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Sports scandals are often discussed in the media and research literature without any deeper reflection on their specificities or development. As the economic and political significance of sport seem to grow in correlation with the development of globalization and new social media, the call for a sociological understanding of the downsides of sport becomes imperative. By deploying a communication-theory framework supplemented with insights from discourse theory, this article aims to develop a theoretical model of the sports scandal. It presents a 5-step model encompassing initial steps of transgression, followed by a publicly observed dislocation destabilizing the social order, which subsequently results in moral communication, environmental pressure for appropriate action, and, finally, an institutional solution.
Storm is with the Danish Inst. for Sports Studies, Copenhagen, Denmark. Wagner is with the Dept. of Leadership and Corporate Strategy, University of Southern Denmark, Slagelse, Denmark.