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Alex Jane Smethurst and Iain Stuart Findlay

Bike fitting is a rapidly developing profession in the field of sport and well-being. The profession is governed by the International Bike Fitting Institute, which recently announced the creation of a common education syllabus. Although this is a positive step forward, to ensure the integrity of the profession, it is important that the content of the syllabus be evidence based. This, however, may prove challenging as there is currently a paucity of research regarding certain aspects of the bike-fitting role. One area that appears to have been largely neglected is the relationship and importance of communication between the bike fitter and client. This scholarly commentary presents research from other professions that demonstrates both the importance of this omission and the necessity to include training on communication and interpersonal skills in the International Bike Fitting Institute’s proposed education provision.

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Seomgyun Lee, Kyungun Ryan Kim, and Minsoo Kang

Crises are unavoidable in the sport world, and their relationship with reputation is inextricable. Protecting its reputation is a top priority for a sport organization in a crisis; thus, developing a valid and reliable instrument should be a precedent. In this study, Rasch analysis was applied to evaluate a 10-item Organizational Reputation Scale (ORP), extensively used in general and sport communication research, but whose development was made under classical test theory. This traditional method has several limitations (i.e., item and sample dependencies, nonaddictive features of ordinal data, and item category functioning). The main purposes of the study were to calibrate ORP items and evaluate their category functions. A total of 373 sport fans responded to the ORP on a 5-point Likert scale. Several analytic steps were applied to provide psychometric properties of each item in the ORP. The findings provided evidence that supports the unidimensional structure of the ORP with eight items. All items and a person’s ability exhibited satisfactory levels of variability along the continuum. The 5-category rating scale in Likert format functioned properly. As a better alternative to classical test theory, Rasch analysis provided information about the practicality of each ORP item in measuring individuals’ perceptual level of an organization’s reputation within a sport setting. Our study proposed some insights for enhancing each item’s quality and encouraging future scholars to make informed decisions when using the ORP.

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James Bingaman

The current study sought to explore the prevalence of uncivil discourse surrounding the Washington NFL team’s removal of offensive Native American imagery and later rebranding as the Washington Commanders. The study employed a quantitative content analysis to assess comment sections of news stories on a sports blog between 2014 and 2022. In addition to uncivil discourse, contextual elements such as popularity, reciprocity, and directionality of incivility were also examined. Dovetailing with existing research, roughly one quarter of all comments featured an element of uncivil discourse, with derogatory slurs toward Native Americans being particularly common. Additionally, contextual elements served important roles in the facilitation of incivility. Taken together, the results point to some of the antisocial behavior that can occur in seemingly innocuous online spaces that often reflect broader social and political turmoil related to Native American imagery in sport.

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Bo Li, Olan K.M. Scott, Stirling Sharpe, and Qian Zhong

International sport has always been associated with nationalism. The purpose of the study was to explore how Chinese media and the general public perceived the doping scandal of their national sports hero, Sun Yang. Through analyzing 11 Chinese media outlets’ coverage on Chinese social media Weibo, the results revealed that Chinese media covered Sun and his team’s reaction and perspectives on this issue more when compared with other news. The general public’s perceptions toward this scandal tended to be favorable toward Sun, with 55.5% of selected Weibo comments defending Sun after his 8-year ban for doping was handed down. The analysis of these social media comments posted by sports fans showed that the general public’s perceptions might have been impacted by their nationalism, international relations, and media coverage. In addition, the study revealed the Chinese public’s perceptions toward current antidoping regulations.

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Hailey A. Harris and Natasha T. Brison

Branding and self-presentation strategies on text and visual platforms have been explored in a variety of ways such as gendered analyses and content analyses performed on the social media profiles of athletes at multiple levels of sport. The purpose of this study was to examine branding and self-presentation strategies of two highly visible professional female soccer players (i.e., Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe) over two different time periods: 2019 and 2020. Results show that branding and presentation strategies can shift over the course of an athlete’s career. Implications from this study include adjusting brand strategies for clients over time, using other athletes’ strategies as their own framework, and promoting brand authenticity in accordance with their daily lives.

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Gashaw Abeza and Jimmy Sanderson

A key feature of a robust academic discipline is that its homegrown theories and investing in theory contribute to building good research. In the field of sport and social media research, the rigorous utilization of theory is one of the areas where the field is still facing “disciplinary pain.” In fact, the unique features of social media provide researchers in the sport research community with a valuable opportunity for proposing, testing, applying, critiquing, comparing, integrating, and expanding theories. In this commentary, the authors, based on their own experience (as researchers, readers, and reviewers of social media in sport), contend that reference resources are lacking on this topic to help young (or existing) researchers locate appropriate theories for their research. Hence, this work identifies, documents, and discusses the theories used, advanced, and developed in social media research for sport studies. Furthermore, a compilation is brought together of different theories from various disciplines that researchers in this community may consider for their future work.