Conformity and Conflict: Wheelchair Athletes Discuss Sport Media

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Brent Hardin University of Alabama

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Marie Hardin Pennsylvania State University

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This study explores the media-related attitudes and values of 10 male wheelchair athletes by soliciting their opinions and suggestions concerning disability sport print media. Using the “auto drive” technique for qualitative data collection, the analysis reveals four themes: (a) athletes are avid consumers of mainstream sport media; b) they use both mainstream and niche publications; (c) they do not want “courtesy coverage,” but instead, coverage focusing on elite elements of their sports; (d) they are unsure of media obligation in the coverage of sports involving athletes with disabilities. While the scope of this investigation is limited to male wheelchair athletes, the themes can provide a basis for further analysis and study in the emerging area of sport media research as it relates to disability.

Brent Hardin is with the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. E-mail: bhardin@bamaed.ua.edu. Marie Hardin is with the Department of Journalism at Penn State University, University Park, PA.

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