“Bad Boys” and Girls in Sports: an edited collection of scholarly analyses

deadline for submissions: 
May 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Book publication
contact email: 

At their most basic level, sporting events are about numbers: wins and losses, percentages and points, shots and saves, clocks and countdowns. However, when it comes to sports narratives—the expert commentary before, during and after, the athlete interviews and press conferences, the fan debates around a television or in online forums, etc.—the stories quickly leave the realm of analytics and enter into mythos. The narratives we tell make sports so compelling. We shape athletes into heroes or scapegoats, Davids or Goliaths. We mold the sporting event into a comeback tale or a fall from grace. In other words, we make sports dramatic.


Just like any great drama, sports imply conflict, not just battles on the field of play, but clashes of personalities, goals, and strategies for accomplishing those objectives. Conflict creates heroes … but it also invites stories of villainy. Sometimes an athlete is villainized for a game or a season, but occasionally a player breaks from social expectations so often or in such a dramatic fashion that (s)he is labeled a “bad boy” in the sport. From John McEnroe and Pete Rose to Tonya Harding and Michael Vick, sporting history is punctuated by these bad boys, and what it takes to be placed in this category varies depending on many factors: the particular sport, social trends, race, gender, relationship with the fans or media, etc.


This collection will explore “bad boys” (and girls) in sports and their place in both the sporting world and broader culture. Each chapter will focus on a central figure within a specific sport, and it will use that figure as a way to explore larger sporting and social issues. For example, what does it take to be cast as a bad boy in a specific sport? What does that say about the values held in that sport during that time period? How does race, gender, social-media use, media/fan relationships, background, domestic versus international competition, social expectations, etc. play a role in the creation of a bad boy?


We are seeking chapter proposals that explore this topic. Any methodological approach is welcome, but the chapter should be geared toward an audience that could range from sporting enthusiast to critical scholar. Although there is some room for overlap, we would like each chapter to explore a different sport, and no two chapters will explore the same central figure. Proposals have already been accepted that examine John Daly, Collin Kaepernick, Ryan Lochte, and Jameis Winston. We welcome analysis of any sport, but we are particularly interested in chapters on Baseball, Tennis, Cycling, Basketball, Soccer, American Football, Boxing, Hockey, Auto Racing, and Olympic competitions.


Proposals should be between 400-700 words, and they should include a brief author bio. Please email proposals to Dr. John Lamothe at john.lamothe@erau.edu by May 1, 2018. Completed chapters will be expected by October 1, 2018.