Sport in Society:
Issues & Controversies

Sports and Children:

Are Organized Programs Worth the Effort?

Origins of Organized
Youth Sports

Organized youth sports emerged in the 20th Century

The first programs focused on “masculinizing” boys

Organized youth sports grew rapidly in many industrialized countries after World War II

Programs in the U.S. emphasized competition as preparation for future occupational success

Girls’ interests generally were ignored

Social Changes Related to the Growth of Organized Youth Sports

Increase in working families

New definitions of “good parent”

Growing belief that informal activities lead to trouble for kids

Growing belief that the world is dangerous  for children

Increased visibility of high-performance and professional sports in society


Major Trends in
Youth Sports Today

Organized programs have become increasingly privatized

Organized programs increasingly emphasize the “performance ethic”

An increase in “elite training” facilities

Increased participation in “alternative sports”

Youth Sports:
Types of Sponsors

nPublic, tax-supported community recreation programs

nPublic non-profit community organizations

nPrivate nonprofit sport organizations

nPrivate commercial clubs

Youth Sport Programs

Growth is associated with the decline in publicly funded programs

Most common in middle- and upper-middle income areas

May reproduce economic and ethnic inequalities in society

May not be committed to gender equity

Private programs are not accountable in the same way as public programs

The “Performance Ethic”

Refers to emphasizing measured outcomes as indicators of the quality of sport experiences

Fun = becoming better

Emphasized in private programs

Related to parental notions of investing in their children’s future

Elite Sport Training Programs

Most common in private, commercial programs

Emphasize the potential for children to gain material rewards through sports

Children often “work” long hours and become like “laborers,” but programs are not governed by child labor laws

Raise ethical issues about adult-child relationships


New Interests in
Alternative Sports

A response to highly structured, adult-controlled organized programs

Revolve around desires to be expressive and spontaneous

May have high injury rates and patterns of exclusion related to gender and social class

Are being appropriated by large corporations for advertising purposes

Different Experiences

Formal Sports Emphasize:

Formal rules

Set positions

Systematic guidance by adults

Status and outcomes

Informal Sports Emphasize:


Personal involvement

Challenging experiences

Reaffirming friendships

Different Outcomes

Formal Sports Emphasize:

Relationships with  authority figures

Learning rules and strategies

Rule-governed teamwork & achievement

Informal Sports Emphasize:

Interpersonal & decision-making skills



Problem solving


When Are Children Ready to Play Organized, Competitive Sports?

Prior to age 12, children don’t have the ability to fully understand competitive team sports

They play “beehive soccer”

Children must lean how to cooperate before they can learn how to compete

Team sports require the use of a “third party perspective”

Role Taking Ability

Game Stage Developmental level


What Are the Dynamics of Family Relationships in Youth Sports?

Sports have the potential to bring families together

Being together does not always mean that close communication occurs

Children may feel pressure from parents

Parent labor in youth sports often reproduces gendered logic ideas



How Do Social Factors Influence Youth Sport Experiences?

Participation opportunities vary by social class

Encouragement often varies by gender and ability/disability

Self perceptions and the social consequences of participation vary by:

social class





Recommendations for Changing Informal & Alternative Sports

Make play spaces more safe and accessible to as many children as possible

Be sensitive to class and gender

Provide indirect guidance without being controlling

Treat sport as a worthwhile site for facing challenges

developing competence

Recommendations for Changing Organized Sports

nIncrease action

nIncrease personal involvement

nFacilitate close scores and realistic challenges

nFacilitate friendship formation and maintenance

Recommendations for Changing High-performance Programs


nEstablish policies, procedures, and rules to account for:

the rights of children participants

the interests of children participants


nCreate less controlling environments

to promote growth

to promote development

to promote empowerment

Prospects for Change

Often subverted when priority is given to efficiency and organization

over age-based developmental concerns

May be subverted by national organizations concerned with standardizing programs

May be subverted by adult administrators with vested interests in the status quo

Coaching Education Programs

Are useful when they provide coaches with information on

Dealing with children safely and responsibly

Organizing practices and teaching skills

Are problematic when they foster a “techno-science” approach to controlling children           

Creating “sports efficiency experts” should not be the goal


Deviance in Sports:
Is It Out of Control?



