Rationalizing Black Death: Sport Media’s Dehumanizing Coverage of Black College Football Players

  • Siduri J. HaslerigEmail author
  • Sara E. Grummert
  • Rican Vue
Part of the Neighborhoods, Communities, and Urban Marginality book series (NCUM)


College GameDay (CGD) commentary and imagery is one source of socialization that reinforces ideologies that rationalize police violence (and our tolerance thereof). As the most watched college sport broadcast of all time (Volner D, More than 179 million fans watched 100 billion minutes of college football games on ESPN’s TV networks during the 2016 college football season; 15 million unique devices streamed ESPN games. ESPN MediaZone. Retrieved from, 2016), CGD primes audiences to make certain associations (Moy P, Tewksbury D, Rinke EM, Agenda-setting, priming, and framing. In: Jenson KB, Craig RT, Pooley JD, & Rothenbuhler EW (eds), The international encyclopedia of communication theory and philosophy. Wiley, 2016). Through analysis of regular- and postseason CGD pregame and game-of-the-week broadcasts during the 2016 football season, the authors examine the use of animal metaphors and the belief that Black people possess superstrength. The chapter documents prominent narratives promoting Black players as invulnerable in the broadcasts while making the case these narratives serve to prime audiences—including law enforcement—to ascribe inhuman abilities to Black people, thus reinforcing the belief lethal force against them is justified.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Siduri J. Haslerig
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sara E. Grummert
    • 2
  • Rican Vue
    • 3
  1. 1.University of OklahomaNormanUSA
  2. 2.University of California, RiversideRiversideUSA
  3. 3.Oregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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