With the 249th Pick.. Michael Sam and Imagining Failure Otherwise

Evan Brody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This article examines the sporting discourses that surrounded Michael Sam’s attempt to play in the National Football League (NFL). It argues that Sam would inevitably be described as a failure because of his inability to exist within the logics of heteronormativity and situates his experience within the framework of neoliberalism and Whiteness to better understand how both function as mediating factors in his ability to attain success. Rather than dismissing Sam’s story as abject failure, this article instead reevaluates his journey within the lens of queerness. It discusses how we might look to queerness as a mode of being, which allows a refocusing of the story from Sam’s individual failure to the institutions which fail to include queer bodies in their vision of success.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-318
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Sport and Social Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • football
  • gay athletes
  • neoliberalism
  • queer failure
  • sports discourse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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