Problems Faced When Studying Deviance in Sports

nForms & causes of deviance are diverse

nNo single theory can explain all

nSports behavior may be deviant in other settings

nSports often involves unquestioned acceptance of norms

rarely the rejection of norms

nTraining & performance have become medicalized


Using Functionalist Theory to Define Deviance

lDeviance involves a rejecting of accepted goals

lOr rejecting the means of achieving goals in society

lConformity is equated with morality

lDeviance is caused by faulty socialization

vBy inconsistencies in the social system

lDeviance is controlled by getting tough

vBy enforcing more rules more strictly

Using Conflict Theory
to Define Deviance

lDeviance involves behavior that interferes with the interests of those with economic power

lThe behavior of those who lack power is more likely to be labeled as deviant

lThose who deviate often are victims of exploitation in a system characterized by inequalities

lThe problem of deviance will be minimal when power is equally distributed in society

Using Interactionist & Critical Theories to Define Deviance

lMost deviance in sports is not due to the moral bankruptcy of athletes

lMuch deviance in sports involves over conformity to established norms in sports

lSport deviance must be understood in terms of the normative context of sport cultures and the emphasis on “the sport ethic”


The Sport Ethic

Four Norms of the Sport Ethic

lAn athlete makes sacrifices for “the game”

lAn athlete strives for distinction

lAn athlete accepts risks and plays through pain

lAn athlete accepts no limits in the pursuit of possibilities

Why Do Athletes Engage in Deviant Over- Conformity?

Two reasons for over-conformity:

lSports are so exhilarating and thrilling that athletes want to play, and they will do almost anything to continue to do so

lBeing selected by coaches and managers is more likely when athletes over conform to the sport ethic

Athletes Most Likely to Over- Conform to the Sport Ethic

nThose who have low self-esteem

vEager to be accepted by their peers

vWilling to sacrifices what they think others want them to

nThose who see achievements in sport as their only way to get ahead

vmake a name

vbecome important in the world

Deviant Over-Conformity
and Group Dynamics

Following the Norms of the Sport Ethic




Special Bonds Among Athletes




Social Processes in Elite
Power & Performance Sports

nBond athletes in ways that normalize over conformity to the sport ethic

nSeparate athletes from the rest to inspire awe and admiration among community members

nLead athletes to develop HUBRIS (a sense of arrogance, separateness, and superiority)

Hypotheses About Deviance Among Athletes

Deviance becomes more likely when

lSocial bonds normalize risk taking

lAthletes are separated from the rest of the community

lAthletes develop extreme degrees of hubris

lWhen people in the community see athletes as being special

Controlling Deviant Over-Conformity in Sports

Four ways to control deviant over-conformity:

lLearn to identify the forms and dynamics of over-conformity among athletes

lRaise critical questions about the meaning, organization, and purpose of sports

lCreate norms in sports that discourage over- conformity to the sport ethic

lHelp athletes to learn to strike a balance between accepting and questioning rules and norms in their sports

Research on Deviance
Among Athletes

On the Field Deviance

nCheating, dirty play, fighting, & violence are less common today than in the past

nThis historical finding contradicts popular perceptions.

nMany people think deviance is more common today

vMore rules than ever before

vExpectations for conformity are greater.

Research on Deviance
Among Athletes

Off the Field Deviance

nAthletes do not have higher delinquency rates

nData on academic cheating is inconclusive

nAthletes have higher rates of alcohol use

nFelony rates among adult athletes do not seem to be out of control

nBUT they do constitute a problem (see Ch. 7)

Is Sport Participation
a Cure for Deviant Behavior?

