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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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Danielle Sterba, Jessie N. Stapleton, and Winston Kennedy

Options for athletes with disabilities to participate in sport have risen and, with them, supercrip representation. Supercrip is defined as a stereotypical representation of individuals with disabilities that highlights their accomplishments as inspirational stories of defying or overcoming their disability to succeed. With little consensus on how to represent disability in sport, it is imperative that this representation be investigated. The purpose of this commentary is to broadly examine assumptions of the supercrip model as a mode of representation for athletes with disabilities, explore its connection to able-bodied hegemony, and propose next steps in facilitating research and discourse around representation for athletes with disabilities. We conclude that able-bodied hegemony is the root of the supercrip model and that participatory action research, with stakeholders at the center, is necessary to fully evaluate the supercrip model.

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Alex C. Gang, Juha Yoon, Juho Park, Sang Keon Yoo, and Paul M. Pedersen

This study explores the process of social capital development and the influence of space that leads to the formation of different types of social capital among mega sport event volunteers. A qualitative approach was utilized to ensure the collection of in-depth data on participants’ subjective volunteering experience and its relation to the creation of social capital. Findings revealed the development of social capital by the volunteers both in and out of event venues, which are defined as event related and peripheral spaces. The process of developing network through bridging was attributed to the proclivity of peripheral spaces to provide proximity and composition necessary to build and enrich interactions, while bonding was the primary mechanism to associate with others on event-related places.

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Sarah Barnes

This article uses a feminist cultural studies of sport framework to explore dominant storytelling about sleep in the Women’s National Basketball Association. In a historical moment when rest is understood as a vital component in athlete performance, being denied full access to the conditions and resources that are imagined to be conducive to sleep is problematic. However, the Women’s National Basketball Association’s embrace of a commercial, technoscientific promotional sleep culture often comes at the expense of understanding the impact of structural forces on recovery. By exploring a variety of stories about sleep and performance, it is possible to understand the limitations and possibilities of using sleep enhancement frameworks to foster healthier and more humane sport settings and societies.

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Matt Ventresca and Samantha King

Drawing on an extensive archive of media texts collected between 2014 and 2019, we trace shifting representations of the National Football League in discourse on painkiller use among its players. We argue that in contrast to earlier eras, an image of the league as an exploitative and corrupt institution has come to the fore. Clustered around the announcement of a series of player lawsuits, these discourses are tempered by the persistence of narratives of personal responsibility and the elision of racial logics that predetermine athletes’ subjection to pain and injury. Situating our analysis in the context of the drug wars and the profit motive of the National Football League, we argue that these discourses both reflect and contribute to the workings of racial capitalism across the professional football and pharmaceutical industries.

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Daniel Read and Daniel Lock

Events such as player protests can create image crises that require sport organizations to engage in political issues. In this manuscript, we blend image repair theory with the social identity approach to leadership to advance knowledge about how sport organizations communicate in response to crises. Applying a discursive social psychology framework to analyze 21 NFL communications and interview statements, we explored how the NFL’s rhetoric evolved in response to the 2016–2020 national anthem and Black Lives Matter protests. The NFL augmented its traditionally militarized patriot identity as the crisis progressed, to address the social change issues raised by protestors. We show that sport organizations use rhetoric to mobilize support for their version of events to manage threats to organizational image. Accordingly, we provide theoretical and managerial implications arguing that apolitical identities are increasingly untenable in sport.

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Vivien Schibblock, Joanne Hinds, Martin Kopp, and Martin Schnitzer

Social media sites are rich communication and marketing tools used by athletes to promote their “brand” and interact with fans. Indeed, the proliferation of social media has led to athletes promoting themselves across multiple platforms. This study examined how the world’s top 10 professional alpine skiing athletes used social media to present themselves and engage with fans during the 2017–18 World Cup and 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The data for the latest Winter Olympic Games in 2022 (organized under changed circumstances because of COVID-19) were not available for this study at the time of finalization. Guided by self-presentation theory, this study used a content analysis to examine how athletes presented themselves in social media photographs. The results demonstrated that athletes employed similar posting patterns across the social media platforms (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). The posting distribution per athlete and channel was different, as some athletes used the same posts across all channels. Twitter boasted the highest posting frequency. Based on the coded social media posts, athletes’ self-presentation mainly focused on business life content. Thus, they appeared as dressed but posed, a finding that aligns with Goffman’s notion of front-stage performance. This case study extends the literature as it involves an analysis of self-presentation across multiple channels, comparing two international events while using a sample of one sport.

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Amanda Palladino, Minkyo Lee, and Xiaochen Zhou

Olympic mascots are important marketing tools for the Olympic Games, as they can communicate the meaning of the games. However, there is limited understanding on how to effectively design Olympic mascots as a marketing communication tool. This study focused on understanding how design elements of Olympic mascots influence fans’ perceptions, attitude, and purchase intention. An online experiment, featured in a 2 (design types: anthropomorphic animal, abstract) × 2 (Olympic brand cues: presence, absence) mixed subject design, was conducted. The results showed that animal mascots received significantly higher ratings than abstract mascots in terms of design perception, attitude, and purchase intention. This study demonstrates how the visual design of Olympic mascots influences consumer perception, attitude, and behavior. Our research has bridged this gap by exploring the effects of Olympic mascot design and Olympic symbols as an important marketing communication tool.