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David Cassilo and Joseph McGlynn

This study examined interviews with former National Football League (NFL) players to better understand the role that source credibility plays in concussion and injury communication. The NFL has a complex history with concussions and other injuries, yet has made some recent attempts to improve player safety. Researchers interviewed 10 former NFL players about concussion and injury communication that is league-based, team-based, and teammate-based. The researchers performed a thematic analysis of those interview transcripts with a focus on source credibility and injury communication, finding that while the NFL has attempted to make the game safer, players still struggle to trust the league, which impacts their willingness to accept health information. These findings indicate that NFL players may never find the league truly credible or neutral toward injuries. Further, injury education programs that include greater involvement from teammates may be successful strategies to increasing awareness within the locker room, as players indicated that fellow players can be viewed as more trustworthy sources of information.

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Wanyong Choi

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Katherine Sveinson and Larena Hoeber

Sport team licensed merchandise plays an important role in sport fan experiences. Existing work has explored how consumers perceive these items, motivation and consumption habits, and intent to purchase. Extending upon the performative sport fandom framework, this study explores the marketing messages of sport fan merchandise, and the resulting implied gendered and fan performances. Employing a multimodal critical discourse analysis, we analyzed the top 20 T-shirts for men and women for five National College Athletic Association institutions on their official ecommerce sites. By examining the text descriptions, visual images, and messages perceived when combining text and visuals, we found that the marketing messages of clothing items rely heavily on traditional discourses of femininity and masculinity, placing gender performances as more relevant to fan performances for women. Atypical designs suggest alternative gender and fan performances but continue to indicate that gender identity is central to clothing appearance and messaging to consumers.

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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.