Michael Butterworth Archives
9 Posts
Activism & Protest Photo October 8, 2020

Social Justice in the “Unified” NFL

If the NFL really wants to promote anti-racism, it seems hard to imagine a less emphatic visual statement.

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Michael Butterworth Photo September 26, 2017

Stirring NFL Protest Optics: Unity to What End?

As encouraging as the explosion of protest in the NFL may be, let us not lose focus on the purpose of such protest in the first place.

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Activism & Protest Photo December 12, 2014

Protesters vs. Props for Freedom: College Athletes Can’t Breathe Either

The solidarity of the players expresses a desire not to wear “freedom” as a slogan but to seize it as a fragile part of their daily lives.

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Business Focus Photo October 6, 2014

Abdullah's 100 Yard Prayer Rug: The Visual Landscape of Faith and Violence in Sports and the NFL

The NFL's missteps must become opportunities to address the symbols of violence that the league promotes. Can Abdullah help us do that?

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Sports Focus Photo July 14, 2014

The Second Coming: The Messianic Visuals of LeBron's Return to Cleveland

These images are only a small sampling, but the symbolism should be clear: LeBron James is still a savior, the prodigal son awaiting his redemption.

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Michael Butterworth Photo February 4, 2013

Super Bawl

Too often, however, American culture upholds this kind of hypermasculine intensity as a virtue.

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Michael Butterworth Photo December 18, 2012

The NFL and Newtown: Reflections on a Violent World

The nationalistic imagery stands out for me in the photo because I know how seamlessly it is woven into the fabric of the sport itself, especially in its most muscular, militaristic forms.

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Michael Butterworth Photo September 26, 2012

Football’s End of Days?

Going with replacement refs, what has been happened in the NFL is nothing short of apocalyptic, at least according American sports media.

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Michael Butterworth Photo May 2, 2011

"Take 'Em Out" at the Ball Game (Or: "The Jersey Pop")

In this image we see the almost perfect conflation of sport and nationalism. Here, the citizen as “fan” celebrates his “team,” the United States. The death of an American enemy, then, is roughly the equivalent of a walk-off home run.

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