The Role of Masculinity in Sports and Society


From Nov. 2 to 3, the Masculinity Summit was held at St. Norbert College, feautring many distinguished speakers. The panel on the morning of Thursday, Nov. 2, consisted of many influential individuals from a collection of different backgrounds and career paths.

Before the panel took place, a breakfast was served, along with clever names inspired by masculinity for each of the food items. Each speaker gave some biographical information about themselves and then opened the floor to questions from the audience.

Each speaker on the panel provided reasoning for why he is so interested in the concept of masculinity, especially in the careers each holds.

Rob Davis is currently the development director of the Green Bay Packers. He was a former professional football player and made many discoveries about professional football firsthand. Being in the public eye, he thought that the media wanted stereotypical answers of an African American who fought his way up to the pros. However, he soon realized that he needed to share the actual details of how he got where he is today and stressed the importance of understanding yourself first.

Dr. Norbert Hill, education director of the Oneida tribe, shared his experiences as a little boy growing up in Native American culture. He was one of the first people to sue the Washington Redskins on account of their mascot. He believes that Native Americans should not be treated as cartoons and mascots. He made his point by saying we would never have a team entitled the “New York Jews”.

Jesse Steinfeldt, masculinity and sport scholar at Indiana University, discussed the stereotypes of football players. He also discussed how masculinity is not an inherently good or bad thing and that norms are what causes problems. He believes there are different ways to express one’s masculinity.

“You can be a tough guy that experiences pain but hugs his daughter when he gets home,” said Steinfeldt.

Harry Sydney, founder of My Brother’s Keeper and former Green Bay Packer, discussed his experiences growing up and the struggles he faced living in the South. He worked hard in order to earn his spot on each team he played for. When in Green Bay, he realized that there was an epidemic of boys and men becoming directionless. He realized that no one was teaching the men how to be men. He thought instead of finding someone to talk to,, he asked himself, “Why not me?” He then started My Brother’s Keeper.

Each male on the panel had great insight and experiences to share with the crowd on what it means to be a man and express masculinity.

“We need both, voices, men and women, to give us balance. An eagle can not fly with one wing,” said Dr. Norbert Hill, explaining the importance of both men and women in our lives.

To learn more information about each speaker, please visit


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