Thinking Critically About the Criminology of Sport

Monday May 29 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm (Eastern Daylight Time)
McLaughlin College-MC-109

Session Code: SOS1
Session Format: Regular Session
Session Language: English
Research Cluster Affiliation: Sociology of Sport
Session Categories: In-person

Critical criminology is much stronger today than when Taylor, Walton, and Young published their path-breaking book The New Criminology, and many new developments are destined to come. Still, except for less than a handful of progressive scholars, critical criminologists have ignored the connection between sport and crime. The main objective of this panel, then, is to provide a forum for sociologists to generate new ways of thinking critically about crime and deviance in sport. Tags: Criminology, Gender, Sport, Violence

Organizer: Walter DeKeseredy, West Virginia University; Chair: Walter DeKeseredy, West Virginia University


Wesley Crichlow, Ontario Tech University

Critical Race Theory In Conversation With Sport

Employing Critical Race Theory (CRT) this conversation interrogates anti-blackness in the organized sport of hockey, highlighting how inextricable whiteness, white-supremacy and anti-Black is integral to this social institution.

Walter DeKeseredy, West Virginia University

Misogyny.Com: Male Collegial and Professional Contact Sports, Pornography, and Violence Against Women

There is a small but slowly growing literature showing that misogyny and rape culture narratives exist within elite male collegial and professional contact sports leagues. Such accounts not only influence payers to engage in harmful patriarchal practices, but they also encourage rape myth acceptance in the general population, especially among those who are frequent viewers of televised games. Rarely discussed by researchers, journalists, policy makers, and sports league executives and owners, however, is the fact is that pornography use is endemic to male contact team sports (e.g., ice hockey) and serves as a training guide for out-of-sport sexual assault and other variants of male-to-female violence. The main aim of this paper is to critically review the current state of social scientific work on the relationship between porn use and offline and online abusive acts committed by a sizeable number of men who play the most popular and profitable sports.

Leah Oldham, West Virginia University

The Forgotten Truth of Violence Against Female College Athletes

Sexual assault has gained national attention, especially within higher education. Yet, scholars have neglected the experience of female student-athletes encounters with violence. The sports culture perpetuates and sustains violence against women, and female intercollegiate student-athletes are in higher proximity to victimization. This paper adopts the multilevel heuristic framework from Sutton (2022) to explain the violence against female athletes. I argue that the individual-level, interactional-level, and organization-level factors associated with violence against female college athletes explain the polyvictimization (i.e., sexual assault, stalking, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence (IPV) and similar offenses) experienced by female student-athletes. I present why the locus of future research must be on the violence against female student-athletes from peers, teammates, coaches, and others holding authority within athletics.

Daniel Sailofsky, Middlesex University London

Did the NFL start caring about women a lot more after Ray Rice? Probably not: White-Collar Deviance and Violence Against Women in Racial Capitalist Sport

From a zemiological perspective, organizations causing harm in their pursuit of profit is a form of white-collar deviance. In the case of professional sport and violence committed by athletes outside of the field of play, the structures of professional sport and the decisions made by organizations can impact not only the athletes involved, but the victims, potential victims, and society at large. Interviewing NBA and NFL front office members and journalists, I explore how teams in both leagues make player evaluation decisions regarding players who have been accused of criminality and violence against women, and to assess sport organizations and leagues’ role in the violence of athletes. Interviewees noted that the talent of the player, their ability to produce value for the organization, and the potential backlash from fans and media play a pre-eminent role in organizational decision-making. Paired with professional sport’s privileging of dominance and aggression by athletes, this talent and production-based sanctioning of players accused of VAW illustrates organizational, league, and racial capitalist sport structure’s complicity in continued acts of violence by athletes. Implications for contemporary conceptualizations of deviant leisure and white-collar crime are also discussed.