Enabling Narratives, or How Sports Writing Authorizes Rape Culture

So, Olympic hopeful turned rapist Brock Turner is a free man. Setting aside for the moment the fact that he’s being harassed by gun-toting protesters, I’d like to take this opportunity to interrogate the narrative habits that result in a convicted rapist (yes, I’ll call him that) getting a minor county jail sentence instead of the two- to fourteen-year prison sentence his charges carried. Following, too, the hoopla over Ryan Lochte’s ‘immature over-exaggeration’ in Rio—because, you know, boys will be boys—I wonder how far we might be willing to connect our broader attitudes toward male athletes with a willingness…

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Beyoncé and the Bern

You probably don’t need another review of Kendrick Lamar’s blazing, fiery, incendiary, stage-burning medley of ‘The Blacker the Berry’, ‘Alright’, and a live freestyle at the Grammy Awards. But in case you missed the original event, just give a wee look-see before you go on. LL Cool J said it would be controversial, and King Kendrick does not disappoint. Addressing boldly the mass incarceration of black men, the extra-juridical destruction of black bodies, and the economic evisceration of black communities, Kendrick calibrated his set to ignite a media firestorm. So where’s the controversy? Lamar has received criticism…

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On Bad Faith in the NFL

Last Monday morning my news feeds were full of the inequity-slash-reverse-sexism of U.S. Soccer’s refusal to bench Hope Solo. Solo faces assault charges for striking her seventeen-year-old nephew and sister-in-law during a drunken family brawl (she’s pleaded not guilty), and many think it’s a piece of hypocrisy for the sporting establishment to overlook the legal troubles of Hope Solo while condemning the likes of the NFL’s Ray Rice. USA Today called media silence over the charges “unseemly,” and the Washington Post called Solo’s case “the domestic violence case no one is talking about.” But Twitter was a…

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Stataesthetics

All it took was a split second for Barry Bonds to hit the home run that froze time in AT&T Park and left the Nationals twiddling their thumbs while fireworks lit up the sky above San Francisco. Bonds had broken Hank Aaron’s longstanding lifetime home run record, turning an otherwise more or less average (for Bonds) season into a glittering career capstone. “That folks, is baseball history, and I feel privileged to have seen it,” said one commentator as homer number 756 unfolded in replay. Friends and family rushed the field, and Bonds’s godfather Willie Mays took…

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