2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture

Anthony J. Weems

Texas A&M University
Session: Songs of liberation: Methods of resistance in sporting spaces #2
Sport Management: Courage to Grow Through Songs of Liberation
In an article entitled “Sport without management” in the Journal of Sport Management, Newman (2014) problematized how the field of sport management usurped various sport-related disciplines (e.g., sport sociology, sport philosophy, sport history) via the rise of neoliberalism and related market forces. This bourgeoning of the sport management discipline has brought with it the “the collapse of sport studies’ multifarious epistemological and axiological features” (Newman, 2014, p. 603) into narrow conceptualizations of science and scientific inquiry (e.g., positivism) that stymie the production of emancipatory research. Though the rise of neoliberalism has provided new challenges for scholars doing liberation work in sport studies, it has also created opportunities for methodological innovation and resistance (see Cannella & Lincoln, 2015) – including within peripheral sporting spaces such as the academic field of sport management. Through sharing our own stories as critical sport management scholars we seek to shine light on the aforementioned issue and delve deeper into the meaning, significance and necessity of “songs of liberation” as methods of resistance in sporting spaces. As resistance often takes courage, we hope to accentuate creative developments in the context of oppressive sporting spaces. Thus, we close with a visual and auditory representation of contemporary liberation efforts.

The death of a devil: Notes on hearing the veiled
In 1920, pioneering sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois published a powerful soliloquy piercing the veil of white racism. His prophetic analyses in Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil remains one of the more powerful examinations of race and racism in US social science (Feagin, Vera, & Ducey, 2017), including an early formation of critical whiteness studies. Informed by critical works from Du Bois, as well as other scholars such as Marimba Ani (1994) and Derrick Bell (1991), this presentation makes use of spoken word (i.e., poetry) to interrogate the existential responsibilities of whites in addressing white racism. Recently, although few in numbers, some whites (e.g., Gregg Popovich) have attempted to critically address topics relating to whiteness and white racism in sporting spaces. Therefore, the purpose of this presentation is to contextualize this existential struggle of white being within the context of “hearing” the voices from within the veil. As noted by Jenson (2005), whites must begin to reflexively answer a central question with which Du Bois was originally concerned: How does it feel to be a problem? Doing so may provide opportunities for other whites to begin hearing songs of liberation as they relate to contemporary social justice movements.

Session: Globalized NFL: Boundaries, Flows, Politics
Shield or sword?: Elite white men, coloniality, and the NFL
The metaphor of “the shield” has often been used by top executives to refer to the brand of the NFL. However, despite incorporating a shield into the logo of the NFL, the league operates less as a “defensive” structure and more so as an offensive weapon – a sword – in a globalized context (Hsu, 2013). Drawing primarily from Feagin and Ducey’s (2017) conceptualization of the elite-white-male dominance system, this presentation seeks to shed light on and contextualize the colonial politics of NFL globalism. As primary stakeholders, team owners and ownership groups actively create and reproduce the intersectional politics of colonialism in the context of a globalizing NFL. In his discussion of the Eurocentric diffusionist model employed by Euro-sport entities, Carrington (2010) noted how sport has been “magically removed from the conditions of white supremacy, patriarchy and colonial governance to which it is necessarily tied” (p. 46). Therefore, the purpose of this presentation is to make use of the elite-white-male-dominance system as an analytic framework for contextualizing and understanding the colonial politics of elite white men in and through the NFL along with implications therein.