The Effects of Athlete Activism on League Credibility, Event Legacy, and Event Involvement: A Crisis Communication Perspective

in International Journal of Sport Communication
View More View Less
  • 1 Texas Tech University
  • | 2 Manchester Metropolitan University
  • | 3 University of Florida
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year online subscription

USD  $66.00

1 year online subscription

USD  $88.00

Student 2 year online subscription

USD  $125.00

2 year online subscription

USD  $167.00

The #TakeAKnee movement initiated by Colin Kaepernick and the measures taken by the National Football League (NFL) to handle the situation received mixed reactions from the public. The authors developed and tested a structural model using survey data collected from 698 residents of a Super Bowl host city. The results indicated a positive relationship between attitudes toward the movement and attitudes toward the league’s responses, which in turn influenced league credibility. However, after taking the indirect effect into account, attitudes toward the movement had a direct negative relationship with league credibility. In addition, people who viewed the NFL as a credible organization tended to perceive the Super Bowl as relevant to them and as impactful for the host city. Therefore, sport organizations should develop consistent, comprehensive communication strategies that enable them to maximize a positive synergy between their approach to crisis communication and their approach to other types of communication.

Asada is with the Dept. of Kinesiology & Sport Management, College of Arts & Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA. Inoue is with Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom. Chang is with the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.

Asada (akira.asada@ttu.edu) is corresponding author.
  • Allen, T. (2018, January 19). How the Super Bowl gives back to Minnesota. Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine. http://mspmag.com/api/content/cc5c103a-fd1e-11e7-a929-121bebc5777e/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Anderson, S.M. (2020). United we stand, divided we kneel: Examining perceptions of the NFL anthem protest on organizational reputation. Communication & Sport, 8(4–5), 591610. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167479519893661

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Arpan, L.M., & Roskos-Ewoldsen, D.R. (2005). Stealing thunder: Analysis of the effects of proactive disclosure of crisis information. Public Relations Review, 31(3), 425433. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2005.05.003

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Becker-Olsen, K.L., Cudmore, B.A., & Hill, R.P. (2006). The impact of perceived corporate social responsibility on consumer behavior. Journal of Business Research, 59(1), 4653. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2005.01.001

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Belson, K., & Leibovich, M. (2018, April 25). Inside the confidential N.F.L. meeting to discuss national anthem protests. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/25/sports/nfl-owners-kaepernick.html

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Berrone, P., Fosfuri, A., & Gelabert, L. (2017). Does greenwashing pay off? Understanding the relationship between environmental actions and environmental legitimacy. Journal of Business Ethics, 144(2), 363379. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-015-2816-9

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Boas, T.C., & Gans-Morse, J. (2009). Neoliberalism: From new liberal philosophy to anti-liberal slogan. Studies in Comparative International Development, 44(2), 137161. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12116-009-9040-5

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Boykoff, J., & Carrington, B. (2020). Sporting dissent: Colin Kaepernick, NFL activism, and media framing contests. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 55(7), 829849. https://doi.org/10.1177/1012690219861594

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brown, J., & Sheridan, B.J. (2020). The impact of national anthem protests on National Football League television ratings. Journal of Sports Economics, 21(8), 829847. https://doi.org/10.1177/1527002520944452

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chalip, L. (2006). Towards social leverage of sport events. Journal of Sport & Tourism, 11(2), 109127. https://doi.org/10.1080/14775080601155126

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chalip, L. (2018). Trading legacy for leverage. In I. Brittain, J.N. Boccaro, T. Byers, & K. Swart (Eds.), Legacies of mega events: Fact or fairy tales? (pp. 2542). Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chaplin, K.S., & de Oca, J.M. (2019). Avoiding the issue: University students’ responses to NFL players’ national anthem protests. Sociology of Sport Journal, 36(1), 1221. https://doi.org/10.1123/ssj.2018-0108

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chen, K.H., Chang, F.H., Chen, Y.L., & Chen, P.M. (2019). The relationships between corporate credibility, service convenience, and consumers’ use intentions: Toward ticketing apps for low-cost carriers. Sustainability, 11(3), 810827. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030810

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chen, K.C., Gursoy, D., & Lau, K.L.K. (2018). Longitudinal impacts of a recurring sport event on local residents with different level of event involvement. Tourism Management Perspectives, 28, 228238. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tmp.2018.09.005

