Football teams create playbooks, in which they draw up the plays they will use on the field. Playbooks are how teams work and why they win. This book is about a different kind of playbook: the one coaches, teams, universities, police, communities, the media, and fans seem to follow whenever a college football player is accused of sexual assault. It’s a deep dive into how different institutions—the NCAA, athletic departments, universities, the media—run the same plays over and over again when these stories break. If everyone runs his play well, scrutiny dies down quickly, no institution ever has to change how it operates, and the evaporation of these cases into nothingness looks natural. In short, this playbook is why nothing ever changes.
Unsportsmanlike Conduct unpacks this societal playbook piece by piece, and not only advocates that we destroy the old plays, but also suggests we replace them with ones that will force us to finally do something about this issue.
Political sportswriter and Edge of Sports imprint curator Dave Zirin (the Nation) has never shied away from criticizing that which die-hard sports fans hold dear. The Edge of Sports titles will address issues across many different sports—football, basketball, swimming, tennis, etc.—and at both the professional and nonprofessional/collegiate levels. Furthermore, Zirin brings to the table select stories of athletes’ journeys and what they are facing and how they evolve both in their sport as well as against the greater backdrop of one’s life’s odyssey.