The Erotic Gaze in the NFL Draft
The National Football League (NFL) draft is an annual meeting where professional teams claim contract rights to college players. It has recently become a major media event, previewed extensively by scores of magazines, newspapers, and websites, and televised in its seventeen-hour entirety by ESPN. A critical reading of these discourses finds frequent expressions of desire for the bodies of draft prospects. The paper situates this homoerotic commentary in the historical context of American white supremacy in order to explain why the mostly black prospects are available for this kind of perusal and assessment, especially given the taboos against homosexual desire that suffuse the culture of elite football; while explaining how such practices affirm inter-male dominance based on a hierarchy of race by deploying the patriarchal strategies of the male gaze.