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Endless Contest:


during what is usually the twilight of a player's career. Between the ages of 35 and 40 ... play' not unlike a Shakespearean drama or Hollywood movie sprung to life ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Endless Contest:

Endless Contest
  • Theorizing the devolution of advanced sports
    media cultures

Todd Joseph Miles Holden
  • Professor, Mediated Sociology
  • Graduate School of International Cultural Studies
  • Tohoku University
  • Sendai, Japan

Opening on a ClosingThe Tour de France
  • The 95th Tour de France (which began on July 5th)
    will finish this Sunday, July 27th

Opening on a ClosingThe Tour de France
  • It began this year in the following predicament
  • The 2007 winner American Floyd Landis was
    stripped of his 2006 title after testing positive
    for synthetic testosterone.
  • And 2 teams were banned
  • Astana, the team of eventual winner, Alberto
  • Due to doping scandals over the last two years
  • (Team) Cofidis
  • which withdrew after Cristian Moreni tested
    positive for testosterone

The Contested Tour
  • Kazakhstan's Alexandre Vinokourov
  • Also of Astana
  • Tested positive for a blood transfusion
  • And was removed from the Tour last year
  • Levi Leipheimer
  • Also of Astana
  • Also banned

The Contested Tour
  • Ivan Basso
  • 2006 Giro d'Italia winner
  • A 2-time Tour podium finisher
  • Was also absent, due to a 2-year ban for blood

The Contested Tour
  • Manuel Beltran
  • was ejected from the Tour (on July 11, 2008)
  • For testing positive for the performance-enhancer
  • Moises Duenas Nevado
  • Ejected from the tour (on July 16, 2008) after
    testing positive for EPO

Doping and Biking
  • Besides Beltran, Floyd Landis, Roberto Heras and
    Tyler Hamilton have all failed doping tests on
    the Tour
  • all are former Postal riders during Armstrong's
    seven Tour wins from 1999-2005
  • all failed their tests after quitting Armstrongs

This PaperThe Inside Dope
  • Hopefully this slides title doesnt refer to the
  • Generally, this is a working paper
  • It concerns matters like doping, but also other
    forms of what I label contest in sports

This PaperThe Inside Dope
  • Better, it concerns the rampant contestation that
    sport has introduced into contemporary society.
  • It focuses on the contest beyond the actual games
    (I.e. outside the realm that sport has
    traditionally been about)
  • Such contest is abetted to a large degree by mass
  • The media angle is less empirical here than it
    needs to be
  • For media is perhaps the central player in
    engendering endless contest in contemporary

Some Premises/Claims
  • Sport is often viewed as a sublimater of
    aggressive tendencies (Elias and Dunning 1986)
  • a simulation of combat, if you will
  • However, it may, in fact, work to stimulate even
    more acrimony and deeper societal schisms
  • With the media as instigator/conspirator/abettor
    of these divides

Some Premises/Claims
  • Sport increases the sense of contest in
    numerous, unanticipated ways. Including
  • the heightened emphasis on economic haves and
    have nots
  • the sudden attention by political, administrative
    and legal entities to rules infractions and
  • the exaggerated attention to rules infractions
    and conduct violations
  • The heightened emphasis on stating opinions and
    taking sides.

Some Premises/Claims
  • Sport increases the sense of contest in
    numerous, unanticipated ways. Including
  • 5. the increased involvement of public
    authorities in the activities of private
  • 6. the increased sideshow-like ambiance built
    around athletes and sporting events
  • fueled by tabloid media
  • and due to the crossover of athletes into the
    realm of celebrity, entertainment, and show

Societal Developmentand Sports
  • These developments can be located with increasing
  • It appears true for societies which are most
  • i.e. which have achieved the highest rung on
    modernitys ladder (e.g. Maguire 1999)
  • with the largest, most extensive and
    sophisticated sports media cultures (Miller et
    al. 2001)
  • and which have evinced the most advanced stages
    of sportization (Elias 1986).

