The Ignoble Sports Fan
AbstractIn an article recently published in this Journal, entitled "The Noble Sports Fan," Garry Smith (1988) presents a sociological analysis of the sports follower role. Unfortunately, his effort is seriously flawed. This paper, consequently, attempts to rectify selected significant errors and inadequacies to be found in Smith's study by providing a critique of four particularly problematic areas, namely: (1) the unquestioned adoption of the structural-functionalist position; (2) the attempted repudiation of the charge that sports spectating acts as an opiate; (3) the misunderstanding of art and artistic endeavors; and (4) the purported nobility of the sports fan. A concluding note offers suggestions for future research to enhance the sociological understanding of the sports spectator.