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In the Game
Gay Athletes and the Cult of Masculinity
In the Game
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Eric Anderson - Author
SUNY series on Sport, Culture, and Social Relations
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 222 pages
Release Date: January 2005
ISBN10: 0-7914-6533-0
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6533-2

Price: $32.95 
Paperback - 222 pages
Release Date: January 2005
ISBN10: 0-7914-6534-9
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6534-9

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

2005 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award

Examines the relationship between gay male athletes, sport, and American masculinity.

Using interviews with openly gay and closeted team-sport athletes, Eric Anderson examines how homophobia is reproduced in sport, how gay male athletes navigate this, and how American masculinity is changing. By detailing individual experiences, Anderson shows how these athletes are emerging from their athletic closets and contesting the dominant norms of masculinity. From the locker rooms of high school sports, where the atmosphere of "don't ask, don't tell" often exists, to the unique circumstances that gay athletes encounter in professional team sports, this book analyzes the agency that openly gay athletes possess to change their environments.

In the Game provides the most extensive outpouring of gay male athletes’ narratives and experiences to date, and if they listen, both gay and straight male readers—whether they are athletes or geeks, scholars or recreational readers—will learn a good deal about themselves and the ways that manhood gets defined within sport and the larger gender order … The controversial content and fast-paced writing will make this book an attention grabber and discussion starter among undergraduates.” — Men and Masculinities

“…a book that is long overdue. Anderson provides a thorough analysis of homophobia in sports and of the challenges of being a gay male athlete in that environment." — CHOICE

"Idealized narratives classically paint sport as fair, character building, and as upholding the highest of social ideals. Internationally, sports are seen as an opportunity for diplomacy, to promote international harmony, and to bring out the best in humanity. However, Eric Anderson reminds us that sport is exquisitely vulnerable and regularly hijacked by the most base, sinister, and antisocial of human motives." — David Plummer, author of One of the Boys: Masculinity, Homophobia, and Modern Manhood

"Eric Anderson is a true trailblazer with his meticulous research into the lives of gay athletes. He has opened a window on what might be the final closet in society." — Jim Buzinski,

"Change takes time, and this book will not only help readers better understand the phenomenon of homophobia in sport, but also in time it could help athletes and coaches deal with this difficult and largely unaddressed issue." — Mark Tewksbury, Olympic Gold Medalist, 1992 Barcelona Olympics and Copresident of the 1st World Outgames, Montréal 2006

"Anderson is an articulate listener, and he extracts a richly diverse set of stories of anguish and acceptance, homophobic bullying, and homosocial bonding. Carefully researched, systematically argued, and elegantly written, this book offers both analysis and hope." — Michael S. Kimmel, author of The Gender of Desire: Essays on Male Sexuality and The History of Men: Essays on the History of American and British Masculinities

"This is a must read for anyone who wants to understand this issue that has plagued our sports scene in ways most of us do not know." — Richard Lapchick, author of Smashing Barriers: Race and Sport in the New Millennium

Eric Anderson is Lecturer on Sociology at Stony Brook University, State University of New York and the author of Trailblazing: The True Story of America's First Openly Gay Track Coach.

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Table of Contents




1. Warming Up

The Link between Sport and Homophobia

2. Sport, Masculinity, and Hegemonic Oppression

One Athlete's Story: Dale, High School Football Player
Masculinity as Hegemonic Oppression
Masculine Capital, Orthodox Masculinity, and Hegemonic Masculinity
Maintaining Masculinity: Homophobia at Work
Hegemonic Masculinity in School Culture
Problematizing Sport Culture
Sporting Hegemony and Gay Athletes

3. The Relationship between Gay Athletes and Sport

One Athlete's Story: Aaron, Closeted NHL Player
The Relationship between Gay Athletes and Sport
Gay Athletes: Challenging Masculine Domination
Representation of Gay Athletes in Sport

4. Systems of Masculine Reproduction

One Athlete's Story: Terry, Retired Closeted NFL Player
The Structure of Sport
Sport as a Near-Total Institution
Sport as a Gender-Segregated Institution
Sport as a Closed-Loop Institution

5. Coming Out in Sport

One Athlete's Story: Blake, High School Basketball Player
Fear of Coming Out
Coming Out in Sport
Feelings of Liberation
Reverse Relative Deprivation
Homophobic Discourse
The Evolving Coming Out Story

6. Mitigating Gay Stigma

One Athlete's Story: Bob, Collegiate Track Star
Using Masculine Capital to Mitigate the Stigma of Being Gay
Increasing Masculine Capital through Performance
The Effect of Masculine Capital on Coming Out
Adopting All Other Tenets of Orthodox Masculinity

7. Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Resisting a Culture of Gay Athleticism

One Athlete's Story: John, High School Basketball Player
Don't Ask, Don't Tell
The Price of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

8. Factors That Influence Acceptance

One Team's Story: The Troubadours Cheerleading Team
Factors That Influence Homosexual Acceptance
The Coach
Social Support Networks
Institutional Attitudes
The Intersectionality of Race and Coming Out
Nature and Origin of the Sport
Other Factors

9. The Center of Masculine Production: Gay Athletes in Professional Sports

One Athlete's Story: Steven, Closeted NFL Player
Professional Sports
The Relationship between Professional Athletes and Homosexuality
Professional-Sized Fear
Professional Pressure
Gay Athletes and the Sport-Media Complex
The Employer
Cracking the Center

10. Doing Something about It

Research Findings
Factors in a Positive Coming Out Experience
How to Come Out to Your Team
Avoiding the Bisexual Trap
After Coming Out
Dealing with Uncomfortable Situations
On Being Attracted to Your Teammates
When Things Don't Go Well
The Importance of Comebacks
Specific Issues for Gay Coaches
Handling the Privacy Issue
Warming Down




SUNY Series on Sport, Culture, and Social Relations

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