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

Emmett Gill

University of Texas at Austin
Session: LGBTQI and Sporting Culture
Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park: The Implications for Race, Sexual Orientation and the Future of Baseball

Disco Demolition Night was an ill-fated baseball promotion in July of 1979 at Comiskey Park after the first game of White Sox/Twins double-header. White Sox officials hoped for a crowd of 20,000, but over 50,000 attended. Many had come to see the explosion rather than the games, rushed onto the field after the detonation, and remained there until dispersed by riot police. The field was damaged and the second game forfeited. In the late 1970s, dance-oriented disco music was popular in the United States, particularly after being featured in hit films such as Saturday Night Fever and had sparked a backlash from rock music fans.  Music critic Dave Marsh deemed Disco Demolition Night as an expression of bigotry, writing in a year-end 1979 feature that "white males, eighteen to thirty-four are the most likely to see disco as the product of homosexuals, blacks, and Latins, and therefore they're the most likely to respond to appeals to wipe out such threats to their security.” This presentation will explore Disco Demolition Night with a review of significant events, a theoretical framework to explore those events, the implications for race and sexual orientation, and a broad sampling of disco music throughout the presentation.

Session: Athlete Activism
A Changes Here: Music, Policies, and Sports
With the NFL changing this policy on kneeling or activism during the national anthem it has affected and changed a lot of people's civil rights and their freedom of speech and expression. The NFL is not the only professional organization that had has had a policy change that has affected athletes and and others civil rights or freedom of speech and expression. When the NBA created a policy addressing dress code for player on the bench was a direct consequence to freedom of speech and expression.  This is been a major issue affecting professional sport athletes since the 1968 Olympics with the Salute Black Power  of Tommie Smith and John Carlos. From the great singer, Sam Cooke “A Change is Gonna Come” but is all change worth it or good. The of this project is to explore and  question policies within professional sport and the direct reflection to music today and yesteryears.  While addressing these issues centered around sports policies and music, we will have to address how polities are impacting on professional sports and the policies that are developed.

A Book of Songs & Sexual Assault at the United States Air Force Academy
Collegiate athletic departments are grappling with sexual assaults as stories of student-athlete’s raping unconscious women, gang rapes, and coaches’ ambivalence towards predator’s flood news cycles.  Sexual assaults on college campuses are complex and they are further obscured when student-athletes are involved because of the true prominence, along with the perceived sanctity, of college sports. When sexual assaults are committed by student-athletes at military academies the complexity can become further muddled in a culture that promotes “bro code over honor code” and unfavorable attitudes towards women in the military.  The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) competes in Division One sports and has a long narrative of sexual violence against women in athletics and throughout the academy. There is even a book of songs engrained in USAF officers’ culture that contains lyrics about violence against women.  This presentation will explore sexual assault at USAFA including an abbreviated version of its extensive history of sexual assaults, the confluence of military and sport cultures, how military policies and procedures challenge assault prevention and intervention, and some observations on how the NCAA might respond to USAFA’s uniqueness as pressure mounts for the governing body to address violence against women at its member institutions.

Session: Can’t Stop… Won’t Stop…Hip Hop Culture & Sport
Leadership LOGIC: Fostering Inclusive Activism Within Collegiate Sport
Hip Hop is noted as a sub-cultural movement formed in the 1980’s with its roots connected to the 1970’s South Bronx, New York City Black music movement. Today, artist from a diversity of ethnicities share an inclusive platform that often engages sport culture. The artist LOGIC promotes lyrics encouraging others to be proud, and confident to be whom and what they are, while at the same time seeking a platform to be engaged and conscious. From his song Black Spiderman he states moving away from being “a slave to the stereotype".  The leadership within Hip Hop has aided in the evolution of music, while it can be argued that the existing model of collegiate sport inclusivity needs leadership that can mirror a similar evolutionary if not revolutionary ideology like Hip-Hop. To create an inclusive or multicultural organization, leadership in all its forms must be the responsibility of everyone throughout all levels of the organization and this is particularly true in Higher Education. (Carnegie Foundation, 2008) This presentation will explore the value of inclusive leadership in the collegiate sports arena, and how the cultivation of inclusive activism can foster a culture shift.