A constitutive view of metaphor is used to examine speeches of Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan. This analysis shows Johnson’s establishment of the metaphor of the footrace to describe life in the United States and Reagan’s attempt to contest this metaphor. Johnson’s rhetoric appealed to the notion of the “starting line” and the need for government to establish equal competitive conditions. Reagan appealed to the “runners” and argued that individual competitors need to rely on athletic “character” rather than government to succeed. It is argued that attention to the sport metaphor in public discourse as well as to the theoretical points raised in its analysis is needed in the sociology of sport.
Stephan R. Walk
A debate over the quality of teacher education programs has been ongoing for nearly 100 years. The most current round in this debate started with Α Nation at Risk (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983) and has escalated in recent years to involve an increasing number of participant-constituents, each of whom has voiced an opinion about the preparation of teachers. The purpose of this article is to analyze several of the key participant-constituents in this debate in regards to their expressed warrants, authority, rhetoric, and strategic action plans for improving teacher education. The paper will conclude with some prognostications about how the results of this debate could influence the conduct of P–12 physical education programs and, by extension, physical education teacher education in coming years.
Erin Whiteside and Marie Hardin
This study explores assumptions about the relationship between sport and gender through a textual analysis of newspaper editorials on Title IX from 2002 to 2005. Through the analysis we found that none of the articles opposed Title IX outright. The arguments in the editorials used a liberal feminist rationale that positioned women and men as equally deserving of civil rights protections and the institution of sports as needing to become gender-neutral to provide those protections. An “oppositional reading” of these editorials from a radical feminist perspective, however, found the assumption that the practice and values of sports are naturally masculine; thus, sports ultimately belong to men. The analysis illuminated the shortcomings of the liberal feminist rhetoric and the need for more radical voices to move women’s sports from a defensive to an empowered position in U.S. culture.
espnW is ESPN, Inc.’s, first entity targeted at female fans and female athletes. espnW portrays female athletes as competent sportswomen and serious competitors as measured by quantitative analysis of photographs and articles on the site. A more critical look at the discourse, however, reveals 2 major themes. First, divergent dialogues are used in espnW articles to reify relations of power and privilege for male athletes. Divergent dialogues appear in articles on espnW in the forms of descriptive language used for female athletes, mention of nonsporting topics that have little or nothing to do with athleticism, and direct references to physical/personality attributes. Second, positioning espnW as “additive content” to ESPN for female fans relies on ideas of natural sexual difference and choice. If the institution of sport is defined by masculinity and partially upheld by traditional sports journalism, women are excluded.
James A. Mathisen and Gerald S. Mathisen
This article provides a sociorhetorical analysis of the April 25, 1989, NBC telecast of “Black Athletes—Fact and Fiction.” It applies Toulmin’s (1958) model of the structure of argumentation to identify the major claims, data, and warrants Tom Brokaw used to construct the program and argues that a racist rhetorical structure resulted. We posit that the racism lay in the claims Brokaw made, the data he utilized, the inferences he drew from selected sources, and the absence of alternative explanations. The sociological implications of such a racist rhetorical structure are explored.
Katherine L. Lavelle
The re/production of Chinese cultural identity is often fraught with contradictions. When China’s Yao Ming was drafted Number 1 in the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft, he was supposed to reinforce and transcend Chinese/ Asian identity. Yao’s entrance into the NBA signaled a new understanding of Asian identity in the United States. To study this phenomenon, the author examined commentary from television broadcasts of U.S. NBA games featuring a prominent Asian athlete (Yao Ming) using critical discourse analysis. Analysis of 13 games from Yao Ming’s 2nd and 3rd seasons revealed that Yao is linguistically constructed as a panethnic Asian/Chinese person. In addition, the analysis upholds the stereotypes that Asian people are a “model minority” and unfit to play professional sports. Given the dearth of Asian players in the NBA, how do linguistic representations of Yao Ming in game commentary reinforce Asian and Chinese cultural stereotypes or create a new identity of China?
Josh Compton and Jordan Compton
Open letters offer a unique focus for rhetorical analysis in sport communication, forming a message that is both interpersonal (the attempt to reflect dialogue through a letter writer and its recipients) and public (the “open” part of the open letter). The National Football League (NFL) attempted image repair when it used open letters to respond to accusations that it was not doing enough to protect athletes against devastating effects of concussions. Through the use of Benoit’s theory of image repair, the authors found that Commissioner Goodell’s open letters relied on 2 main image-repair strategies: reducing offensiveness and corrective action. They consider the implications of these rhetorical choices for the complicated merging areas of sport, communication, and health in the NFL’s open letters.
Michael P. Sam
National taskforces and inquiries are used extensively by governments wishing to review their involvement in sport. Underpinning these reviews are dominant ideas like “national unity” or “excellence.” Ideas matter in public policy because they form the basis for framing political judgments and because their meanings are continually translated into future plans and actions (Hoppe, 1993). This study investigates the role of ideas in shaping and circumscribing the findings and recommendations emanating from a national taskforce in New Zealand. Information was gathered through interviews with Taskforce members, observations of public consultations, and analysis of submitted documents. Key ideas included notions of efficiency, competitiveness, and leadership. These ideas are discussed, focusing in particular on their contradictory/paradoxical nature and their role in (re)producing power relations. The paper concludes with future research questions and a call for more critical investigations into sport policy-making.
Steve Booth Marston
over predominantly Black players, Stern’s declaration of punitive enforcement echoed the racialized “crime” discourse, in which Chicago’s neighborhoods were often highlighted, that constructed Black cultural pathology in need of paternalistic management. With an eye to such events and rhetoric, this