Going Deep: Sports in the 21st Century

Sep 20, 2017

Blue Ridge Public Radio is proud to announce the launch of “Going Deep: Sports in the 21st Century”, a podcast that looks at some of the most pressing issues in sports and society.  The hosts are the husband and wife team of John Shoop and Marcia Mount Shoop.  John coached football for more than two decades in both the NFL and NCAA Division 1, while Marcia is a theologian, minister, and author of books such as “Touchdowns for Jesus and Other Signs of Apocalypse.”  Marcia says she’s the only “feminist theologian” she knows of that’s married to a football coach.  Their backgrounds allow the Shoops to engage the toughest topics with intellect, humor, and years of first-hand experience in big-time sports. No issue is out of bounds on Going Deep.  The hosts explore how sports are used to promote certain kinds of religion, the lack of rights for college athletes, and the unlikely alliance that includes a former NFL quarterback in pushing for the legalization of medicinal cannabis.  For the Shoops, a W.I.N. is when listeners Wonder, Investigate, and Notice the dynamics of sports in a new way.

If you would like to reach out to us or give us your thoughts on the show, email us at GoingDeep@bpr.org

John and Marcia Mount Shoop

John and Marcia Mount Shoop have a lifetime of experience in sports as former athletes, coaches, parents of athletes, and as a football family for over two decades.

John coached in the NFL and Division I College Football for twenty-six years. Coach Shoop has served as offensive coordinator and/or quarterbacks coach for some of the most storied franchises in the League: Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Oakland Raiders. He was also the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of North Carolina and Purdue University.  Currently, John is teaching U.S. and World History at A.C. Reynolds High School in Asheville, North Carolina.

Marcia has a PhD from Emory University and a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University. She is ordained to the ministry in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Dr. Shoop is the author of Touchdowns for Jesus and Other Signs of Apocalypse: Lifting the Veil on Big-Time Sports and A Body Broken, A Body Betrayed: Race, Memory, and Eucharist in White Dominant Churches and Let the Bones Dance: Embodiment and the Body of Christ.  Marcia is the pastor at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Asheville, North Carolina. 

Show List: 

 Muscular Christianity - The Shoops explore how sports were used and still are to further the reach of a certain kind of Christianity.  Their guest is Tom Krattenmaker of the Yale Divinity School, and author of the book Onward Christian Athletes. 

 Forced Faith - The Shoops continue their look at the intersection of sports and religion and why one brand of Christianity seems to trump all other religions in the locker room.  Their guests include Tom Krattenmaker of the Yale Divinity School and columnist for USA Today, and Buffalo Bills quarterback T.J. Yates, who played for John at the University of North Carolina. 

 The Unlikely Alliance to Legalize Medicinal Cannabis Part 1 - The Shoops examine the push to legalize medicinal cannabis, as some football players say it can provide a healthier alternative to treat concussions and other debilitating injuries they suffer on the field.  Guests include former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer, who was an NCAA All-American during his playing days at Arizona State University. 

 The Unlikely Alliance to Legalize Medicinal Cannabis Part 2 - The Shoops continue to dive into the push to legalize medicinal cannabis and how it’s united former football players and mothers of children who suffer from seizures and other conditions that can be treated by medicinal cannabis.  Guests include Heather Jackson, the founder and CEO of the Realm of Caring Foundation.  

The Fab 5 (or 5X) Part 1 - The Shoops look at the lasting legacy of the University of Michigan’s fabled Fab 5 men’s basketball team, not just in sports culture but also in how the NCAA doles out punishments to players and schools.  Guests include Ray Jackson and Jimmy King, members of that Michigan team.  

The Fab 5 (or 5X) Part 2 - The Shoops continue their examination of the legacy of the University of Michigan’s Fab 5 men’s basketball team 25 years after they first hit the court, and the role of race in how the players were punished by the NCAA.  Guests include Yago Colas, a former professor at Michigan who taught courses on sports studies. 

 The Culture of Rugby - The Shoops would not let their son play football until a certain age because of the risk of brain injuries.  When given the choice to pick a different sport to play, he choose rugby, much to the initial horror of his parents.  John and Marcia however quickly grew to love rugby and its culture of safety and inclusiveness.  They compare rugby culture with that of football with the help of guests like Taylor Gentry, who currently plays rugby professionally after his football career at North Carolina State University ended.  

The Shoops Talk Part 1 - The Shoops talk with BPR’s Matt Bush about their love of public radio and podcasting, and conversation which eventually pivots the issue that drove them out of professional and collegiate football – concussions.  

The Shoops Talk Part 2 - The Shoops talk with BPR’s Matt Bush about their experiences at the University of North Carolina, which culminated with the firing of the school’s football coaching staff including John in 2011 because of an ongoing academic scandal.   

 The Recruiting Arms Race - Colleges and universities are spending more and more money to recruit athletes to their campuses.  The Shoops look at what is fueling the 'recruiting arms race' and how it affects the very athletes it's supposed to impress.  In particular looking at the lavish lockers the University of Texas just built for its football team.  Each locker costs more than $10-thousand dollars.  

The Shoops Talk Part 3 - The Shoops talk with BPR's Matt Bush about the role of religion in the locker room - and sports in general.

The Shoops Talk Part 4 - The Shoops talk with BPR's Matt Bush about success and disillusionment, and Marcia's belief that sports fans are seeking redemption in their fandom, as outlined in her book Touchdowns For Jesus & Other Signs Of Apolcalypse

The History Of Black Athlete Protests - The 'Take A Knee' protests have continued throughout the 2017 NFL season, becoming so widespread that President Donald Trump even weighed in on them.  The Shoops examine the history of protests by black athletes in the U.S. and find 'Take A Knee' is the latest in a long line of such demonstrations throughout the country's history.  Their guest - columnist and ESPN & NPR contributor Kevin Blackistone - says this is because sports are one of the few arenas where African-Americans are taken seriously in the U.S.

College Basketball's Newest 'Scandal' - In September, the U.S. attorney for southern New York announced indictments against several assistant basketball coaches at some of the most prestigious programs in the country, as well as against representatives for Adidas.  The announcement rocked the sport, but the Shoops say what's alleged has been going on in college sports for decades, and should not come as a surprise.  Their guest is current Bloomberg View and former New York Times writer Joe Nocera.

Super Bowl 52 - Super Bowl 52 on February 4th, 2018 between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will conclude a tumultuous 2017 NFL season.   From the Take A Knee protests to increasing questions of how seriously players concussions are being treated to Jerry Richardson announcing he'll sell the Carolina Panthers following numerous allegations of misconduct in the workplace, it was a season with major headlines that weren't focused on plays.  The Shoops discuss the future of the NFL in this episode, which was recorded originally as a Facebook Live chat on the BPR News Facebook page.