About this Paper
  • Showing this requires attention to both empirical
    and theoretical threads
  • It also can benefit from comparison
  • Thus this paper will look at cases from both the
    United States and Japan
  • Doing so, we can see that contest is not a
    phenomenon transpiring only in one society
  • Although it is manifested in differing ways
  • Due to factors such as
  • the cultural history
  • The political traditions (and)
  • The media institution, itself
  • In this way, contest can be seen as both a
    universal AND particular phenomenon

About the Cases
  • And one or more of the following institutional
  • Political
  • Legal
  • Administrative
  • Economic
  • Social
  • All involve the active contestation between one
    or more of the following human elements
  • Athletes
  • Coaches
  • Management
  • Fans

Media Role
  • The role of the media institution is
  • Not as neutral reporter
  • Rather, as active stimulus
  • The Effect is
  • A fueling of contestation between the various
    actors, above, is highlighted
  • Side-effects include
  • A widening of connectivity between sports and
    other societal domains legal, rational,
    administrative, economic, political,

Some Aims
  • One avowed aim (at least in the delusional moment
    of writing my abstract) was
  • to identify
  • then categorize
  • the various types of contestation transpiring in
    advanced sporting societies today
  • then flesh out some of the ways that this can be
    understood vis-à-vis social theory.

A Main Contention
  • The central role played by the media institution
    in simultaneously assisting
  • societal evolution
  • and a certain kind of devolution (through
    increased contestation)
  • Though neither of these may be clearly/obviously
    seen by simply studying isolated cases of

The Media Assessed
  • Includes
  • Talk radio
  • Newspaper
  • Television
  • Internet news sites
  • Blogs

The assessments, themselves, are of
non-systematic samples, treated via qualitative
content analysis.
The Cases Considered
The Cases Considered
The Cases Considered U.S.
The Cases Considered U.S.
The Cases Considered Japan
The Cases Considered I The Mitchell Report
  • On March 3, 2006, Major League Baseball
    Commissioner, Bud Selig, announced that the
    league would begin a full-scale investigation
    into the use of performance-enhancing drugs
  • MLB had banned such drugs as part of the
    collective bargaining agreement signed in 2002

The Cases Considered I The Mitchell Report
  • Selig named former Senate Majority Leader, George
    Mitchell, to head the open-ended investigation.
  • Mitchell was a director of the Boston Red Sox
  • Also Chairman of The Walt Disney Co., the parent
    of ESPN
  • He insisted his affiliations would have no effect
    on the investigation

The Cases Considered I The Mitchell Report
  • Mitchells 20 month investigation ended up naming
    86 baseball players involved in using performance
    enhancing drugs
  • Highlights included
  • 7 MVPs and 31 All-Stars were named
  • 87 players named 34 active in 2007
  • Former player Jose Canseco (who wrote a
    best-selling book, Juiced confessing his steroid
    use) was named 105 times
  • Barry Bonds was named 103 times
  • Lenny Dykstras use between 1988 and 1993
  • The case of 1996 MVP Ken Caminiti
  • The 1998 case of Mark McGuire
  • The complicity of players, executives and
  • Media coverage at the time

The Cases Considered II Barry Bonds
  • Barry Bonds, a prominent name in the Mitchell
    Report, is the all-time home run leader in MLB

Here we see him in before and after shots --
from early in his (pre-steroid) career and then
later (post-steroids)
The Cases Considered IIBarry Bonds
  • Bonds, who refused to cooperate with the Mitchell
    Commission, was featured in the book A Game of
    Shadows, written by two investigative reporters
    from The San Francisco Chronicle.
  • That book alleged that there have been two Barry
  • The likely Hall-of-Famer
  • Who, for 13 years, averaged 32 home runs and a
    batting average of .298
  • And the most prolific home run hitter of all time
  • Who for the next 6 years averaged 49 home runs
    and a batting average of .328

The Cases Considered IIBarry Bonds
  • A Game of Shadows documented
  • how Bonds was able to increase his productivity
  • during what is usually the twilight of a players
  • Between the ages of 35 and 40
  • assisted by steroids

The Cases Considered IIBarry Bonds
  • Based on the evidence presented in that book a
    grand jury was convened
  • Bonds testified. He denied the allegations that
    he knowingly took steroids.
  • He was subsequently indicted for lying to a grand
    jury and obstruction of justice.
  • A free agent this year, no team has been willing
    to pick Bonds up as an active player.