Research suggests that organized sport might

reduce deviance if:

lA philosophy of nonviolence

lRespect for self and others

lThe importance of fitness and control over self

lConfidence in physical skills

lA sense of responsibility


            Athletes are not the only ones in sports who engage in deviant behavior. Think of other examples involving:





üTeam owners




Using Performance Enhancing Substances in Sports

The use of performance enhancing substances occurs regularly in high performance sports

Many cases of usage constitute a form of deviant over conformity

Such substances will be used as long as athletes believe they will enhance performance


Defining and Banning Performance Enhancing Substances

nDefining what constitutes a “performance enhancing substance” is difficult

nDefining what is natural or artificial is difficult

nDefining what is fair when it comes to the use of science, medicine, & technology in sports is difficult

nDetermining what is dangerous to health is difficult

nStudying and testing for substances is constrained by ethical and legal factors

Eight Reasons Why Substance Use
So Prevalent Today?

lThe high stakes in sports have fueled research and development of substances

lFascination with the use of technology to push human limits

lThe rationalization of the body

lHeavy emphasis on self-medication

lChanging gender relations

Why Is Substance Use
So Prevalent Today?

lThe organization of power and performance sports (must win to continue to play)

lCoaches, sponsors, administrators, and fans clearly encourage most forms of deviant over-conformity

lThe social structure of elite sports (control over body and conformity to demands of coaches)

Arguments Against Testing

nTesting will never be able to identify all substances athletes use to enhance performance

nAthletes and substance manufacturers can stay one step ahead of the testers

nMandatory testing, testing without cause, and using blood and tissue violates ideas about rights to privacy in many cultures

Arguments for Testing

nTo be meaningful, sport performances must involve natural abilities

nDrug use destroys the basis for competition by subverting fairness

nDrug use threatens the health and well-being of athletes

nDrug use is immoral and must be stopped 

Controlling Substance Use:
Where to Start (I)

nCritically examine the hypocrisy in elite sports

nEstablish rules indicating that risks to health are undesirable and unnecessary in sports

nEstablish rules stating that injured athletes must be independently certified as “well” before they may play

nEducate young athletes to define courage and discipline in ways that promote health

Controlling Substance Use:
Where to Start (II)

nEstablish a code of ethics for sport scientists

nMake drug education part of deviance and health education

ØCreate norms regulating use of technology

ØCritically examine values and norms in sports

ØRedefine meaning of achievement

ØTeach athletes to think critically

ØProvide accurate and current information to parents, coaches, and athletes



Violence in Sports:

How Does It Affect Our Lives?

Definition of Violence

   The use of excessive force that causes or has the potential to cause harm or destruction

nViolence is not always illegal or disapproved

nIt may be praised and lauded as necessary

nWhen violence involves widespread rejection of norms, it may signal anarchy

nWhen violence involves extreme over-conformity to norms, it may signal fascism

Definition of Aggression

   Verbal or physical behavior grounded in an intent to dominate, control, or do harm to another person

nAggression is not the same as assertiveness, competitiveness, or trying hard

nIntimidation refers to words, gestures, and actions that threaten violence or aggression


Violence in Sports History

nFigurational research shows that violence was more severe in the past

nOn the field & off the field

nRates of sports violence have not automatically increased over time

nViolence in sports remains a crucial social issue today

nSports violence can serve to reproduce an ideology of male privilege

Types of
On-the-field Violence

Brutal body contact

Borderline violence

Quasi-criminal violence

Criminal violence

Violence As Deviant Over Conformity to the Sport Ethic (I)

nCoaches may expect players to use violence

nViolence often attracts media attention

nPlayers may not like violence, even though most accept it as part of the game

nQuasi and criminal violence are routinely rejected by athletes and spectators


Violence As Deviant Over- Conformity to the Sport Ethic (II)

nViolence may be related to insecurities in high performance sports

nExpressions of violence are related to gender, but not limited to men

nPhysicality creates drama and excitement, strong emotions, and special bonds among all athletes, male and female

Commercialization and Violence

nSome athletes are paid to do violence

nCommercialization and money expand the visibility of violence in sports, and violent discourse in and about sports

nViolence is not caused by TV and money – it existed long before TV coverage and big salaries

Violence and Masculinity

nViolence is grounded in general cultural norms


nViolence in sports is not limited to men


nPlaying power and performance sports often are ways to prove masculinity

Violence, Masculinity,
Social Class, & Race


nAmong men from low-income backgrounds, violence may be perceived to bring respect


nBlack men may use violence to exploit white stereotypes

Violence Is Institutionalized
in Some Sports

nIn non-contact sports, violence is usually limited to using violent images in talk

nIn contact men’s sports, players learn to use violence as a strategy

nEnforcers & goons are paid to do violence

nIn women’s contact sports, violence may be used as a strategy, but not to prove femininity

