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‘It’s just a bit of Banter...’:
Exploring the Significance of Homophobia,‘Banter’ and Homosexually-Themed Language in the Working Lives of Professional Footballers

NAGLE, JOSEPH (2016) ‘It’s just a bit of Banter...’:
Exploring the Significance of Homophobia,‘Banter’ and Homosexually-Themed Language in the Working Lives of Professional Footballers.
Masters thesis, Durham University.

Full text not available from this repository.
Author-imposed embargo until 08 June 2018.


In the context of the notable absence of an openly gay player in UK professional football(Cashmore and Cleland, 2014), this investigation draws upon data gathered from 30 semistructured,in-depth, face-to-face qualitative interviews in order to examine professional player’s views, attitudes and experiences relating to homosexuality, homophobia,homosexually–themed language (HTL) and the prospect of openly gay players. Findings
highlight a clear dissonance between predominantly positive attitudes towards homosexuality expressed by two thirds of the sample, and their reflections on the continued and complex use of HTL and homophobic pejoratives in the dressing room for a range of purposes(McCormack, 2011; McCormack et al., in press) which were commonly suggested to be divorced from homophobic intent. The social significance of dressing room ‘banter’(Roderick, 2006) is demonstrated in this research and was shown to hold inclusive interpretations as part of acceptance in the group, alongside continued use as a form of social
regulation including homophobic pejoratives (Parker, 2006). McCormack et al’s (in press)discussion of the importance ‘friendships’ and ‘shared norms’ when interpreting language was used as an explanatory tool in the differential interpretation of ‘banter’ and HTL as
inclusive or regulatory. Thus, the use of ‘banter’, often including homophobic pejoratives, as a strategy to undermine is supported in the study and was perceived as testing mental toughness, getting a reaction or ‘bite’ from players, and asserting dominance and status in the
dressing room. This study therefore offers an empirically grounded hypothesis, that in the context of prevalent assumptions of others’ disapproval towards homosexuality, and sexualized forms of physical tactility between players in the showers (Magrath et al., 2013), it appears likely that the habitual use of homophobic pejoratives, regardless of the perceived lack of homophobic intent, is being interpreted by closeted gay players as evidence of
homophobic attitudes in the dressing room, which may influence their decisions to remain ‘closeted’ during their playing careers.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Jun 2016 10:57

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