The Cases Considered IIBarry Bonds
  • The indictment was based on data obtained from
    BALCO, a bay area facility asserted to have
    prescribed steroids to numerous elite athletes
  • The indictment cited 19 occasions in which Bonds
    allegedly lied under oath.
  • His trial is pending
  • If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 30
    years in a Federal penitentiary

The Cases Considered III Roger Clemens
  • One name prominent in the Mitchell Report was
    that of Roger Clemens

The Cases Considered III Roger Clemens
  • Clemens is
  • A 7-time Cy Young Award winner (best pitcher in
    the league)
  • Eighth on the all-time win list with 354 career
  • A league MVP and All-Star
  • Long considered a sure Hall of Fame entry

The Cases Considered III Roger Clemens
  • According to the Mitchell report, Clemens may
    have been supplied with Human Growth Hormone by
    his personal trainer.
  • Clemens denied these charges
  • However a fellow teammate close friend, and
    work-out partner, Andy Pettitte, admitted that he
    was injected with HGH by the same trainer

The Cases Considered IIIRoger Clemens
  • McNamee told Mitchell investigators that
  • he injected Clemens with Winstrol through the end
    of the 1998 season
  • and that Clemens' performance showed remarkable
  • Records show that Clemens had a record of 5 wins
    and 6 losses through the first 2 months of the
    season, then went 15 wins against 0 losses in 22
    starts with an Earned Run Average of 2.29

The Cases Considered IIIRoger Clemens
  • McNamee also told investigators that
  • during the middle of the 2000 season, Clemens
    made it clear that he was ready to use steroids
  • Thus, during the latter part of the regular
    season, McNamee injected Clemens in the buttocks
    four to six times with testosterone.

The Cases Considered IIIRoger Clemens
A nationally televised congressional hearing
disintegrated along partisan lines
  • Democrats argued that Clemens should be found
    guilty of lying to Congress
  • Republicans argued that he was a hero and role
    model who, if found guilty, should receive a
    presidential pardon (from former baseball
    executive, George W. Bush).

The Cases Considered IIIRoger Clemens
  • The entire Clemens affair further disintegrated
    into a variety of tabloid stories, about
  • Clemens wife getting her own steroid injections
  • The wives of Clemens and Jose Canseco comparing
    breast implants in front of their husbands at a
  • And Clemens alleged affair with a country and
    western singer who, when she first befriended the
    pitcher, was only 16.

The Cases Considered IIIRoger Clemens
The abiding image of this case, to date, was how
it quickly descended into tabloidization,
sensationalization, and lurid demonization
The Cases Considered IVMarion Jones
  • Another BALCO athlete was Marion Jones
  • At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Jones finished with
    three golds and two bronzes
  • She was featured on the covers of Vogue, Time and
    Newsweek magazines
  • She received multi-million dollar contracts for
    her efforts.

The Cases Considered IVMarion Jones
  • Seven years later she publicly confessed to
    taking drugs before her Sydney triumphs
  • She was sentenced to 6 months in prison for lying
    to federal prosecutors about her steroid use.
  • She was also stripped of her Olympic medals
  • And fined.

The Cases Considered IVMarion Jones
  • In sentencing her to prison the judge stated
  • "athletes in society ... serve as role models to
    children around the world. When there is a
    widespread level of cheating, it sends all the
    wrong messages.
  • And
  • "People live with their choices and the choice
    not to play by the rules has been compounded by
    the choice to break the law."