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Coaston, J. (2018, September 4). 2 years of NFL protests, explained. Vox. https://www.vox.com/2018/8/15/17619122/kaepernick-trump-nfl-protests-2018

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Coombs, D.S., Lambert, C.A., Cassilo, D., & Humphries, Z. (2020). Flag on the play: Colin Kaepernick and the protest paradigm. Howard Journal of Communications, 31(4), 317336. https://doi.org/10.1080/10646175.2019.1567408

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Coombs, W.T. (2006). The protective powers of crisis response strategies: Managing reputational assets during a crisis. Journal of Promotion Management, 12(3–4), 241260. https://doi.org/10.1300/J057v12n03_13

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Coombs, W.T. (2007). Protecting organization reputations during a crisis: The development and application of situational crisis communication theory. Corporate Reputation Review, 10(3), 163176. https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.crr.1550049

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Coombs, W.T. (2014). Ongoing crisis communication: Planning, managing, and responding. SAGE.

  • Coombs, W.T., & Holladay, S.J. (2002). Helping crisis managers protect reputational assets: Initial tests of the situational crisis communication theory. Management Communication Quarterly, 16(2), 165186. https://doi.org/10.1177/089331802237233

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Delmas, M., & Keller, A. (2005). Free riding in voluntary environmental programs: The case of the US EPA WasteWise program. Policy Sciences, 38(2–3), 91106. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11077-005-6592-8

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Djafarova, E., & Rushworth, C. (2017). Exploring the credibility of online celebrities’ Instagram profiles in influencing the purchase decisions of young female users. Computers in Human Behavior, 68, 17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.11.009

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • George, B. (2017, October 8). Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: Any player who is “disrespectful to the flag” won’t be allowed to play. The Dallas Morning Newshttps://www.dallasnews.com/sports/cowboys/2017/10/09/cowboys-owner-jerry-jones-any-player-who-is-disrespectful-to-the-flag-won-t-be-allowed-to-play/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Goldsmith, R.E., Lafferty, B., & Newell, S. (2000). The impact of corporate credibility and celebrity credibility on consumer reaction to advertisements and brands. Journal of Advertising, 29(3), 4354. https://doi.org/10.1080/00913367.2000.10673616

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gough, C. (2020, November 16). National football league (NFL)—Statistics & facts. Statista. https://www.statista.com/topics/963/national-football-league/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Graham, B.A. (2017, September 23). Donald Trump blasts NFL anthem protesters: “Get that son of a bitch off the field.” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/22/donald-trump-nfl-national-anthem-protests

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hill, B., & Green, C.B. (2000). Repeat attendance as a function of involvement, loyalty, and the sportscape across three football contexts. Sport Management Review, 3(2), 145162. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1441-3523(00)70083-0

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Holladay, S.J. (2010). Are they practicing what we are preaching? An investigation of crisis communication strategies in the media coverage of chemical accidents. In W.T. Coombs & S.J. Holladay (Eds.), The handbook of crisis communication (pp. 159180). Wiley-Blackwell.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Inoue, Y., & Havard, C. (2014). Determinants and consequences of the perceived social impact of a sport event. Journal of Sport Management, 28(3), 295310. https://doi.org/10.1123/jsm.2013-0136

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Inoue, Y., & Kent, A. (2012). Investigating the role of corporate credibility in corporate social marketing: A case study of environmental initiatives by professional sport organizations. Sport Management Review, 15(3), 330344. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smr.2011.12.002

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Inoue, Y., & Kent, A. (2014). A conceptual framework for understanding the effects of corporate social marketing on consumer behavior. Journal of Business Ethics, 121(4), 621633. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-013-1742-y

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Intravia, J., Piquero, A.R., Leeper Piquero, N., & Byers, B. (2020). Just do it? An examination of race on attitudes associated with Nike’s advertisement featuring Colin Kaepernick. Deviant Behavior, 41(10), 12211231.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Karadakis, K., & Kaplanidou, K. (2012). Legacy perceptions among host and non-host Olympic Games residents: A longitudinal study of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. European Sport Management Quarterly, 12(3), 243264. https://doi.org/10.1080/16184742.2012.680067

