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Disability, Sport and Society: An Introduction

Adam Love

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How Do Adults With Down Syndrome Perceive Physical Activity?

Adam Love and Stamatis Agiovlasitis

Adults with Down syndrome (DS) tend to have low physical activity levels, which may relate to how they perceive participation in physical activities. The current study entailed interviews with 30 adults with DS (age 18–71 yr, 18 women) to examine how they perceived physical activity, exercise, and sport. Through qualitative analysis informed by grounded theory, the investigators found that adults with DS have positive perceptions of physical activity that center on enjoyment. Three facets of enjoyment were identified: interaction, achievement, and process. Interaction reflected enjoyment of social contact with others including relatives, peers, caregivers, and animals. Achievement involved enjoyment of achieving particular ends including accomplishment of tasks, material rewards, formation of athletic identities, and improvement of health. Process represented enjoyment from performing a particular activity itself. This multifaceted enjoyment expressed by adults with DS may facilitate physical activity and should be considered when developing programs to improve their well-being.

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Organizational Citizenship Behavior in Sport: A Perspective From Athletes

Adam Love and Seungmo Kim

Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) refers to acts by members of an organization that are not formally required, but that contribute to the effective functioning of the organization. The current study investigated the types of OCB in which athletes engage as well as athletes’ perceptions about the nature of OCB in sport. Through qualitative interviews with current and former college athletes, the investigators found that athletes engage in a wide variety of OCB, some of which appears to be unique to the context of sport. With respect to the nature of OCB in sport, participants identified the existence of a substantial “gray area” regarding what is and is not required of athletes. Notably, the pressures that can coerce people to engage in “voluntary” activities may be particularly strong in sport. Ultimately, the current study serves a pioneering role in helping to illustrate the unique nature of OCB in sport.

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Everyone Bleeds Maroon: Colorblindness and the Desegregation of Mississippi State Football

Benjamin J. Downs and Adam Love

This study investigated the desegregation of Mississippi State University varsity football, focusing on newspaper coverage of the first Black players at the university, Robert Bell and Frank Dowsing. Two hundred and three articles about Bell and Dowsing from three newspapers (Starkville Daily News, Mississippi State Reflector, and Jackson Clarion-Ledger) were examined using a three-tiered qualitative analysis. Data analysis resulted in 426 frame instances and 686 theme instances, or a total of 1,112 codes. The resulting data were interpreted using Critical Race Theory (CRT) as an analytical lens to generate understanding of the desegregation of the football program. The CRT-guided interpretation challenges popular narratives about the amicable nature of desegregation at the university, indicating that the football team and the careers of Bell and Dowsing were covered in a way that promoted colorblindness and supported the Whitecentric interests of the university’s and community’s dominant power structure.

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Coverage of the Gay Games From 1980–2012 in U.S. Newspapers: An Analysis of Newspaper Article Framing

Soonhwan Lee, Seungmo Kim, and Adam Love

Many members of the LGBT community have viewed the Gay Games as an opportunity to challenge dominant ideologies concerning sexuality and sport participation. Members of the mass media, however, play a potentially important role in how the event is perceived by the general public. Therefore, the primary purpose of the current study was to examine how the Gay Games have been framed in newspaper coverage. A total of 646 articles published in the United States covering the eight Gay Games events held during the 32-year period of 1980–2012 were analyzed in terms of three aspects of framing: (a) the types of issues highlighted, (b) the sources of information cited, and (c) the manner in which either episodic or thematic narratives were employed. The results of the current study revealed that issues of identity and optimism were most commonly highlighted, LGBT participants were most frequently cited as sources of information, and thematic framing was most commonly employed in newspaper coverage of the Gay Games.

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“A Breath of Fresh Air”: Media Framing of a Unique National Football League Draft Pick

Adam Love, Alexander Deeb, and Lars Dzikus

In the 2016 National Football League (NFL) Draft, Moritz Böhringer became the first international player ever selected without having previously played in North America. The current study examined media coverage of Böhringer during the process of him being identified as an NFL prospect, working out for NFL scouts, being drafted, and trying to make an NFL roster. Ultimately, Böhringer was framed as an international experiment that produced serious interest from NFL teams and created a “feel good” story for fans. The study contributes to the broader understanding of sport, media, race, and nationality, illustrating how Böhringer—despite being a foreign athlete in a quintessentially American sport—was presented as a “breath of fresh air” that provided welcome relief from the “bad apples” in the league.

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From the Classroom to the Industry: An Exploration of Sport Management Students’ Transitions to Employment

Ashley Gardner and Adam Love

Thousands of students graduate from academic sport management programs annually with hopes of breaking into the sport industry. However, securing full-time employment becomes a challenge for many sport management graduates. To examine the transitional period in which graduates seek employment, the current study interviewed people who had recently earned a sport management degree (n = 16) to explore their experiences during the job search process. Given the racial demographics of participants (eight Black, eight White), the findings provide particular insight regarding racial differences and barriers Black graduates face. Findings illuminate the importance of sport management graduates strategically networking, developing targeted experiences, and considering a realistic entry point when transitioning from the classroom to the industry.

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“I Don’t Know How You Get Past That”: Racism and Stereotyping in College Football Recruiting Media

Adam Love, Sam Winemiller, Guy Harrison, and Jason Stamm

College football programs invest millions of dollars into recruiting top high school prospects. This recruiting process is covered extensively by reporters from sports media outlets. While the players being recruited are predominately Black, the sports media is disproportionately dominated by White men. In this context, the current study reports on data from interviews with 15 participants who work in the college football recruiting media industry. While some participants adopted a color-blind perspective dominated by a belief that racism no longer exists, most reporters expressed an awareness of racial stereotypes in the sports media and felt a need to address racial inequity. Such awareness presents an opportunity for anti-racist training that may help media members avoid racial stereotyping and address racism in the field.

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Excessive Celebration? The Racialization of Recruiting Commitments on College Football Internet Message Boards

Adam Love, Bianca Gonzalez-Sobrino, and Matthew W. Hughey

The current study analyzed comments posted on Internet message boards devoted to U.S. college football. The investigators collected comments (N = 3,800) about instances in which a player initially announced intent to attend a particular university, but later changed his mind and signed a National Letter of Intent to attend a different university. While few posts included explicit mention of race (n = 11), commenters more frequently used forms of “color-blind” racial rhetoric that invoked racialized meanings without the overt use of racial terms (n = 346). Comments often reflected a white colonial framing of football players’ decisions, behaviors, and abilities, expressing a number of common racialized assumptions, including beliefs in the natural superiority of black physicality, doubts about black intellectual ability, and expectations about whites possessing skill, technique, and mental capacity. The presence of these racialized assumptions points to the continued salience of race in an era that is often claimed to be “color-blind” and free of racial discrimination.

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Mianne Bagger: A Transitioned Woman’s Efforts for Inclusion in Professional Golf

Adam Love, Seung-Yup Lim, and Joy T. DeSensi

The presence of transitioned women in sport is currently a contested issue. Mianne Bagger, a transitioned woman, has been an important figure in developments related to this issue during her efforts to play on various women’s professional golf tours. Using a standpoint perspective, which begins with the assumption that some social locations, such as those of marginalized individuals, are better starting points than others for seeking knowledge, the researchers interviewed Bagger about her experiences. Since she has begun seeking the right to play on various women’s professional tours, a number of golfing organizations have introduced or created “gender policies” regarding who is allowed to participate. While such policy developments may seem on the surface to be progressive measures designed