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Paul Bernard Rukavina

The deleterious effects of weight bias in physical activity spaces for children, adolescents, and adults are well documented. Different types of weight bias occur, and they interact at multiple levels within a person’s ecology, from the messaging of often unattainable sociocultural thin/muscular ideals and physical inequities (e.g., equipment not appropriate for body shapes and sizes) to interpersonal and public discriminatory comments. However, the most damaging is the internalization and application of negative weight-bias stereotypes by those with overweight and obesity to themselves. An imperative for social justice is now; there is great need to advocate for, provide support for, and design inclusive physical activity spaces to reduce weight bias so that all individuals feel welcome, accept their bodies, and are empowered to live a healthy, active lifestyle. To make this a reality, an interdisciplinary and preventive approach is needed to understand bias and how to minimize it in our spaces.

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June Won and J. Lucy Lee

The purpose of this study was to: (a) investigate the actual positions in digital communications; (b) assess the relationship between position-congruity among intended positions (i.e., how a firm desires to be perceived by consumers), actual brand positions, and perceived brand positions (i.e., the perceptions that customers have in their minds); and (c) understand the role of actual positioning (AP) in the positioning process. Multiple methods (one-on-one and focus group interviews, content analysis) were applied to analyze positions. Brand managers, golf consumers, and digital advertisements in Golf Digest magazine were sampled. Content analysis, frequencies and percentages, percentage difference, and regression analysis were performed for all positions for each research brand. The results revealed that: (a) tangibility-based positions (88.5%: great quality, innovation) outnumbered intangibility-based ones (11.5%: tour performance, tradition) in digital AP, (b) there was no positive correlation between the degree of congruence between intended and AP and the degree of congruence between intended and perceived positioning, and (c) the AP mediated between intended and perceived positioning in the brand positioning model. The study provides empirical evidence for the mediating role of AP and suggests modifications to the previous positioning process.

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Blake L. Price, Gene L. Farren, and Jennifer A. Stoll

Social media use by student-athletes has become a topic of concern for interscholastic athletic directors. The recent Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. Supreme Court case highlighted how student speech has evolved in the digital age. This study explored how Texas interscholastic athletic directors view social media policy implementation and the effect it has on student-athlete behavior. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 13 athletic directors across all six University Interscholastic League enrollment classifications. Analysis revealed that athletic directors do have legal concerns when restricting online off-campus speech but see a need for promoting positive social media use by their student-athletes. The results suggest high school athletic departments must update their policies frequently to ensure that the information relayed to student-athletes is current, relevant, and based on recent case law.

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Megan C. Piché and Michael L. Naraine

Sports organizations’ use of social media (SM) has become a key strategy in the coverage and promotion of sport. Although research has been done on the success of digital marketing for men’s professional sport, little is known about the impact of such in women’s sport. This study aimed to examine the SM activity and engagement with fans of the Women’s National Basketball Association. All posts from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the 2019 calendar year were collected from all 12 Women’s National Basketball Association teams and analyzed, in aggregate, for their SM metrics. Results indicated that there was a high level of interaction on SM during the in-season competition months, whereas engagement during the off-season period declined. Given these results, the Women’s National Basketball Association should create strategies to increase fan engagement when there is decreased interactivity to perpetually promote women’s sport. This research provides a starting point for future research on women’s sport involving SM metrics.

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Andrew Kim, Minhong Kim, Steven Salaga, and James J. Zhang

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) utilizes a unique pay-per-view (PPV) product distribution structure, and relies heavily on social media to promote its events. Yet, no research has examined how UFC fans’ social media motivation influences their consumption. Using uses and gratifications theory and a mixed-method design, this study qualitatively explored the themes of UFC fans’ social media motivations and identified five themes (i.e., information, convenience, social interaction, entertainment, and economic). Based on these themes, this study developed the Scale of Social Media Motivation through quantitative analyses and further investigated how Scale of Social Media Motivation factors would affect consumption behavior by incorporating fan identification as a mediator. The findings revealed that the factors were positively associated with purchase intentions when fan identification serves as a partial mediator. Discussions are focused on utilizing the social media motivation factors and nurturing fan identification to promote UFC consumption.

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Kelly Evans

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NiCole R. Keith

Health equity will be achieved when all demographics have a fair opportunity be healthy. This essay describes the possibility of achieving health equity through physical activity. It presents the social ecological model of physical activity and describes how both microenvironmental and macroenvironmental factors influence one’s ability to participate. There is then a description of watershed moments in American history that negatively influenced the ability of certain demographics to be active today. It then describes groups participating in less physical activity when compared to others. Several public health and political science models are then suggested with specific examples of how they have been implemented in the past to improve health or physical activity. The essay ends by describing the need to build the physical activity evidence among vulnerable populations that tend to be underrepresented in research and explains best practices in engaging these populations in investigative work.

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Bradley J. Cardinal

Kinesiology is a field focused on physical activity and its impact on health, society, and quality of life. But do all people have equal opportunities to access and experience physical activity? Do physical activity settings allow people to freely express themselves? Are the benefits of physical activity universally shared by all people? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then these questions demand not only our immediate attention, but also our collective action. During the National Academy of Kinesiology’s 90th anniversary meeting, September 22–24, 2021, these questions and others were explored through presentations devoted to the theme “Kinesiology’s Social Justice Imperative.” This essay overviews the meeting, its purpose, and the organizers and introduces the 11 thematic papers in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Kinesiology’s 2021 Meeting: Kinesiology’s Social Justice Imperative” issue, plus a 12th essay commemorating the National Academy of Kinesiology’s 90th anniversary meeting.

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Dunja Antunovic and Andrea Bundon

Researchers have extensively documented the issues in quantity and quality of media coverage of the Paralympic Games. The lack of coverage and stereotypical representations can be attributed to a variety of structural and cultural factors, notably including journalistic norms and values. This scholarly commentary proposes a reconsideration of journalistic values in order to argue that sports journalists have a professional responsibility to cover the Paralympics and issues of disability for at least three reasons: (a) The Paralympics are an elite-level, international sporting event and thus merit sport-focused coverage, (b) sport journalists have an ethical obligation to include diverse perspectives in reporting and to challenge stereotypes, and (c) sport is intertwined with social issues and requires contextualized reporting. The commentary concludes with recommendations for sport communication and journalism education.

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Rikishi T. Rey, Gregory A. Cranmer, Blair Browning, and Jimmy Sanderson

Sporting environments are informal contexts of learning that are dependent upon coaches’ use of effective instructional communication strategies. Coaches’ use of power while communicating instruction to athletes is especially germane, as coaches must appropriately use relational influence to inspire optimal athletic performance. Using French and Raven’s power bases (i.e., expert, referent, reward, legitimate, and coercive power), this study considers Division I student-athletes’ reports of affective learning for their sport and coaches, cognitive learning, state motivation, and team winning percentages as a function of their coaches’ use of power. Data collected from 170 student-athletes participating in team sports at Power 5 institutions revealed two significant canonical correlation roots. The first demonstrated that the increased use of prosocial power and avoidance of antisocial power were associated with greater amounts of affective learning for coaches, cognitive learning, and state motivation. The second revealed that expert power was associated with increases in cognitive learning and winning. This research has heuristic implications for expanding the assessment of athlete experience, as well as practical implications regarding the identification of effective modes of relational influence in coaching.