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kasser, T., Cohn, S., Kanner, A.D., & Ryan, R.M. (2007). Some costs of American corporate capitalism: A psychological exploration of value and goal conflicts. Psychological Inquiry, 18(1), 122. https://doi.org/10.1080/10478400701386579

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kelman, H.C. (1961). Process of opinion change. Public Opinion Quarterly, 25(1), 5778. https://doi.org/10.1086/266996

  • Kelman, H.C. (2006). Interests, relationships, identities: Three central issues for individuals and groups in negotiating their social environment. Annual Review of Psychology, 57(1), 126. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.57.102904.190156

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kim, D., Goldsmith, A., Walker, M., & Drane, D. (2014). Does the social behavior of a high-profile sport league matter? Journal of Contemporary Athletics, 8(2), 6574.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kim, Y., & Park, H. (2017). Is there still a PR problem online? Exploring the effects of different sources and crisis response strategies in online crisis communication via social media. Corporate Reputation Review, 20(1), 76104. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41299-017-0016-5

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kline, R.B. (2015). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling. Guilford.

  • Lafferty, B., & Goldsmith, R.E. (1999). Corporate credibility’s role in consumers’ attitudes and purchase intentions when a high versus a low credibility endorser is used in the ad. Journal of Business Research, 44(2) 109116. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0148-2963(98)00002-2

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lee, W., & Cunningham, G.B. (2019). Moving toward understanding social justice in sport organizations: A study of engagement in social justice advocacy in sport organizations. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 43(3), 245263. https://doi.org/10.1177/0193723519832469

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Levine, A.S., & Kam, C.D. (2017). Organizations, credibility, and the psychology of collective action. Political Communication, 34(2), 200220. https://doi.org/10.1080/10584609.2016.1170081

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MacKenzie, S.B., & Lutz, R.J. (1989). An empirical examination of the structural antecedents of attitude toward the ad in an advertising pretesting context. Journal of Marketing, 53(2), 4865. https://doi.org/10.1177/002224298905300204

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mandelbaum, M. (2018, February 4). The meaning of the Super Bowl. The American Interest. https://www.the-american-interest.com/2018/02/04/meaning-super-bowl/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McCracken, G. (1989). Who is the celebrity endorser? Cultural foundations of the endorsement process. Journal of Consumer Research, 16(3), 310321. https://doi.org/10.1086/209217

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Musgrove, C.C.F., Choi, P., & Chris Cox, K. (2018). Consumer perceptions of green marketing claims: An examination of the relationships with type of claim and corporate credibility. Services Marketing Quarterly, 39(4), 277292. https://doi.org/10.1080/15332969.2018.1514794

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Muthén, L.K., & Muthén, B.O. (1998–2012). Mplus user’s guide (7th ed.). Author.

  • National Football League. (2017, September 23). NFL, NFLPA respond to President Trump’s anthem comments. NFL.com. https://www.nfl.com/news/nfl-nflpa-respond-to-president-trump-s-anthem-comments-0ap3000000849517

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • NFL Communications. (2017). Joint NFL-NFLPA statement. NFLCommunications.com. https://nflcommunications.com/Pages/Joint-NFL-NFLPA-Statement.aspx

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nisbett, R.E., & Wilson, T.D. (1977). The halo effect: Evidence for unconscious alteration of judgments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35(4), 250256. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.35.4.250

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Orr, M., & Inoue, Y. (2020). Practitioner perspectives of legacy: Insights from the 2015 Pan Am Games. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 12(5), 717729 https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2019.1673468

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Park, B., Park, S., & Billings, A.C. (2020). Separating perceptions of Kaepernick from perceptions of his protest: An analysis of athlete activism, endorsed brand, and media effects. Communication & Sport, 8(4–5), 629650. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167479519894691

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pelak, C.F. (2005). Athletes as agents of change: An examination of shifting race relations within women’s netball in post-apartheid South Africa. Sociology of Sport Journal, 22(1), 5977. https://doi.org/10.1123/ssj.22.1.59

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Preuss, H. (2007). The conceptualisation and measurement of mega sport event legacies. Journal of Sport & Tourism, 12(3–4), 207228. https://doi.org/10.1080/14775080701736957

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rugg, A. (2020). Incorporating the protests: The NFL, social justice, and the constrained activism of the “Inspire Change” campaign. Communication & Sport, 8(4–5), 611628. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167479519896325

