Athletes Breaking Bad: Essays on Transgressive Sports Figures
Edited by John C. Lamothe and Donna J. Barbie
At their basic level, sporting events are about numbers: wins and losses, percentages and points, shots and saves, clocks and countdowns. However, sports narratives quickly leave the realm of statistics. The stories we tell and retell, sometimes for decades, make sports dramatic and compelling. Just like any great drama, sports imply conflict, not just battles on the field of play, but clashes of personalities, goals, and strategies. In telling these stories, we create heroes, but we also create villains. This book is about the latter, those players who transgress norms and expectations and who we label the “bad boys” of sports.
Using a variety of approaches, these 13 new essays examine the cultural, social, and rhetorical implications of sports villainy. Each chapter focuses on a different athlete and sport, questioning issues such as how notorious sports figures are defined to be “bad” within particular sports and within the larger culture, the role media play in creating antiheroes, fan reactions when players cross boundaries, and how those boundaries shift depending on the athlete’s gender, sexuality, and race.