The examples of difference in authorship and readership are growing by the day in American media. We seem to be able to surround ourselves with media and messaging that confirms our world view to the exclusion of other takes on events and personalities. Sports are not immune to this effect. Even though the scoreboard and clock provide an appearance of meritocracy, sports are contested spaces way beyond the final buzzer.
Let’s look closer at the experience of Jaelene Hinkle, American professional soccer player, and the US Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT). To get up to speed on the story read this article from the USA Today.
Now watch this video from the “700 Club” that was referenced in the article. What can we say about “authority” and “authorship” of this video? After watching the video, think about the “authorship” of the USA Today piece? What about the intended “readership” of each piece? Are they intended for the same audience? Is the “authority” stated by the creator of each piece viewed similarly by all who interact with it?
We will consider these questions from more reactions below the video.
Here is a Deadspin piece about the release of the “700 Club” video and revelation that she chose not to participate in 2017 due to actions she deemed contrary to her beliefs. What specific elements of “authorship” show through in the piece?
The timeline of response is of interest in this example. This Slate.com article was written when the USWNT announced Hinkle as a camp invitee for the 2018 Tournament of Nations. For what “readership” audience was this piece intended? Is that a similar audience to the other pieces in this chapter? How or how are they different?
Hinkle was eventually released from camp without making the competition sides for the Tournament of Nations. This Outsports article from Bleacher Report questions some different angles of the story and even questions the “authority” of the officials with the US Women’s National Team in terms of their statements to the press. How does this piece balance sport fandom and political sensibilities?
We must remember that American society chooses to treat sports as a business, for the positive elements and the not-so positive ones. We will turn our attention to all of the ways social sciences have attempted to make sense of sport and its role in our lives in the next chapters.