Pain and Injury As the
Price of Violence

nA popular paradox in today’s sports: People accept violence while being concerned about injuries caused by violence

nDisabling injuries caused by violence in some sports are serious problems

nDominant ideas about masculinity are related to high injury rates in men’s sports


On-the-field Violence

nBrutal body contact is the most difficult form of violence to control

nMost injuries occur on “legal hits”

The most effective strategies might involve:

nSuspensions for players

nFines for team owners

Off-the-field Violence

nCarryover data are inconclusive

nAssault and sexual assault rates among male, heterosexual athletes are a serious problem

nThese behaviors are a serious problem in society as a whole

nDebates about whether rates are higher among athletes distract attention from the problem of violence in culture

Hypotheses About Male Athletes’ Violence Against Women

Violence is related to

Support from fellow athletes for using physical force as a strategy

Perceived cultural support for domination as a basis for status & identity among men

Deviant over-conformity to the norms of the sport ethic


Hypotheses About Male Athletes’ Violence Against Women

Violence is related to

Support for the belief that women constitute “groupies” in sport worlds

Collective HUBRIS and the notion that outsiders do not deserve respect

Institutional support for elite athletes regardless of behavior

Institutional failures to hold athletes accountable for deviance

Learning to Control
Violence in Sports

Control may be learned if

nThe social world formed around a sport promotes a mindset & norms emphasizing:



nRespect for self and others

nPhysical fitness


Violence Is Most Likely When:

Sports are organized in ways that

nProduce HUBRIS

nSeparate athletes from the community

nEncourage athletes to think that others do not deserve their respect


Violence in Sports
& Gender Ideology

nDoing violence in sports reproduces the belief that “men are superior to women”

nPower & performance sports, when they encourage violence, emphasize difference between men and women

nSports violence reproduces an ideology of male entitlement


Violence Among Spectators

nNo data on how watching sports may influence violence in everyday relationships

nSpectators at non-contact sports have low rates of violence

nSpectators at contact sports have rates of violence that constitute a problem in need of analysis and control

nRates today are lower than rates in the past


Celebratory Violence


  This form of violence has not been studied systematically by scholars in the sociology of sport



General Factors Related to Violence at Sport Events

Action in the sport event itself

Crowd dynamics & the situation in which spectators watch the event

Historical, social economic, & political context in which the event is planned and played


Crowd Dynamics
& Situational Factors

üCrowd size

üComposition of crowd

üMeaning and  importance of event

üHistory of relationship between teams

üCrowd control strategies at event

üAlcohol consumption by spectators

üLocation of event

üMotivations for attending the event

üImportance of teams as sources of identity for spectators

Controlling Crowd Violence

Be aware of the following factors:

Perceived violence on the field is positively related to crowd violence

Crowd dynamics and conditions

Historical, social, & political issues underlying spectator orientations



Gender and Sports:

Does Equity Require Ideological Changes?

Participation and Equity Issues

Participation by girls & women has increased dramatically since the early 1980s due to:

zNew opportunities

zGovernment equal rights legislation

zGlobal women’s rights movement

zExpanding health & fitness movement

zIncreased media coverage of women’s sports


Reasons For Caution When Predicting Future Participation (1-4)

zBudget cutbacks and the privatization of sport programs

zResistance to government regulations

zBacklash among those who resent strong women

zUnder representation of women in decision-making positions in sport programs

Reasons For Caution When Predicting Future Participation (5-7)

zContinued emphasis on “cosmetic fitness”

zTrivialization of women’s sports

zHomophobia and the threat of being labeled “lesbian”

Gender and Fairness Issues
in Sports

zInequities in participation opportunities

yOften grounded in dominant definitions of femininity in a culture

yMay be related to religious beliefs

zEstablishing legal definitions of equity

zSupport for athletes

zJobs for women in coaching and administration


Legal Definitions:
Title IX in the

   Title IX requires compliance                        with one of these three tests:

zThe proportionality test

üA 5 percentage point deviation is okay

zThe history of progress test

üJudged by actions & progress over past 3 years

zThe accommodation of interest test

üPrograms & teams meet the interests and abilities of the under represented sex

Title IX Categories of
Support for Athletes:

