As the oldest and most prominent sports magazine in the United States, Sports Illustrated has received considerable attention and critique from sports scholars. This work extends that research tradition by examining the content of the magazine’s weekly feature “Sign of the Apocalypse.” The short, anecdotal proclamation humorously frames and publicizes absurd and unusual aspects of sport. Seemingly easy to dismiss, the feature provides a powerful location from which to leverage criticism against sport as a flawed social institution. Thus, this investigation sought to uncover the particular aspects of sport that “Sign of the Apocalypse” identified routinely. This was achieved through a grounded theory analysis of a sample drawn from the collection of installments available since the feature’s inception in 1993. Themes that appeared regularly included (a) commodification, (b) miscues and inappropriateness, (c) social transgression, (d) egotism of athletes, (e) fan behavior, (f) gamesmanship and cheating, (g) governance, (h) the wacky world of sports, and (i) violence.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 1-29
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.