Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

Document Type



This research analyzes changes in the rhetoric of a sustaining myth in order to better assess what happens when a myth is threatened. By examining American sport and its current struggle to withstand the widespread use of steroids, the author investigates how public discourse about the scandal turns athletes from mythical heroes to cheaters. The author begins by explicating the rhetorical construction of the athlete as a moral hero in America and how this myth is perpetuated today. The author then examines how steroids threaten the myth of the moral athlete and uses Major League Baseball as a case study to illustrate the rhetorical justification of their use. Ultimately this research offers a cyclical method of mythical analysis as a new method to analyze threatened myths. Current research offers few methods to explain how myths develop and this cyclical method attempts to provide specificity for one-way myths can survive. It is argued that the cyclical method acts as a way to account for threats to the myth, as well as to allow for rhetorical shifts.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Andrew King

Included in

Communication Commons