üAccess to facilities

üQuality of facilities

üAvailability of scholarships

üProgram operating expenses

üRecruiting budgets

üScheduling of games & practice times

üTravel and per diem expenses

üAcademic tutoring

üNumber of coaches

üSalaries for all staff and administrators

üMedical training services and facilities

üPublicity for players, teams, and events


Coaching and Administration: Reasons for Under Representation

zWomen have fewer established connections in elite programs

zSubjective evaluative criteria used by search committees

zSupport systems & professional development opportunities for women have been scarce

Coaching and Administration: Reasons for Under Representation

zMany women do not see spaces for them in corporate cultures of sport programs

zSport organizations are seldom sensitive to family responsibilities among coaches and administrators

zWomen may anticipate sexual harassment and more demanding standards than those used to judge men

Strategies to Promote
Gender Equity (1-4):

zConfront discrimination and be an advocate for women coaches and administrators

zBe an advocate of fair and open employment practices

zKeep data on gender equity

zLearn and educate others about the history of discrimination in sports and how to identify discrimination

Strategies to Promote
Gender Equity (5-9):

zInform media of unfair and discriminatory policies

zPackage women’s sports as revenue producers

zRecruit women athletes into coaching

zUse women’s hiring networks

zCreate a supportive climate for women in your organization

Cheerleaders: Reproducing Definitions of Femininity?

zCheerleading in the late 1800s was a male activity; it changed after World War II

zCheerleading today is a diverse phenomenon, but cheerleading sometimes is organized in ways that reproduce traditional gender logic

yBe attractive, and pure & wholesome

ySupport men as they work

yBe an emotional leader without receiving material rewards


Girls and Women
As Agents of Change

Sport participation can empower women

zBut this does not occur automatically

zBut personal empowerment is not necessarily associated with an awareness of the need for gender transformation in society as a whole

zBut elite athletes seldom are active agents of change when it comes to gender ideology

Why Elite Athletes Seldom Challenge Traditional Gender Ideology

zWomen athletes often fear being tagged as ungrateful, “man-haters,” or “lesbians”

zCorporation-driven “celebrity-feminism” focuses on individualism and consumption, not everyday struggles related to gender

z“Empowerment discourses” in sports are tied to fitness and heterosexual attractiveness

zWomen athletes have little control or political voice in sports or society at large

Boys and Men
As Agents of Change

Gender equity also is a men’s issue:

zEquity involves creating options for men to play sports not based exclusively on a power and performance model

zEquity emphasizes relationships based on cooperation rather than conquest and domination

Changes in Gender Ideology: Prerequisites for Gender Equity

Gender ideology is crucial because:

zGender is a fundamental organizing principle of social life

zGender logic influences how we

yThink of self and other

yHow we relate to others

yHow we present ourselves

yHow we think about and plan for our future

Gender Logic

Based on a

Two-category Classification System

zAssumes two mutually exclusive categories: heterosexual male and heterosexual female

zThese categories are perceived in terms of difference, and as “opposites”

zSystem leaves no space for those who do not fit into either of the two categories

zThe two categories are not equal when it comes to access to power

Celebrations of Masculinity

zGender is not fixed in nature – therefore, people must work to maintain definitions

zSports are sites for preserving forms of gender logic that privilege men & marginalize women

zDominant sport forms highlight and reward virility, power, and toughness

zSport images and discourse glorify a heroic manhood based on being a warrior

Gender Logic in Sports:
Girls and Women As Invaders

zGirls and women in sports often threaten the preservation of traditional gender logic

zThrough history, myths have been used to discourage participation by girls and women

zEncouragement varies by sport, and whether the sport emphasizes grace or power

zBeing a “tomboy” is okay as long as traditional “femininity cues” are presented

Women Bodybuilders:
Expanding Definitions of Femininity?

zCompetitive bodybuilding for women did not exist before the 1970s

zWomen bodybuilders often are perceived as deviant in terms of gender definitions

zWomen bodybuilders challenge traditional definitions of gender, despite commercial images that highlight heterosexual attractiveness

zFemininity insignias are used to avoid social marginalization


Gender-based Double Standards:
Do They Exist in Sports?