The Cases Considered IVMarion Jones
  • In response to the sentencing, USA Track Field
    President Bill Roe issued this statement
  • (The Jones case is) "a vivid morality play that
    graphically illustrates the wages of cheating in
    any facet of life, on or off the track.
  • This highlights why cases of cheating occur
  • I.e. their chance for huge positive payoff
  • Also highlights why the media is so interested
  • The idea that it is a morality play not unlike
    a Shakespearean drama or Hollywood movie sprung
    to life

The Cases Considered V Spygate
  • In 2008 a claim was made by a former video
    assistant on the New England Patriots
  • Considered the team of this decade in the
    (American) Professional Football League (NFL)
  • The claim was that New England coach Bill
    Belichick, had authorized the filming of rivals
    practices and the interception of their sideline
    hand signals during games in 2007
  • Both violations of league rules
  • In a nod to the famous political espionage
    chapter in United States politics (Watergate)
    this affair was dubbed spygate by the U.S.
    sports/news media

The Cases Considered V Spygate
  • Although Coach Belichick denied these claims,
    certain circumstantial evidence suggested it
    might be true
  • His personality -- which is notoriously
    conflictual, conspiratorial, secretive, and
  • The fact that the heart of the allegation
    concerned the championship game of 2002 -- where
    his team defeated the heavily favored St. Louis
  • And the existence of videotape which proved the
  • One influential member of the U.S. Congress,
    Senator Arlen Specter (R - Pennsylvania) was so
    incensed as to demand Congressional Hearings into
    this affair
  • Although this seems also to stem from the fact
    that his home team had lost in playoffs to the
    Patriots in recent years

The Cases Considered V Spygate
  • Ultimately the NFL conducted its own internal
    investigation and then imposed what could be
    viewed as pre-emptive sanctions
  • Fining Coach Belichick (U.S.) 500,000
  • Fining the Patriots (U.S.) 250,000
  • And taking the Patriots 2008 First-round draft
    pick away
  • Though not as severe as some might have wished,
    these were certainly not cosmetic penalties
  • The medias general reaction, though, was the
    Patriots are so talented they didnt need that
    draft pick anyway and Belichick is so financially
    well off, even if his team doesnt pick up the
    tab, he can afford the fine
  • Moreover, this sort of contest perfectly matched
    the sort of crotchety Ill play the game on my
    terms demeanor of the man and his New England
  • In short, it was a good story full of the kind of
    conflict that the audience likes

The Cases Considered VI Don Imus
  • On Thursday, April 5, 2007, shock jock Don Imus
    uttered words on his CBS morning radio show that
    ultimately led to his dismissal

The Cases Considered VI Don Imus
  • He referred to the NCAA championship women's
    basketball team on, as "some rough girls from
    Rutgers. They got tattoos. Then he went on to
    call them "some nappy-headed hos.
  • Comparing them to the Tennessee team they beat
    for the Women College basketball title, Imus
    termed the teams as, respectively, "the jigaboos
    versus the wannabes."

The Cases Considered VI Don Imus
  • Imus, was once voted one of Americas 25 Most
    Influential People in America by Time magazine
    and is a member of the National Broadcaster Hall
    of Fame.
  • Nonetheless, the firestorm of criticism --
    particularly from minority groups and led by
    African American Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse
    Jackson -- led to Imuss immediate ouster by CBS
  • Within 8 months, however, Imus had returned to
    the airwaves on ABC Radio.

The Cases Considered VII Michael Vick
  • Michael Vick was a prototypical new generation
    quarterback in American football player a player
    with foot speed, physical toughness, balance,
    acrobatic ability, and a powerful, accurate
    throwing arm

The Cases Considered VII Michael Vick
  • On April 25, 2007 the media reported that
    evidence had been gathered by law enforcement
    agents about illegal dog-fighting on one of
    Vicks rural properties.
  • Vick was indicted on federal dog fighting charges
    and pled guilty to one count of running an
    interstate dog fighting ring. He admitted
  • to providing most of the financing for the
  • sharing in the proceeds from these dog fights
  • that he knew his colleagues killed several dogs
    who didn't perform well enough.
  • In 2007 he was sentenced to 23 months in Federal
  • State trial awaits his release from Federal prison

