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Curating a Culture: The Portrayal of Disability Stereotypes by Paralympians on Instagram

Fallon R. Mitchell, Paula M. van Wyk, and Sara Santarossa

Through user-generated posts on Instagram, Paralympians’ self-presentation may mitigate stereotypes associated with disability, counteracting negative assumptions. Using content analyses and paired t tests, visual content posted by Paralympians was examined for the portrayal of disability stereotypes. Compared with the social media content of able-bodied athletes, which typically focus on personal and lifestyle aspects, the majority of the Paralympians’ visual content depicted them engaged in sport or fitness-related activities. By posting content that depicts physical competence and elite abilities, Paralympians may change the narrative to promote the capabilities of athletes with a disability. Through the portrayal of sport and exercise engagement on social media platforms, these Paralympians are potentially mitigating disability stereotypes with the intent to curate a culture that is more accepting and inclusive.

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Volume 14 (2021): Issue 2 (Jun 2021)

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Gender- and Age-Group Differences in the Effect of Perceived Nonverbal Communication on Communication Ability and Coaching Evaluation in Japanese Student Athletes

Takashi Shimazaki, Hiroaki Taniguchi, and Masao Kikkawa

A coach’s nonverbal communication (NC) plays a central role in the construction of the coach–athlete relationship. Moreover, perceived NC and its effect on communication ability and coaching evaluation may differ according to the athletes’ demographics. This study explored the impact of perceived NC on coaching evaluation and overall communication among different genders and age groups. The study recruited 233 athletes from five high schools and seven university teams in Japan. The coaches’ NC, communication ability, and coaching evaluations were assessed. Negative and positive NC directly influenced coaching evaluation in female athletes. Specifically, negative NC directly impacted coaching evaluation in high school athletes, whereas positive NC directly influenced coaching evaluation in university athletes. Positive NC consistently influenced communication ability regardless of demographics. The findings promote talent development and team management in the coaching context.

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Statements Versus Reality: How Multiple Stakeholders Perpetuate Racial Inequality in Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership

Carter A. Rockhill, Jonathan E. Howe, and Kwame J.A. Agyemang

The lack of racial diversity, equity, and inclusion in leadership positions is an ongoing issue in intercollegiate athletics. The purpose of this study was to analyze the mission, vision, and diversity, equity, and inclusion statements of Power 5 athletic departments and their affiliated universities regarding racial diversity and inclusion to better understand how these two stakeholders work in unison or isolation when creating racially diverse environments. The authors utilized an innovative lens, which merges critical race theory with institutional theory to center race and racism while evaluating how these institutional logics interact in practice. The data show that Power 5 institutions maintain a lack of racial diversity through cultures and mission statements that omit diverse values, create symbolic statements, or lack meaning in creating a diverse reality.

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How Soccer Becomes Politics: A Case Study on the Communication of a Transnational Popular Media Event

Jochem Kotthaus, Matthias Schäfer, Nikola Stankovic, and Gerrit Weitzel

In this case study, the authors elaborate on the narrative structure of transnational popular media events. Drawing from Dayan and Katz’s concept of media events and Julia Sonnevend’s exceptional work on iconic global media events, they argue that fundamental changes in the way occurrences are being reported on and news is structured must be considered. Allowing for recent technological advancements, the role of the consumer and the compression of time in media use, the authors develop a methodological and theoretical framework fitting a more mundane and everyday life–based approach. They derive their results from the analysis of the “Podgorica Media Event,” a news cycle emerging from a racist incident during an international soccer game between England and Montenegro. Based on the body of 250 international news pieces, they identify a primary mother narration and a distinctive narration as the typical ways of storytelling on a transnational level. While differing greatly in content, aspects of transnational popular media events serve to protect and reify the cultural background they are grounded in on a national level. Thus, we assume that sport, or, more specifically, soccer, may become political in media communication not by the impact of state government but by the consumers themselves choosing and developing a popular media event in the first place.

