The framing of male sports team members as perpetual adolescents

To me, it is not in the least bit surprising that members of professional sports teams are, in many cases, not well-rounded adults.
They are often venerated at an early age, while still in school (the Jock culture is alive and well), and thrust into the public eye at a point in their lives when they are both inexperienced and vulnerable. Unsurprisingly, hubris often becomes embedded in their behavior as a result. This hubris is pandered to by the alarming tendency of sports teams and colleges to prevent accountability for bad actions from falling on the sports team members. High-priced lawyers are often employed in US college sports to make awkward allegations “disappear”. The team must not be implicated. Several colleges have been exposed over the years for engaging in cover-ups of bad behavior, both by sports team members, and also by coaches and leaders.
However, in many sports, especially in the UK, the coaches and managers of sports teams unwittingly perpetuate the idea that the team is composed of adolescents, by their constant referral to “the boys”, or “the lads” in interviews and discussions. This reveals a worldview that fails to treat sports team members as adults, lowering expectations of behavior across a wide front.
The phrase “boys will be boys”, a classic rationalization of bad behavior, then becomes an integral part of the worldview and conversation, usually in an attempt to head off criticism for bad behavior.
The overall effect of these kinds of self-serving rationalizations is to reinforce the conviction in many athletes that they are Special and that the Normal Rules of Life need not apply to them.


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