Sport and Society Critical Analysis Paper

You are to trace a story involving sports and one of these key social concerns (or other major social concerns) from the last five years. Writing on an older
story will lead to a zero on this assignment. You are to trace the entire “story” of one major sports event of the last five years. You are to follow the story’s
trajectory from first report to last report. Thus, the story must (for the moment) be considered dead (ended). If you have any questions regarding this, ask
Your analysis of the story will involve a critical discussion of the value systems the narrators brought to this particular issue. As we’ve noted, in some cases,
sports have been well ahead of society in bringing about social change, in many other cases, sports have been way behind society and in most cases sports
have followed their own unique value criteria in matters of race, gender, sexuality, disabilities, and social class. As we’ve also noted, media (the story-tellers—
news services, broadcasters, sports talk sites) tend to be the arbiters of values in these cases. That is, by telling the story, they set value expectations for
audiences and motivate us to see some players as “right” and others as “wrong.” So, the tension between the values expressed within the sport and the
values of the larger society are played out in the media coverage of the sports.
In examining the story, you are to describe the ways in which journalists portray the values exemplified in the actions of the sports organizations and
compare those with the values the authors identify with the larger culture. You are to point out when the authors of articles on the event praise or blame a set
of actions by the sports organizations or others. Your comparison should illuminate the distinct value systems brought to these important social arguments
and the ways in which the media shape the rhetorical perspective of audiences concerning these values.
For example, in 1987, Al Campanis, General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, made some infamous remarks on ABC-TV’s “Nightline” news program.
Campanis stated that African-Americans may not have the “tools” to be Major League Baseball managers. These comments immediately caused a firestorm
of controversy throughout the country. Yet, as news organizations throughout the United States (led by ABC news) voiced anger over Campanis’s comments,
the first reaction of the Dodgers and Major League Baseball was to defend Campanis as a leader in positive race relations in baseball. Some initial news
articles around LA even praised Campanis for his career with the Dodgers. Most of the news media soon buried Campanis and the Dodgers over this,
asserting that Campanis’s comments were wholly unacceptable in contemporary American society. In the face of this firestorm, the Dodgers were forced to
let Campanis go. As this story shows, the news reports both reflected and shaped public opinion regarding the Dodgers and their general manager.
The tension between the pragmatics of sports and the views of the larger culture should give you a fascinating field to explore in examining the trajectory of
a sports story that deals with issues of gender, race, sexuality, management and labor, classic American value systems, social class, and so on. Reporters,
caught between having to offer an “accurate” account of events and the current social dialogue concerning events, will shape the narrative of these events
from their own and collective perceptions of values. So, your analysis should help your reader see the ways in which all discussions of sport promote values
and how those values function between the pragmatics of sport (you’ve got to win) and the larger social issues that sport intersect.
Do NOT start with the most famous story you know. Likely, many other students have already started pursuing that one. Start with your favorite sport and
look at various stories from the last five years that might impact the discussion of social issues and social change.
To examine your story, you will need to search the archives of a major news service (The LA Times, The NY Times, etc.). You are to examine the reports to
find the first notes indicating the event(s) that reflected social change or controversy, the evolving narrative as the story began to develop
characters/setting/events/social tensions, and the climax and conclusion of the story.
Drawing on the theoretical approaches discussed at the start of the semester, you are to examine the narrative construction of the story, how reports turned
events into stories, how those stories framed events and sustained or challenged cultural norms, and how the narrated relationship between characters,
setting, and events exemplified the tension between various players in the cultural drama. How do the stories represent the characters (as good or bad, right
or wrong)? What actions do the stories indicate were bad or blame-worthy/good or praise-worthy? What actions/type of actions, then, do the writers seek to
motivate us to copy or to shun?
This is not a review of the events that were reported, nor is it a repetition of news reports. You are to critically assess the stories, explaining their role in
sustaining cultural values.
Papers should be 7-8 pages in length. Each paper should have a bare minimum of 10 cited references (you should easily find far more than this in news
reports alone). All papers must follow MLA or APA guidelines for research paper writing. Papers will be graded on quality of writing, clarity of argument,
depth of analysis, and quality of insights. While you will need to perform only limited academic research for this assignment (few journal articles), you will
need to complete a full study of one story and your works cited page should note references to a complete cycle of reports.
Need pagination, last name and page number (fuhrman 1)
Cite correctly
Has to be written within the last 5 years!!!!
Examine the media coverage of controversy in sports, to see how the media framed it; how do they frame it, how do they create a sense that blank was right
and this other person was wrong
The medias version of what happened here and your going to critically assessing their version of the events, so the events themselves don’t matter in nearly
so much as what the media said about the events and how they framed is in the right and who they framed as in the wrong, what are they trying to persuade
me to believe, don’t review the event, analyzing what people said, what happens matters but your not reporting on it

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