What would happen if:

zMia Hamm beat up a man or a couple of women in a bar fight?

zA rugby team “mooned” tourists in Washington, DC?

zA basketball player had four children with four different men?

zAnna Kournikova was photographed with near naked men ogling and hanging on her?

Homophobia in Sports

zPopular discourse erases the existence of gay men and lesbians in sports

zGay men and lesbians challenge the two-category gender classification system

zBeing “out” in sports creates challenges

yWomen risk acceptance

yMen risk acceptance and physical safety

zMost people in sports hold a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy concerning homosexuality

Strategies for Changing
Ideology and Culture

There is a need for

zAlternative definitions of masculinity

üCritically question violent & destructive behavior

zAlternative definitions of femininity

üBecoming “like men” is not the goal

zChanging the ways we talk about & do sports

üLifetime participation, an ethic of care, gender equity, and bringing boys and girls and men and women together to share sport experiences



Race and Ethnicity:

Are They Important in Sports?

Defining Race & Ethnicity

nRace refers to a category of people regarded as socially distinct

nShare “genetic” traits believed to be important by those with power and influence in society

nAn ethnic group is a socially distinct population that shares a way of life

nCommitted to the ideas, norms, and things that constitute that way of life

Minority Group

Refers to a socially identified collection of people who

nExperience systematic discrimination

nSuffer social disadvantages because of discrimination

nPossess a self-consciousness based on their shared experiences

The Concept of Race

nRacial categories are social creations based on meanings given to selected physical traits

nRace is not a valid biological concept

nVerified by data from Human Genome Project

nRacial classifications ambiguous

nbecause they are based on continuous traits with arbitrary lines drawn to create categories

nRacial classifications vary from culture to culture



Race in the United States

nA primitive but powerful classification system has been used in the U.S.

nIt is a two-category system based on the rule of hypo-descent or the “one-drop rule”

nThe rule was developed by white men to insure the “purity” of the “white race” and property control by white men

nMixed-race people challenge the validity of this socially influential way of defining race

Tiger Woods:
Disrupting Dominant Race Logic



CA = Caucasian

BL = Black

IN = Indian

ASIAN = Asian

Using Critical Theory to Ask Questions About Racial Classification Systems

nWhich classification systems are used?

nWho uses them?

nWhy are some people so dedicated to using certain classification systems?

nWhat are the consequences of usage?

nCan negative consequences be minimized?

nCan the systems be challenged?

nWhat occurs when systems change?

   Race Logic in History

Racial classification systems were developed as Caucasian Europeans explored and colonized the globe

nThese systems were used to justify colonization, conversion, and even slavery and genocide

nAccording to these systems, white skin was the standard, and dark skin was associated with intellectual inferiority and arrested development

Race Logic in Sports Today

Race logic encourages people to

n“See” sport performances in racial terms, i.e., in terms of skin color

nUse whiteness as the taken-for-granted standard

nExplain the success or failure of people with dark skin in racial terms

nDo studies to “discover” racial difference

Traditional Race Logic
Used in Sports


   Achievements of White Athletes are due to:





   Achievements of Black Athletes are due to:


nNatural physical abilities

Searching For ”Jumping Genes” in Black Bodies

Why is the search misleading? 

nBased on oversimplified ideas about genes and how they work

nAssumes that jumping is a simple physical activity related to a single gene or interrelated set of genes

nBegins with skin color and social definitions of race

A Sociological Hypothesis

Race logic + discrimination + sport opportunities




Beliefs about biological & cultural destiny


Motivation to develop skills






The Power of Race Logic

nBlack male students often have a difficult time shaking “athlete” labels based on race logic

nYoung people from all racial backgrounds may make choices influenced by race logic

nIn everyday life, race logic is related to the cultural logic of gender and social class


