Teachable Moments?: The Case of Penn State

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2 Responses

  1. Jeff–great post. i’ve done a number of media interviews on this topic over the past couple of weeks. One of the things I’ve tried to stress, as someone who does a lot of research on sport, is the sport-specific aspects and angles to this–what the incident and reactions reveal about this powerful and yet often little understood institution.

    For example, one of the things i talked about with respect to the initial wave of denial is how this kind of incident brings out the deeply contradictory–and often simultaneously held–views Americans have of sport: how, on the one hand, we claim such lofty ideals for it when things are going well, and then how quick we can be to minimize or dismiss its significance when problems emerge. I saw this really at play initially at Penn State since its reputation was built not just on winning games, but winning with honor and integrity (http://testing.thesocietypages.org/editors/2011/11/14/media-moments/).

    Along with another sport scholar or two, I was interviewed for a story that ran in a local paper that provided another variation on the theme this past weekend. It was about how sports–because of this idealism as well as its own gendered and sexual norms–can also provide a cover for abusers (http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/135285063.html).

  2. jeffdowd says:

    thanks for your comment and for the links. i have been looking for some sociologically informed writings on this topic to use in my upcoming social problems course.

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