The Cases Considered VIIITim Donaghy
  • Tim Donaghy was a basketball referee who worked
    in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for
    13 seasons (1994 to 2007)
  • He officiated 772 regular-season games and 20
    playoff games

The Cases Considered VIIITim Donaghy
  • Donaghy resigned from the league on July 9, 2007
    just before it was announced that the Federal
    Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was investigating
    allegations that he bet on games that he
    officiated between 2005 and 2007.
  • It was also claimed that Donaghy made calls that
    affecting the point spread in those games.
  • On August 15, 2007, Donaghy pleaded guilty to two
    federal charges related to the investigation.
  • He was sentenced on July 14, 2008.

The Cases Considered VIIITim Donaghy
  • On June 12, 2008, during the NBA Finals, Donaghy
    further stirred the pot by alleging in a brief to
    the sentencing judge that league referees
    affected the outcomes of two playoff series in
    the past decade.
  • 2002 Los Angeles Lakers - Sacramento Kings
    Conference Finals
  • 2005 Dallas Mavericks - Houston Rockets playoff

The Cases Considered VIIITim Donaghy
  • The reason, Donaghy alleged, was to boost league
    revenue and television ratings.
  • The implication was that these improprieties were
    sanctioned -- even suggested -- by the league

The Cases Considered VIIITim Donaghy
  • One effect of the allegations was to deflect
    attention from the NBA Finals.
  • Game fixing became the focus of basketball talk.
  • Rather than celebrating the renewal of the
    storied rivalry between Boston and Los Angeles
  • the two cities which had won 1/2 of all NBA
    titles in league history

The Cases Considered IX Asashoryu
  • Asashoryu is the bad boy of sumo
  • The first Mongolian to ever achieve Yokuzuna,
    sumos highest rank
  • He was the first man in the sports history to
    win all 6 official tournaments in a single year
  • He has won 22 tournament championships to date

The Cases Considered IX Asashoryu
  • Asashoryu is sumos bad boy because he
    constantly flaunts its traditions and thumbs hs
    nose at the strict codes of behavior which
    regulate activity outside the ring
  • An avid K-1 fan, he has often spoken of quitting
    sumo for the more celebritized world of martial
  • He stunned the sumo world in 2007 when, while
    taking time off from sumo to recuperate from
    (alleged) injuries, he was found playing in a
    charity soccer match back in Mongolia
  • The media frenzy that followed led to his
    suspension from sumo for 2 tournaments.

The Cases Considered XDaiki Kameda
  • The Kamedas are an entire presentation in
  • A family of three boys, trained (and managed) by
    their father
  • They are gruff, uncouth, follow their own unique
    training regimen, and play by their own rules
  • They also fancy themselves celebrities

The Cases Considered XDaiki Kameda
  • Their rise to prominence in boxings lighter
    weigh classes has been supported and packaged by
    Japanese television broadcaster TBS
  • Thus, numerous evening specials and morning show
    segments feature the fighting family from Osaka

The Cases Considered XDaiki Kameda
  • Daiki, who is only 18, is known for his cool
    demeanor, his ever-present sunglasses, his tinted
    hair, poor manners, and his penchant for singing
    songs over the PA after his victorious bouts
  • In October 2007, however, he was suspended for
    one year for his behavior during a WBC flyweight
    title match

The Cases Considered XDaiki Kameda
  • During the match his father and brother advised
    him to gouge his opponents eyes and hit below
    the belt
  • And as it was clear he was losing to his 33
    year-old opponent, he tried to lift and throw
    him, rather than box.

