|Abstract||Playing the Game seeks to understand and address the complexity of young black male suffering in the United States. As a contribution to the emerging ¿public¿ trajectory within pastoral theology, this project explores the sociopolitical dimensions of care in the context of young black men. My research centers the experiences of young black athletes due to their ability to speak to the ways black men are simultaneously feared and fetishized based on assumptions of sub-humanity and super-humanity, respectively. Specifically, my project critiques the contemporary celebration of ¿beast¿ as an ascription of athletic prowess, arguing that it recapitulates racist historical assumptions of inhumanity in performative ways that continue to fund society¿s inability to recognize the humanities of young black men. I situate this analysis in a broader critique of neoliberalism to illustrate how young black men are recruited into this production in ways that mask its oppressive nature. Ultimately, I offer a theoretical framework that demonstrates how society more broadly participates in the ongoing production of its own inability to see the humanities of young black men, which in turn allows the routine dehumanization of young black men to continue unchecked. I conclude this project by offering a reimagined model of care that focuses on disrupting and (re)creating the broader realities in which young black male suffering exists.