Reading a book about rape culture and how it has manifested itself within the realm of society and college sports doesn’t make for an “enjoyable” time. Luckily in the capable hands of Jessica Luther, Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape, this is and cultural problem has been molded and shaped into something that reads like an essential text, forcing us to reckon with the pain and use it as a baseline for developing solutions.
More than just for sports fans or those in college, this is a book that dismantles many of the issues in society that have led to college football becoming the perfect microcosm of rape culture. What I think keeps this book humming along, even as you are being shown example after example of repugnant behavior and lack of accountability, is that Luther is unafraid of this depth. This in turn, allows the book to be accessible for those who don’t follow college sports who know about rape culture, those of us who follow sports religiously and maybe didn’t understand, and the regular lay person.
Most of the populace understands rape and issues of consent are a problem and given what has happened at Baylor, and to some extent the Nate Parker case, is something that needs to be addressed swiftly and with care. Luther outlines many ways to help clean up these issues and in her due diligence leaves readers, and colleges, with the tools to make it happen.