The Cases Considered XDaiki Kameda
  • In an editorial, the newspaper, The Asahi Shimbun
    declared that the Kamedas have helped taint the
    "simple, stoical" sport of boxing with "elements
    of entertainment" that dont differ much from pro
  • Daikis elder brother later met the media and
    issued an apology on behalf of the entire family

The Cases Considered XI Luis Gonzalez
  • On April 30, 2008, Luis Gonzalez of the venerated
    Yomiuri Giants, was handed a one-year suspension
    for failing a drug test
  • Gonzalez is a Venezuelan native
  • Hed played for the Colorado Rockies from
  • His positive test was for clobenzorex,
    amphetamine, and p-hydro-xyamphetamine

The Cases Considered XI Luis Gonzalez
  • Gonzalez was immediately released by the Giants,
    whose executives held a press conference to, in
    part, publicly apologize for the disgrace they
    had visited (through their player) on Japaense
    professional baseball
  • The executives performed a ritual, collective,
    synchronized bow for photographers and reporters
  • This was the second suspension for illegal
    substances in Japanese professional baseball
  • The first was in 2007 when pitcher Rick
    Guttormson of the Softbank Hawks testing positive
    for Finasteride, a hairgrowing agent
  • Guttormson was suspended for 20 days

The Cases Considered XII Daniel Rios
  • One month later, a third illegal performance
    enhancement case led to another suspension and
  • Tokyo Yakult Swallows right-hander Daniel Rios
    was suspended for one year by the Nippon
    Professional Baseball Association following a
    failed drug test
  • He actually was tested twice (in late May and
    late June)
  • His positive test was for hydroxystanozolol, a
    metabolite of the anabolic steroid stanozolol
  • Although Rios denied and wrong-doing, Yakult
    immediately released him

The Cases Considered XII Daniel Rios
  • Rios is a native of Spain
  • He played briefly with the New York Yankees in
    1997 and the Kansas City Royals in 1998
  • He then pitched in South Korea for 6 seasons

The Cases Considered XIII Tomohiro Nioka
  • On July 6, 2008, Tokyo Giants baseball player,
    Tomohiro Nioka was seen in a love hotel with Mona
    Yamamoto, a popular TV announcer of mixed
    Norwegian/Japanese heritage.

The Cases Considered XIII Tomohiro Nioka
  • For Yamamoto this was the second brush with
    scandal. She had been fired from her earlier job
    as anchor on TBSs late night news program (NEWS
    23) when it was learned that she was having an
    affair with a married politician.
  • In the case of Nioka, who is also married, with a
    1 year-old child, Yamamoto took the brunt of
  • Just back in her own show after a 2 year exile,
    she was promptly suspended.

The Cases Considered XIII Tomohiro Nioka
  • For the most part this has been tabloid fodder.
  • Niokas teams response
  • His behavior was very senseless. We apologize to
    our fans. He is sorry for his own actions now.
    Since he is one of our key players, we decided to
    let him off with just a verbal warning this time.

Making Sense of the Cases
Making Sense of the Cases
  • Individually, these cases are all fascinating
  • However, collectively, they cohere in some
    telling ways
  • Above all, within their own societal contexts
    (i.e. the United States and Japan), these cases
    tell us much about the nature and perception of
    contest in the respective societies

Making Sense of the Cases
  • In America, off-field contest is manifested in
    rational terms via legal and administrative
    processes, rules, interpretations and resolutions
  • In Japan, off-field contest exist no less yet
    they are manifested in emotional terms via
    recourse to moral claims, to discussion of
    national and cultural integrity and the adherence
    to codes of practice and history

Making Sense of the Cases
  • These cultural systems are mirrored and
    buttressed by their media systems
  • Which convey communications and processes that
    pass through, respectively, rational and
    emotional (cultural) filters
  • But whose writers and reporters, themselves, are
    primed to think and respond, to shape and bend,
    the stories in these particular directions

Making Sense of the Cases
  • Thus is it that Japanese sporting discourse can
    easily give way to national/ist dialogue about
    what it means for a traditionally insular society
    to accommodate itself (for better and worse) to
    the influx of foreign elements
  • Games, players, practices, ways of orienting
    oneself in the world

Making Sense of the Cases
  • Just as American sporting discourse can easily
    become hijacked by rival political programs
  • The liberal discourse of increased governmental
    and administrative regulation to eliminate
  • The conservative discourse of increasing moral
    education in order to eliminate an endemic
    culture of self-aggrandizement at any (often
    illegal) cost

