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Old 11-10-2011, 11:52 AM
20,273 posts, read 26,800,452 times
Reputation: 2879


Originally Posted by squarian View Post
We will leave that, as the lawyers say, to the jury to decide.
I don't get it. What jury?

You are shifting - the thread was never limited to pro, you just wanted to ground your argument there.
If you look at the OP, it was specifically asking about the Steelers. But I agree it doesn't much matter--all major pro sports and a lot of high-profile college sports exhibit the same basic dynamics.

And by that logic you presumably would ascribe every sort of tribalism or fanaticism to marketing.
Wow. You would really have to willfully ignore what I have consistently saying throughout this thread to come up with such a strawman.

In fact, I have been pointing out that tribalism is part of human nature, and runs throughout human societies. Sports marketing makes USE of the human tendency to tribalism, but it doesn't create it out of thin air.

So, tribalism can definitely arise without similar marketing. On the other hand, these days almost every social institution does some sort of marketing, and there are many other examples of entities similarly encouraging tribalism as part of a marketing campaign (politics, for example, is full of that).

Once again, simply because the phenomenon can be observed elsewhere does not disprove the phenomenon.
No, but it disconfirms an explanatory hypothesis that would predict a localized phenomenon. In other words, if you are trying to explain the phenomenon with explanatory factors unique to a certain region (and in fact a specific sport), the fact the phenomenon is also widely observed in other regions and other sports suggests you likely need a different sort of explanatory hypothesis.

I haven't yet encountered such an hypothesis here - perhaps you could find it for me. It is my hypothetical contention that the observably very strong allegiance to football teams (note the plural - we're talking "football culture", not just pro football) in this region has its origins in the cultural matrix of the region.
Right, but it turns out other regions with different "cultural matrices" also exhibit "very strong allegiance to football teams". They also exhibit "very strong allegiances" to other sorts of sports teams.

Again, I would suggest we take a step back and review what we know about sports team popularity in general, and apply that to the Steelers, and for that matter Penn State football if you would like. My contention is that once you apply the well-known general factors, there is nothing left for some unique "cultural matrix" in this region to explain.

Your view, if I understand it, completely discounts any cultural role in this loyalty and assigns it instead purely to advertising.
That's obviously not right as a summary of my views.

My view, first of all, is that we know that a history of recent success does more to explain a sports team's relative popularity than "loyalty". There are also some other well-known factors, such as a relative lack of competition from other major sports (say the lack of an NBA team, or a successful MLB team). So from the very start, I reject the premise that there is some unusual amount of "loyalty" among Steelers fans (or Penn State football fans) that actually needs to be explained with anything but the usual, well-known factors.

But of course that is not to say "culture" plays no role in all this in the broad sense. Rather, it is to recognize that local "sports culture" is a malleable thing, and is observed to respond to certain factors. Moreover, it is to recognize that sports culture as we know it has been carefully cultivated by not only sports leagues, but also their affiliates, including most notably major media outlets, but also governments, and so on. In that sense the marketing of sports is much more than just normal "advertising", since all these various entities are contributing to that marketing for their own purposes.

So the difference in our explanations is not that you recognize the importance of culture, and I refuse to do so. Rather, it is a difference in which factors we think are actually determining local sports culture as we know it. And I am simply applying a large body of research in this area and concluding that once we take into account all of the standard factors, there is nothing left to explain about the popularity of the Steelers and the behavior of Steelers fans, or for that matter the popularity of Penn State football and the behavior of Penn State football fans.

You posited that hard line - I've done my best, out of fairness, to avoid making the obvious point that your economic/advertising theory is simply a subset of the popular cultural matrix.
I don't see where I posited a hard line between economic and social forces, or the marketing of sports and sports culture. In fact, I take myself to have been explaining what we know about how all these things are connected.

The only thing I have suggested is that certain specific explanations of certain aspects of local sports culture are myths which have been promoted by the relevant sports leagues and their affiliates as part of their marketing campaigns. But that isn't to reject social and cultural analysis entirely, but just those particular theories.
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:30 PM
3,164 posts, read 5,720,511 times
Reputation: 1263
Originally Posted by SteelCityRising View Post
I can't believe students were angrier over Paterno's firing than over Sandusky's continued raping (and potential "pimping") of boys. Last night's rioting really helps to show just how out-of-touch many in PA are when it comes to being grounded in reality. To think people will flip over news vans, topple street lights, smash windows, throw rocks at police and the media, scream obscenities, etc. because their football program is in jeopardy, yet they don't even sneeze when reading text like this:

"According to a grand jury report, the graduate student entered a locker room on a Friday night in 2002 to stow away some sneakers.

As the graduate student entered the locker room doors, he was surprised to find the lights and showers on," the grand jury report stated. "He then heard rhythmic, slapping sounds."

The assistant looked into the shower and "saw a naked boy ... whose age he estimated to be 10 years old, with his hands up against the wall, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky," the grand jury report stated."

That's not as irksome, apparently, as PSU's football program imploding.
One big difference, Paterno didn't rape anyone AND he reported it to the President of the University.

Why would you think that students weren't also upset about Sandusky did? Why would you think that they care more about football than child sexual assault?
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