This study analyzed media framing of athletes who have suffered mental ill health. The mass media play a crucial role in shaping public attitudes and perceptions surrounding mental health, and the present study aimed to examine the media reporting of athletes’ mental ill health and to further explore how this reporting has changed over time. We examined the reporting of elite athletes in three U.K. media outlets between January 2000 and December 2019, identifying 75 athletes from 26 different sports. From analysis, four themes were developed to consider the content of media reporting and how it has changed over three time phases. The analysis revealed that media reporting of mental ill health has increased over time, and changes were observed in terms of the specific terminology used, with greater depth in the articles, such as journalists speaking to other professionals to construct the articles. This study contributes toward our growing understanding of the reporting of mental ill health by providing empirical evidence of the increased attention to the topic and increasingly responsible reporting in the media.
Keith D. Parry, Abigail G. Braim, Rebecca E. Jull, and Matthew J. Smith
Ronald Bishop and Amanda Milo
A frame analysis was conducted of recent coverage by sports journalists of the on-again off-again possibility that Colin Kaepernick might sign a contract to play with a team in the National Football League (NFL). Kaepernick was blacklisted by league and team officials angry at, and hoping to avert public backlash from, Kaepernick’s 2016 decision to kneel during the national anthem to protest systemic police brutality and mass incarceration. The analysis enabled the creation of champions, distractions, exile, futility, impact, and spectacle frames. The analysis affirms that journalists may be priming readers to conclude that the NFL has learned its lesson, that some officials should be congratulated for generating the bravery to welcome Kaepernick back to the league and commended for their newfound insights about racism. The episodic frames emerging from coverage of the tryouts and a possible signing affirm that the “new appreciation” of Kaepernick has become a nonthreatening reverence for his place in history. Kaepernick’s exile now reads like a one-off, an outlier, rather than a glaring example of the systemic racism that still infects the league. Frames affirm that the NFL—with help from the nation’s sports writers and commentators—has taken control of the narrative with which fans process an athlete’s activism. They have legitimized the narrow space provided by the league for player protest.
Wonjun Choi, Mi Ryoung Chung, Wonju Lee, Gareth J. Jones, and Per G. Svensson
A growing number of sport-for-development (SFD) organizations have emerged in the nonprofit sector to leverage sport for social change, yet many organizations struggle with chronic resource deficiencies that inhibit their long-term viability and highlight a pressing need to examine the sustainability of SFD organizations through resource-based perspectives. This study analyzed secondary financial and administrative data from SFD organizations in the United States to examine changes in key resources during early organizational life stages. Latent profile analysis was utilized to classify organizations based on their level of resources, and multilevel growth modeling revealed significant changes in key resources over the first 5 years of operation, as well as significant differences based on initial resource levels and rates of change. The results provide theoretical insight into the key resources associated with organizational sustainability in the SFD field and offer practical implications for resource procurement, prioritization, and management.
Farah J. Ishaq
Gashaw Abeza and Jimmy Sanderson
This article introduces a special issue of the International Journal of Sport Communication containing insightful commentaries by distinguished scholars in social media scholarship in sports studies. By inviting 25 scholars in the field, who contributed a total of 16 scholarly commentaries, the issue benefits from their extensive knowledge of the interplay between social media and sport. The scholarly commentaries address current trends, critique methods, challenge theories, and propose fresh approaches to understanding the impact of social media in sport. These scholars offer unique perspectives, innovative methodologies, and engaging writing that caters to a diverse readership. The articles provide valuable critiques; shed light on critical issues, controversies, and gaps in knowledge; and identify future directions for sport and social media scholarship to traverse. Importantly, the diverse perspectives presented in this issue stimulate academic dialogue and foster productive discussions within the field of social media in sport studies.
Alicia Jessop, Thomas A. Baker III, Joanna Wall Tweedie, and John T. Holden
This study examines the remaining options for sport managers to balance the interests of college athletes and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in regulating college athlete name, image, and likeness (NIL). The paper is divided into six substantive sections. The first section, “Background: The NCAA’s Defense of NIL Restrictions,” provides a brief history of the NCAA’s legal defense to challenges against its NIL regulations. The second section, “U.S. Congress Is Unlikely to Regulate College Athletes’ NIL Rights,” addresses proposed federal legislation and Congress’ willingness to regulate the use of NIL by college athletes. The third section, “The Impact of O’Bannon and Alston on NCAA’s NIL Restraints,” examines controlling case law, specifically O’Bannon v. NCAA and NCAA v. Alston, and how current antitrust law precedent shapes the scope by which the NCAA can regulate college athletes’ NIL. The fourth section, “State Laws Regulating the NIL Marketplace,” addresses state legislation regulating college athlete NIL use. The fifth section, “The Applicability of Labor Law to Regulating College Athletes’ NIL,” discusses the current college athlete NIL marketplace and analyzes whether labor law presents an optimal way forward for the NCAA to regulate NIL post-Alston. The sixth section, “College Athletes’ Employee Status as a Pathway to Redefine the NCAA’s Amateurism,” concludes by examining the law’s role in regulating NIL and discussing stakeholder implications.
Yiran Su, Xuan Guo, Christine Wegner, and Thomas Baker
This article brings together scholarship on communication theory, influencer marketing, and personal branding to examine a new type of social media influencer—the college athlete influencer. Previous research in the field of sports has not specifically explored the distinct characteristics of college athletes that contribute to their effectiveness as marketing influencers. By adopting a sequential explanatory mixed-methods approach, this study provides a comprehensive understanding of the source of college athletes’ influence via social media. Quantitative results indicate that projecting an athletic identity on social media enhances the influencer’s credibility and increases the likelihood of consumers purchasing the products they endorse. Furthermore, qualitative findings indicated that the shared school identity acts as the ultimate impetus for the bond between the influencer and the consumer, which subsequently impacts the consumer’s purchasing decisions. This study provides actionable implications for schools, colleges, and brands seeking to build compelling sponsorships in the name, image, and likeness era.
Building on the foundational study conducted by Abeza et al., this work extends the investigation by critically reviewing social media research in sport studies published from June 2014 to June 2023. Methodologically, the review involved an examination of 153 original research articles from five prominent journals in sport communication and sport management, namely the International Journal of Sport Communication, Communication & Sport, Journal of Sport Management, Sport Management Review, and European Sport Management Quarterly. The study identified the research streams, platforms, theories, and research methods that have garnered attention in the social media research community. The findings reveal several key insights that contribute to the ongoing dialogue in the field, stimulating further exploration and advancing knowledge at the intersection of social media and sport.