Acclaimed sports writers Jessica Luther and Kavitha A. Davidson explore what it means to be a fan, even as moral and ethical dilemmas—from doping to domestic violence—complicate the games we love.
Triumphant wins, gut-wrenching losses, last-second shots, underdogs, competition, and loyalty—it’s fun to be a fan. But when a football player takes a hit to the head after yet another study has warned of the dangers of CTE, or when a team whose mascot was born in an era of racism and bigotry takes the field, or when a relief pitcher accused of domestic violence saves the game, how is one to cheer? Welcome to the club for sports fans who care too much.
In Loving Sports When They Don’t Love You Back, acclaimed sports writers Jessica Luther and Kavitha A. Davidson tackle the most pressing issues in sports, why they matter, and how we can do better. For the authors, “sticking to sports” is not an option—not when our taxes are paying for the stadiums, and college athletes aren’t getting paid at all. But simply quitting a favorite team won’t change corrupt and deplorable practices, and the root causes of many of these problems are endemic in our wider society. An essential read for modern fans, Loving Sports When They Don’t Love You Back challenges the status quo and explores how we might begin to reconcile our conscience with our fandom.
- 1. Watching Football When We Know (Even a Little) about Brain Trauma
- 2. Forgiving the Doper You Love
- 3. Cheering for a Team with a Racist Mascot
- 4. Embracing Tennis despite Its Inequities
- 5. Coping When the Sports You Love Are Anti-LGBTQ+
- 6. Watching Women’s Basketball When People Tell You You’re the Only One
- 7. Consuming Sports Media . . . Even If You Don’t Look Like the People on TV
- 8. Rooting for Your Team When the Star Is Accused of Domestic Violence
- 9. Loving Your Team When You Hate the Owner
- 10. How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Baseball’s Free Market
- 11. Doubling Down on Your March Madness Bracket Even If the Athletes Don’t Make a Dime
- 12. Living with the New Stadium You Didn’t Want to Pay For
- 13. Enjoying the Olympics Despite the Harm to Your Community
- 14. Embracing That Athletes—and Sports—Are Political
“An incisive, damning indictment of the world's most popular pastimes.”
Kirkus, Starred Review
“A wide-ranging look at the moral quandaries inherent in fandom.”
“I am thankful for this text as a reminder, among a great many other things, that affection can come with a responsibility. Luther and Davidson thoughtfully reckon with sports and their long history of inequity, seeking accountability without dimming the impact that sports have had on their lives, and many lives beyond theirs. This is a generous book, one that I will sit with for years to come.”
“For some of us, this has been a long-standing question: How to reconcile our love of sports with the undeniable ethical issues and conflicts of conscience that often surround them? On these pages Kavitha Davidson and Jessica Luther make an honest and interesting attempt to answer that question.”