Making Sense of the Cases
  • The cultural systems are not completely hermetic,
    of course
  • Forces of globalization not only bring players
    and sporting cultures into contact with one
  • So, too, are institutional values and practices
    brought into dialogue, and co-mingled
  • Thus were the legal-rational anti-drug policies
    of the American and European golf associations
    adopted this year by the Japanese professional
    golf association
  • So, too, are these perspectives now under
    consideration for adoption in Japans most
    traditional, most national sport Sumo

Making Sense of the Cases
  • The cultural systems are also not completely
    distinct from each other
  • Driven increasingly by commercial media, sports
    in both countries have become
  • Mainstreamed and society-centered entertainment
  • Increasingly vehicles for info-tainment
  • A domain nurturing the cult of celebrity
  • A site for commercialization of its key figures
  • A vehicle for the manufacture of heroism both
    artificial and mundane
  • One would wonder if this is not also occuring in
    other societies/cultures, as well

The Causes of Endless Contestation
The Causes of Endless Contestation
  • The cases cited above provide details, above all,
    of how people associated with sports have screwed
  • This is no surprise as there are clear incentives
    for cheating in sports.
  • For instance, Strulik (2008) has explained the
    rise of doping cultures through socio-economic
  • It postulates that the doping decision of
    professional athletes is both a costs/benefits
    calculus (in terms of potential rank improvement)
    but also the approval by fellow athletes

The Causes of Endless Contestation
  • In short, reputation is a major factor.
  • We know that fame and economic incentive are also
    elements that influence decisions to cheat to
    act in excess.
  • Which, in turn, leads to regulation (by
    government) and attention by news media
  • And, if one of commercial medias major dictums
    is that sex sells, well, so, too, is that true
    of conflict
  • Contest is akin to the publishing dictum If it
    bleeds, it leads

The Causes of Endless Contestation
  • Certainly, media has to play a role
  • The watchdog role that the media has
    traditionally played
  • which can be seen in the Bonds/Game of Shadows
  • Weighed against the ability to capitalize on
    athletes marketability (their salesworthiness)
    which can drive paper purchase and viewership (on
    TV) and, hence, derivatively, advertising sales
  • which is a part of the Kameda and Nioka stories

The Causes of Endless Contestation
  • The media has a major role to play for the simple
    reason that conflict off the field may be even
    more compelling than conflict on it.
  • It conforms to the 24-7 news cycle of cable
    television, talk radio, and the Internet

The Effects of Endless Contestation
The Effects of Endless Contestation
  • Missing, though, from my discussion this far is
    larger attention to the reaction of fans
  • Although, on this count, some evidence suggests
    that the effect of scandals in any one sport are
    not fatal to the sport.
  • Paul Swangard, managing director of the
    University of Oregons Warsaw Sports Marketing
    Center, has said, for instance, that the Donaghy
    scandal does not much influence the mainstream
    fan and, thus, the future growth of a sports
    league like the NBA.

The Effects of Endless Contestation
  • In a Los Angeles Times article, Swangard said
    For the mainstream fan, the integrity of the
    game is probably less important than the
    entertainment value
  • . . . Its a(n) issue that they are aware of,
    but dont care about. Similar to the steroids
    controversy in baseball.

The Effects of Endless Contestation
  • And the recently completed NBA Finals can serve
    as some guide in this regard
  • Amidst the talk of match-fixing, these finals,
    pitting the two most storied NBA franchises
    playing in the finals against one another for the
    first time in 24 years, led to enormous TV
  • Far exceeding the previous years totals (between
    50 of households and 60 of viewers
  • The largest ratings for NBA Finals in 8 years
  • And this, despite the fact that one of the
    officials implicated in Donaghys allegations of
    2002 match fixing worked one of the 2008 Final

The Effects of Endless Contestation
  • Of greater concern might be the cumulative
  • The kind that have been theorized, for instance,
    by Noelle-Neumann in her spiral of silence
  • Relative to sports scandals, or endless
    contestation, what is developed among media-sport
    consumers may be an understanding that, rather
    than the privileged realm of play, sport is the
    zone of struggle, of rules-breaking, of trying to
    exploit neutral, presumably objectified systems
    for personal benefit and aggrandizement.