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sanderson, J., Frederick, E., & Stocz, M. (2016). When athlete activism clashes with group values: Social identity threat management via social media. Mass Communication and Society, 19(3), 301322. https://doi.org/10.1080/15205436.2015.1128549

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sandritter, M. (2017, September 25). A timeline of Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest and the athletes who joined him. SBNation. https://www.sbnation.com/2016/9/11/12869726/colin-kaepernick-national-anthem-protest-seahawks-brandon-marshall-nfl

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schafraad, P., & Verhoeven, J.W. (2019). Headwinds in sports sponsoring. International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, 20(3), 538552. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSMS-10-2018-0108

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schlegel, A., Pfitzner, R., & Koenigstorfer, J. (2017). The impact of atmosphere in the city on subjective well-being of Rio de Janeiro residents during (vs. before) the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Journal of Sport Management, 31(6), 605619.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schmidt, S.H., Frederick, E.L., Pegoraro, A., & Spencer, T.C. (2019). An analysis of Colin Kaepernick, Megan Rapinoe, and the national anthem protests. Communication & Sport, 7(5), 653677. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167479518793625

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shipway, R., Ritchie, B.W., & Chien, P.M. (2020). Beyond the glamour: Resident perceptions of Olympic legacies and volunteering intentions. Leisure Studies, 39(2), 181194. https://doi.org/10.1080/02614367.2019.1693612

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Soesilo, P.K., Gunadi, W., & Arimbi, I.R. (2020). The effect of endorser and corporate credibility on perceived risk and consumer confidence: The case of technologically complex products. Journal of Marketing Communications, 26(5), 528548. https://doi.org/10.1080/13527266.2018.1545245

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sports Market Analytics. (n.d.). NFL fan market summary. SBRnet. http://sportsmarketanalytics.com/research.aspx?subrid=722#NFLfansum1

  • Thomson, A., Cuskelly, G., Toohey, K., Kennelly, M., Burton, P., & Fredline, L. (2019). Sport event legacy: A systematic quantitative review of literature. Sport Management Review, 22(3), 295321. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smr.2018.06.011

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tian, K.T., Bearden, W.O., & Hunter, G.L. (2001). Consumers’ need for uniqueness: Scale development and validation. Journal of Consumer Research, 28(1), 5066. https://doi.org/10.1086/321947

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • U.S. Census Bureau. (2018). American community survey 1-year estimates. Census Reporter Profile for Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metro Area. http://censusreporter.org/profiles/31000US33460-minneapolis-st-paul-bloomington-mn-wi-metro-area/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Van Zoonen, W., & van der Meer, T. (2015). The importance of source and credibility perception in times of crisis: Crisis communication in a socially mediated era. Journal of Public Relations Research, 27(5), 371388. https://doi.org/10.1080/1062726X.2015.1062382

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wakefield, K. (2020, August 28). Escape from 2020: A case to separate sports and politics for more fans and higher ratings. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kirkwakefield/2020/08/28/escape-from-2020--a-case-to-separate-sports-and-politics-for-more-fans-and-higher-ratings/?sh=4be40afd76ad

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Walker, M., & Kent, A. (2013). The roles of credibility and social consciousness in the corporate philanthropy–consumer behavior relationship. Journal of Business Ethics, 116(2), 341353. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-012-1472-6

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Watanabe, N.M., & Cunningham, G.B. (2020). The impact of race relations on NFL attendance: An econometric analysis. PLoS One, 15(1), e0226938. 10.1371/journal.pone.0226938

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Woisetschläger, D.M., & Michaelis, M. (2012). Sponsorship congruence and brand image. European Journal of Marketing, 46(3/4), 509523. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090561211202585

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wulf, S. (2019, January 30). Athletes and activism: The long, defiant history of sports protests. The Undefeated. https://theundefeated.com/features/athletes-and-activism-the-long-defiant-history-of-sports-protests/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yoo, J., Brown, J., & Chung, A. (2018). Collaborative touchdown with #Kaepernick and #BLM: Sentiment analysis of tweets expressing Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem and its association with #BLM. Journal of Sports Media, 13(2), 3960. https://doi.org/10.1353/jsm.2018.0008

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 31 31 31
Full Text Views 5 5 5
PDF Downloads 8 8 8