indeed, it is our contention within this paper that the reverse is true: that analyses of the autobiographical details of contemporary sports figures represent key sites through which cultural change can be viewed. To this end, we take one sporting icon of the present time, soccer star David Beckham, and assess his popular cultural image in terms of its contribution to debates surrounding identity, consumption, and the social construction of masculinities. Our central thesis is that while Beckham affords all the hallmarks of celebrity status, his identity remains both fluid and negotiable in accordance with the role and audience he seeks to address and the ends he seeks to achieve.

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Cheryl L. Cole and Amy Hribar

We interrogate Nike’s implication in the developments of 1980s and 1990s popular feminisms by contextualizing and examining the advertising strategies deployed by Nike in its efforts to seduce women consumers. Although Nike is represented as progressive and pro-women, we demonstrate Nike’s alliance with normative forces dominating 1980s America. We suggest that Nike’s solicitation relies on the logic of addiction, which demonized those people most affected by post-Fordist dynamics. While Nike’s narrations of “empowerment” appeal to a deep, authentic self located at the crossroads of power and lifestyle, we suggest that these narratives offer ways of thinking/identities that impede political action. Finally, we consider the relations among Nike, celebrity feminism, and the complex and invisible dynamics that enable transnationals to exploit Third World women workers.

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Megan Chawansky and Jessica Margaret Francombe

This paper explores issues of sport, sponsorship, and consumption by critically interrogating the mass-mediated “coming out” narratives of professional golfer, Rosie Jones, and professional basketball player, Sheryl Swoopes. Both athletes came out publicly as gay in light of endorsements received by Olivia Cruises and Resorts—a company that serves lesbian travelers—thus marking a significant shift in the relationship between lesbian subjectivity, sport, and sponsorship. A concern with a neoliberal-infused GLBT politics underscores our analysis, and a close reading of these narratives raises complex questions about the corporatization of coming out and the existence of lesbian celebrity in sport.

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George N. Kioussis

. However, as Joel Nathan Rosen and Maureen M. Smith remind us in More than Cricket and Football , the study of sport celebrity need not be limited to Britain’s pastimes par excellence or the North American “big four.” Instead, scholars would be wise to broaden their horizons and probe different cases and

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Sarah Wolter

In 2002, Ty Votaw, then commissioner of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), introduced a marketing plan called the Five Points of Celebrity, which included performance, approachability, passion and joy, appearance, and relevance. Votaw endorsed the Five Points of Celebrity as a way for women golfers to succeed in a competitive sports and entertainment marketplace. Rhetorical criticism of the Five Points of Celebrity using the framework of gender as performance reveals the underlying homophobic notions of the plan. First, Votaw presents the plan as a way to cater to what fans in a sports and entertainment marketplace desire. Second, the plan supports athletes’ displaying femininity to compensate for displaying traditionally masculine characteristics while participating in sport. Third, presentation of femininity emerges as a concomitant presentation of heterosexuality to subvert the “image problem” of LPGA of athletes being perceived as lesbians.

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Matthew G. Hawzen and Joshua I. Newman

In this article, we explore the media and cultural politics of former National Football League (NFL) quarterback Tim Tebow. More specifically, we investigate paradoxical and contradictory media representations of Tebow as his celebrity surfaced within, and came to dominate, the Obama-era ‘American’ media landscape. In so doing, we draw lines of articulation from Tebow—as performative and representative embodiment of white identity politics and Christian fundamentalism—to broader frames of nation-based morality and racialized meritocracy. We end the article with a discussion on why mediated and mediating Tebow—as framed in contradictory yet religiously significant ways—was at once polarizing and codifying in the media’s ability to galvanize a contextually-significant set of cultural and racial politics.

Dans cet article, nous explorons les politiques médiatiques et culturelles de l’ancien quarterback de la National Football League (NFL) Tim Tebow. Plus spécifiquement, nous étudions les représentations médiatiques paradoxales et contradictoires de Tebow étant donné que sa célébrité est apparue, et a fini par dominer, le paysage médiatique ‘américain’ pendant l’ère Obama. Pour ce faire, nous envisageons l’articulation de pistes allant de Tebow – en tant qu’incarnation performative et représentative des politiques identitaires blanches et du fondamentalisme chrétien – à des cadres plus larges de moralité nationale et de méritocratie racialisée. Nous terminons l’article sur une discussion expliquant pourquoi le médiatique et médiatisé Tebow – décrit dans des termes significativement contradictoires bien que religieux – a été immédiatement polarisé et codifié par la capacité des médias à galvaniser un ensemble contextuellement significatif de politiques culturelles et raciales.