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Sport in the Age of Trump: An Analysis of Donald Trump’s Tweets

Evan Frederick, Ann Pegoraro, and Jimmy Sanderson

The purpose of this study was to investigate how Donald Trump used Twitter to position sport within the greater sociopolitical landscape. An inductive analysis of Trump’s sport-related tweets revealed four themes including (a) sport as self-promotion, (b) sport as fandom, (c) sport as battleground, and (d) sport as American identity. This study found that Trump positioned sport as a status symbol. In doing so, he leveraged his power, wealth, and connections to the industry to belittle and champion sport entities. Trump simultaneously leveraged Twitter to display how sport relationships can further one’s business ventures and build a personal brand. In addition, Trump’s discourse shifted sport away from fulfilling a central role in society, as a beacon where social inequities can be critiqued and perhaps elevated into the public consciousness.

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Migrating to Social Networks While Watching Televised Sports: A Case Study of the Effect of Enjoyment on Second-Screen Usage During the World Cup

Vered Elishar-Malka, Yaron Ariel, and Dana Weimann-Saks

The World Cup is among the most popular televised sport events. This case study examined how enjoyment from and transportation into World Cup broadcasts affected WhatsApp use on a second screen. The authors hypothesized a negative correlation between World Cup enjoyment and WhatsApp use (both match related and unrelated), mediated by transportation into the match. Based on an online survey of 454 participants, they found that the more enjoyment the viewers experienced, the less they used WhatsApp for non-match-related purposes and (contrary to their hypothesis) the more they used it for match-related purposes. It was also found that the more enjoyment viewers experienced, the more transported they were into the match, leading to higher match-related and lower non-match-related WhatsApp use.

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Content Analysis as a Research Method: A Content Analysis of Content Analyses in Sport Communication

Markus Schäfer and Catharina Vögele

Content analysis is a popular method in communication and media research. However, to what extent and in which contexts it is used in sport communication research has hardly been investigated. In order to provide empirically grounded insight, the authors conducted a quantitative content analysis of scholarly journal articles using content analysis as a research method, focusing on three major international sport communication journals during the 10 years between 2010 and 2019 (N = 267). Results indicate that qualitative and quantitative methods are used equally while combinations with other methods are comparatively rare. The studies cover a broad portfolio of different topics. Social media as communication channels becomes an increasingly central issue of scientific exploration. Although the studies deal with 31 different sports in total, most of them focus on popular team sports such as football, basketball, soccer, baseball, and ice hockey.

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Separate and Unequal? Representations of Sportswomen on espnW’s and ESPN’s Instagram

Kelly Fraidenburg and Laura Backstrom

Based on content analysis of 370 posts featuring sportswomen and 205 posts featuring nonathlete women on ESPN’s and espnW’s Instagram accounts, the authors address whether representations of sportswomen on social media uphold or challenge masculine domination in sports and whether this varies based on the gender of the target audience for each social media account. Catering to a predominantly male audience, ESPN’s Instagram rarely posted about sportswomen or feminism, reinforced traditional female gender roles, and relied on feminine stereotypes more frequently than espnW’s Instagram. Nonetheless, espnW upholds male dominance in sport through its separation from ESPN, the lower volume of posts about sportswomen on espnW compared with ESPN’s coverage of sportsmen, and its less engaging coverage of sportswomen.

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SportsCenter: A Case Study of Media Framing U.S. Sport as the COVID-19 Epicenter

Travis R. Bell

When COVID-19 enveloped sport, it presented SportsCenter, ESPN’s primary news vehicle, with an unexpected and ironic form of “March Madness,” with basketball as the sporting epicenter for a pandemic. This case study applied an ethnographic content analysis to examine how the cancellation or postponement of sport as a result of COVID-19 was framed across 22 episodes of SportsCenter from March 8 to 14, 2020. More than 134 min of coverage was devoted to COVID-19-related stories, and 268 unique types of stories were produced. Descriptive statistics suggested that COVID-19 was framed as having a direct impact on U.S. men’s professional sports leagues and the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament. When considering news format characteristics, SportsCenter produced its coverage through convenience and relevance to ESPN, not sport. Even during a “breaking news” pandemic, SportsCenter retained its long-standing news process of gender bias and nationalistic favoritism. The visual difficulty of how to “show” coronavirus also presented a production challenge, but the messages and cues embedded in the visuals depicted a rapid shift in discourse that focused on basic reporting without health or global context. Instead, SportsCenter overwhelmed viewers with how sport was ripped away from (U.S.) American society.