In a 2004 autobiography, legendary player Pete Rose confessed to gambling on baseball games, even those that included his Cincinnati Reds. The passage of time has clarified much about the betting scandal that plagued Major League Baseball (MLB) in 1989. Over the course of the six-month saga, Rose’s denials and his adversarial relationship with the Commissioner’s Office shrouded MLB’s investigation in controversy. This study explores the press coverage of the scandal in 1989 and determines that the Cincinnati press was more sympathetic to, and supportive of Rose than out-of-market coverage, represented in this investigation by The New York Times. These findings are consistent with previous research that indicates that local media favors hometown institutions during times of crisis. This study expands that theory by demonstrating that favoritism extends to individual players whose connection to the city is significant, and furthers our understanding of the media’s role in shaping the narratives of scandal.
Sara Santarossa, Paige Coyne, Sarah J. Woodruff, and Craig G. Greenham
ESPN The Magazine’s The Body Issue positions itself as an inclusive and sport-focused publication. With a focus on gender, the purpose of the current study was to examine the online thoughts and opinions that resulted from #BodyIssue on Instagram. In addition, the Instagram posting activity of ESPN (@espn) and espnW (@espnw) as it pertained to the promotion of the featured athletes and the Instagram accounts of the athletes featured in the 2016 Body Issue were explored. A text and network analysis surrounding #BodyIssue for both male and female Body Issue athletes was conducted using the Netlytic program. Manual Instagram tracking of @espn and @espnw, as well as the featured athletes’ accounts, was performed. In its entirety, this study was conducted between June 29 and July 13, 2016. Online thoughts and opinions, although differing by gender, were generally positive, with a large focus on physical form, not sexuality and/or nudity. Furthermore, a gender disparity was reported in regard to ESPN Inc.’s Instagram posting activity, with @espn choosing only to celebrate its male Body Issue athletes on Instagram and @espnw only posting about 2 of the 9 female athletes. There was a significant difference in the number of Instagram followers for the female athletes 1 wk prior to the online release of the issue (M = 105,767.78, SD = 141,193.71) and 1 wk postrelease (M = 109,742.56, SD = 142,890.11), t(8) = −4.29, p = .003. Further analyses of other Body Issue editions is needed to continue investigating this gender disparity and its potential impact on athletes, sport culture, and social attitudes.