Media Role/Media Effect
  • In all of these cases, we can see (to varying
    degrees) the presence of media
  • A committee chairman is also a board executive of
    a major media empire
  • The enhanced performance that drugs allows leads
  • endorsement contracts (in the case of Marion
  • The flowering of third-party media exposure (in
    the case of Jones and Roger Clemens)
  • Intentional marketing of the athlete and sport by
    broadcasters (in the case of Kameda), thereby
    growing the sport and (with the sport) the
  • The circulation of societal-wide racial discourse
    via the racist commentary of the media (the Imus

Media Role/Media Effect?
  • But in asking about the efficacy of the media
    role, I would point to this example
  • In 1992, MLB Player of the Year, Ken Caminiti,
    confessed in Sports Illustrated that he used
    anabolic steroids
  • He estimated that roughly fifty percent of the
    players in the league were using them also.
  • His story had a major impact on the media and its
    attention to drugs in sports.
  • The following chart shows U.S. media attention to
    steroids in sports in 1992.

Media Role/Media Effect?
  • Week 14 is when the Sports Illustrated article
    was published about Caminiti.
  • Prior to that, only ten pieces were published in
    the mainstream media.
  • In the following 14 weeks, over 250 articles were
    published about steroids and sports.

Media Role/Media Effect?
  • Source http//www.steroid.com/steroids-in-sports.
    php (year 2002)

Media Role/Media Effect?
  • The SI Story had a kind of monkey see, monkey
    do effect (in the media)
  • However, it was more than a decade later than any
    tangible influence -- in the form of substance
    use policies in sports, Congressional hearings,
    the Mitchell Report, and Grand Jury indictments
    -- could actually be seen
  • So, while there is a media role for and an
    positive political/social outcome from endless
    contestation, it exists on a decided temporal lag

  • The Devolution of Advanced Society?

  • It is always good to remember the aphorism be
    careful what one wishes for . . . Because it
    might come true.
  • In those inspired moments just prior to the
    tolling of the submission deadline I dashed off
    the fateful words the devolution of advanced .
    . .etcetera and so forth.
  • How stupid can a sole be?
  • because here I am now having to explain and
    (more) defend those words

  • Well, clearly, we have yet to experience the
    demise of modern civilization because of endless
  • So, what could I possibly have been thinking of,

  • My basic thesis is that
  • Above all, when it comes to contemporary mediated
    sports, we are in the midst of a framed reality
    of continuous contestation
  • This imposes a rhetoric of divide -- of division
    on us
  • Second, as convenient as endless contest may be
    for the media, and as compelling as it may be for
    the fan, the results in terms of stability for
    the larger society may not be positive at all.

  • These cases clearly demonstrate that contestation
    exists in advanced commercial sporting cultures
    like the U.S. and Japan
  • Although the data is not longitudinal, I would
    venture that contestation, as a rhetorical
    sporting form and as a mode of discourse, is
  • This is due, I would assert, because of economic
    and political interests are engaged by
    questionable aggrandizing, self-centered, even
    illegal -- acts of athletes, coaches, and
    governing authorities
  • So, too, because of the intentional action of
  • For which endless contest is a favorable
    communication tool

  • Why this should precipitate a decline in these
    advanced societies should not require too much
  • The notion that everyone cheats or everyone is
    out to get theirs is bad enough
  • But what it results in is one of two responses
  • right, Im going to get mine, as well or else
  • wed better intervene to make sure that doesnt
    happen, or else
  • wed better knock this _at_ down a rung

  • Hold on, let me get mine as opposed to Not so
    fast, let me check your urine
  • The culture that advanced media sports has bred
    is that the purity of fair play has been
  • Mistrust attends every new athletic feat
  • Thus heroism is now suspect
  • A world lacking in heroes may not be completely
  • But a world of perpetual suspicion, of endless
    challenge of human achievement and motivation is.
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