chapter  4
Getting Beyond Imagery: The Challenges of Reading Narratives About American Indian Athletes
ByEllen J. Staurowsky
Pages 23

Since the late 1800s, members of mainstream sport media have constructed narratives about American Indian athletes. Consistent with that history, American Indian athletes

were featured in stories on sports television and in sports publications between November 1999 and July 2001, a time period that straddled the ending of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first centuries. This paper examines several of those stories,

including an ESPN special on Native Americans in sport; the representation of Jim Thorpe in Athlete of the Century polls; the depiction of Ed ‘Wahoo’ McDaniel in Sports

Illustrated; and the book A Season on the Reservation: My Sojourn With the White Mountain Apache by former Los Angeles Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The analysis

reveals that racial dynamics and stereotypes about American Indians that exist broadly in US society are replicated and perpetuated in contemporary sport media narratives

about American Indian athletes.