The Erosion of the American Sporting Ethos: Shifting Attitudes Towards Competition
Drug scandals, athlete salaries, bad behavior . . . if you’ve noticed that conversations about professional sports seem to have little to do with competition or athletic performance these days, you’ll want to read The Erosion of the American Sporting Ethos: Shifting Attitudes Toward Competition (McFarland & Company, 2007). “Sport offends us,” says author Joel Nathan Rosen, assistant professor of sociology at Moravian. For some, he explains, organized sports challenge the egalitarian idea that we’re all champions. Others resent that sports celebrities often behave in less than admirable ways. Joel Nathan, who noticed this trend while working in sports radio, says that something important is being lost in all the negative chatter. “Almost never do we have discussions about dynamics of exhilaration. We don’t hear a lot about extraordinary talent without it being enveloped in some kind of controversy,” he says. Joel Nathan’s book describes how broader social trends of the fi fties and sixties led to our current love-hate relationship with athletes and athletics.