Sport, Scandal, and Social Morality

David Rowe, Catherine Palmer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


There is a deep and enduring relationship between sport and scandal. This chapter recognizes that sport scandals are enormously variable, involving moral and ethical conduct ranging from relatively mundane transgressions such as marital infidelity to serious breaches of the civil and criminal law. Using sociological and anthropological theories and concepts, it seeks to understand the social relationships implicated in the making, trajectory, and consequences of the sport scandal. Focusing especially on sport scandals involving “race” and gender, and the key role of the media, the chapter considers the creation of “moral panics” through sport and its recurring narratives of redemption, particularly in cases involving sport celebrities. In challenging arguments that sport scandals are mostly trivial, ephemeral, mediated dramas, it is concluded that they can be profoundly instructive about the constitution of social morality and serve to stimulate policy changes of considerable importance within the institution of sport and across wider society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Sport and Society
EditorsLawrence A. Wenner
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780197519042
ISBN (Print)9780197519011
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2022

Publication series

NameThe Oxford Handbook of Sport and Society
PublisherOxford University Press


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