Sport Participation and
African Americans

The facts show that


nPrior to the 1950s, African Americans faced a segregated sport system

nAfrican Americans participate in a very limited range of sports

nAfrican American men and women are under represented in most sports

Sport Participation and
Native Americans

nNative Americans comprise dozens of diverse cultural groups

nTraditional Native American sports combine physical activities with ritual and ceremony

nNative Americans often fear losing their culture when they play Anglo sports

nStereotypes used in sports discourage Native American participation

Images of
Native Americans in Sports

nUsing stereotypes of Native Americans as a basis for team names, logos, and mascots is a form of bigotry

nregardless of the intentions

nAre there conditions under which a group or organizations could use the cultural and religious images of others for their own purposes? 

nWhat would happen if a school named their teams the Olympians and used the Olympic logo (5-Rings) as their logo?


Sport Participation and
Latinos & Hispanics

nThe experiences of Latino athletes have been ignored until recently

nStereotypes about physical abilities have influenced perceptions of Latino athletes

nLatinos now make up 25% of Major League Baseball players

nLatinos often confront discrimination in school sports

nLatinos have been overlooked due to faulty generalizations about gender and culture

Sport Participation and
Asian Americans

nThe cultural heritage and histories of Asian Americans are very diverse

nThe sport participation patterns of Asian Americans vary with their immigration histories

nLittle is known about how the images of Asian American athletes are represented in the media and minds of people in the U.S.

The Dynamics of Racial & Ethnic Relations in Sports

nRace and ethnicity remain significant in sports today

nToday’s challenges are not the ones faced in the past

nRacial and ethnic issues DO NOT disappear when desegregation occurs

nThe challenge of dealing with inter-group relations never disappears

nchanges in terms of the issues that must be confronted

Eliminating Racial & Ethnic Exclusion in Sports (I)

Changes are most likely when

nPeople with power and control benefit from progressive changes

nIndividual performances can be measured precisely and objectively

nMembers of an entire team benefit from the achievements of teammates

Eliminating Racial & Ethnic Exclusion in Sports (II)

Changes are most likely when

nSuperior performances do not lead to automatic promotions

nTeam success does not depend on off-the-field friendships

The Biggest Challenge: Integrating Positions of Power

nPower in sports is not readily shared

nEven when sport participation is racially and ethnically mixed

nThe movement of minorities into coaching and administrative positions has been very slow

nSocial and legal pressures are still needed before power is fully shared

Needed Changes:

nRegular and direct confrontation

nof racial and ethnic issues by people in positions of power

nA new vocabulary

ndealing with new forms of racial and ethnic diversity

nTraining sessions dealing with practical problems and issues

nNot just feelings

The Racially
“Natural Athlete”?

nThere is no evidence showing that skin color is related to physical traits that are essential for athletic excellence across sports

nor in any particular sport

Socially Constructing the Black Male Body: Race Logic in Action

In Euro-American history there has been

nStrong fears of the physical power and prowess of (oppressed) black men

nPowerful anxieties about the sexual appetites and capabilities of (angry) black men

nDeep fascination with the movement of the black body

THEREFORE, the black male body =

valuable entertainment commodity

 Research Summary
(Genetic Factors & Athletic Performance)

nAre there genetic differences between individuals? YES

nAre genetic characteristics related to athletic excellence? YES

nCould one gene account for success across a range of different sports? PROBABLY NOT

nMight skin color genes & physical performance genes be connected? NO EVIDENCE

Research Summary (Continued)

nAre physical development & the expression of skills in sports related to cultural definitions of skin color and race? DEFINITELY YES

nDo cultural ideas about skin color & race influence the interpretation of and meaning given to the movement and achievements of athletes? DEFINITELY YES

Social Origins of
Athletic Excellence

nA cultural emphasis on achievement in activities that have special cultural meaning

nResources to support widespread participation among young people

nOpportunities to gain rewards through success

nAccess to those who can teach tactics and strategies

Consequences of
Race Logic in Sports

nDesegregation of revenue producing sports

nContinued racial exclusion in “social” sports

nPosition stacking in team sports

nRacialized interpretations of achievements

nManagement barriers for blacks

nSkewed distribution of African Americans in U.S. colleges and universities