[PAST EVENT] Brown Bag: "When Rituals Fail: Confessions of Doping in Elite Sports"
In the nineteenth century, Protestant reformers declared: sport builds character. They described sport as ethically valuable in and of itself and as an experiential tool to teach values and cooperation. However, elite and highly competitive sports have long raised ethical challenges when it comes to fairness in competition. Turning to steroid use in Major League Baseball and Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal, I consider how rituals of confession failed to redeem these athletes because the athletes themselves resisted the premise. Rituals of confession preserve an underlying ideology that sport is “character building.” When these rituals fail, they reveal the uncomfortable circumstances that can lead to doping in the first place like monetary reward, intense pressure to perform, and the entertainment demands of elite sport.
Annie Blazer is an associate professor of religious studies. Her courses investigate the relationships between religions and American culture, paying attention to race, class, gender, and sexuality. Professor Blazer's first book, Playing for God: Evangelical Women and the Unintended Consequences of Sports Ministry (NYU Press), was released in July 2015. Professor Blazer’s current research continues to explore the relationship between sports and religions in the U.S.
Please email [[jdcarlson]] for the Zoom link for this event.