David Leonard: Reading
Playing While White: Privilege and Power On and Off the Field argues that whiteness matters in sports culture, both on and off the field. Offering critical analysis of athletic stars such as Johnny Manziel, Marshall Henderson, Jordan Spieth, Lance Armstrong, and Josh Hamilton, as well as the predominantly white cultures of NASCAR and extreme sports, David identifies how whiteness is central to the commodification of athletes and the sports they play.
David demonstrates that sporting cultures are a key site in the trafficking of racial ideas, narratives, and ideologies. He identifies how white athletes are frequently characterized as intelligent leaders who are presumed innocent of the kinds of transgressions black athletes are often pathologized for. With an analysis of the racial dynamics of sports traditions as varied as football, cycling, hockey, baseball, tennis, snowboarding, and soccer, as well as the reception and media portrayals of specific white athletes, David examines how and why whiteness matters within sports and what that tells us about race in the twenty-first century.
DAVID J. LEONARD is a professor at Washington State University. He is the author of After Artest: The NBA and the Assault on Blackness and coeditor of Commodified and Criminalized: New Racism and African Americans in Contemporary Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @drdavidjleonard.
Playing While White argues that whiteness matters in sports culture, both on and off the field.
On November 19, 2004, a fight between NBA players Ron Artest and Ben Wallace escalated into a melee involving several other players and many fans. The "Palace Brawl," writes David J. Leonard, was a seminal event, one that dramatically altered outside perceptions of the sport.
Commodified and Criminalized examines the centrality of sport to discussions of racial ideologies and racist practices in the 21st century. It disputes familiar refrains of racial progress, arguing that athletes sit in a contradictory position masked by the logics of new racism and dominant white racial frames.