Sporting Masculinity on the gridiron: Construction, Characteristics, and Consequences

This paper draws on interviews with 81 Canadian football players and administrators across junior, university, and professional football, as well as 20 published autobiographies of football players, to examine the development and consequences of sporting masculinity. In this paper, the concept of sporting masculinity is further developed and contrasted with other masculinities, particularly hegemonic masculinity. Various aspects of sporting masculinity in Canadian football are examined such as: the development of a male space, sentiments of superiority both on and off the field, body image issues, playing through pain and injury, analogies of war, and football as a total institution. This paper concludes with a discussion of the dangerous and harmful consequences of sporting masculinity to football players, as well the larger social issues that arise from this identity and the characteristics it can entail.