cover image Loving Sports When They Don’t Love You Back: Dilemmas of the Modern Fan

Loving Sports When They Don’t Love You Back: Dilemmas of the Modern Fan

Jessica Luther and Kavitha A. Davidson. Univ. of Texas, $26.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-47731-313-8

Sportswriters Luther (Unsportsmanlike Conduct) and Davidson offer a fascinating take on the myriad ethical issues facing sports fans today. From watching the NFL while knowing the damage concussions can wreak on players, navigating fandom while disliking a bigoted team owner, and cheering for teams with racist mascots, Luther and Davidson cut a wide swath. They offer stringent commentary on the dangers of capitalism running amok in cultural activities: “Sports are big business, and with that comes the dirtiness of any major moneymaking thing that holds cultural significance.” Notable chapters include a discussion of the gender gap in CTE research (“female athletes report more concussions than their male counterparts and are suffering severe brain trauma, too”) and coverage of the Spokane woman who led an attempt in the 1990s to make the University of Illinois drop its “Fightin’ Illini” team name. Among the remedies they propose are having kids play flag football instead of full-contact to protect them from head injuries, and for sports organizations to be more open to hearing dissenting views and opinions. Meticulously researched, this is enlightening reading for the 21st-century sports fan. (Sept.)