The purpose of this study was to examine parents’ supportive attitudes toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) coaches, as well as the sources of that support. The authors drew from the model of dual attitudes and a multilevel framework developed for the study to guide the analyses. Interviews were conducted with 10 parents who lived in the southwest United States. Analysis of the data revealed three different types of support: indifference, qualified support, and unequivocal support. Further analyses provided evidence of multilevel factors affecting the support, including those at the macro-level (religion), the meso-level (parental influences and contact with sexual minorities), and the micro-level (affective and cognitive influences) of analysis. Theoretical implications and contributions of the study are discussed.
George Cunningham and E. Nicole Melton
Matthew Katz, Bob Heere, and E. Nicole Melton
The purpose of this study is to utilize egocentric network analysis to predict repurchase behaviors for college football season-ticket holders. Using a research approach grounded in network theory, we included the relational and behavioral characteristics of sport fans in a binomial regression model to predict renewal decisions among college football season-ticket holders. More specifically, we developed a model that incorporates the egocentric network variables, past behavior, and behavioral intentions to empirically test which consumer characteristics predict future behavior. Building on previous research emphasizing the role of socializing agents and social connections in sport fan consumption, through the use of egocentric network analysis, we examined the effects of social structure and social context on repurchasing decisions. Moreover, the present study is positioned within the larger discourse on season-ticket holders, as we aimed to add a network theory perspective to the existing research on season-ticket holder churn and renewal.
Nefertiti A. Walker and E. Nicole Melton
To date, sport research on sexuality has primarily focused on White lesbian, bisexual, and gay (LBG) persons or heterosexual racial minorities; few studies have provided meaningful insight into how sexual prejudice affects racial minorities. Thus, the purpose of the current study is to explore the intersection of race, sexual orientation, and gender in the context of collegiate sport and examine the influence of multiple marginalized identities on organizational outcomes. Grounded in intersectionality literature and feminist standpoint theory, semistructured interviews were conducted with 15 current and former intercollegiate sport employees. Results revealed four higher order themes: (a) racially influenced experiences, (b) managing lesbian-ness, (c) organizational climate, and (d) organizational outcomes. This research expands the theoretical knowledge of intersectionality, introduces a turnover intention tipping point phenomenon, and provides mangers with firsthand feedback on current policy and norms that may decrease satisfaction.
E. Nicole Melton and George B. Cunningham
The purpose of this qualitative analysis was to explore the work experiences of sport employees who are LGBT, and examine how these individuals negotiate their multiple social identities in a sport context. Considering the growing interest in sport, and sport management in particular, it is important for scholars to gain of better understanding of why people choose to work in the sport industry, and understand how employee identity may influence career decisions and subsequent work experiences. Thus, the researchers only interviewed employees who did not fulfill coaching or player roles, as these individuals could potentially work in other industries. Analysis of the data revealed how working in a sport context may present sexual minorities with certain advantages, such as an opportunity to enhance self-esteem and gain social acceptance. When confronted with unjust treatment because of their sexual orientation, employees used coworker social support and social mobility techniques to cope with these negative situations. Although the employees did not always view their sexual orientation as salient to their identity, they had all disclosed their sexual orientation, to varying degrees, to others in the workplace. Finally, though the participants did not engage in social change activities, some of their supportive coworkers attempted to proactively create a more inclusive work environment. Implications of these findings are discussed and practical suggestions are provided.
E. Nicole Melton and George B. Cunningham
Sport employees who champion LGBT inclusion efforts represent key elements in creating accepting environments within college athletic departments. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to examine the concept of champions and how they support LGBT individuals within heterosexist sport environments. Drawing from divergent literatures, including that related to organizational inclusion and championing behaviors, we explore how a combination of factors from multiple levels may influence sport employees’ attitude and behaviors related to LGBT inclusion, and determine how supportive behaviors influence sexual minorities working within a college athletic department. Results indicate that various macro- (i.e., culture of sport, athletic boosters, university and community values, exposure to diverse cultures) meso- (organizational culture, presence of other champions), and micro- (demographics, open-mindedness, experiences with sexual minorities) level factors influenced the level of employee support for LGBT inclusive policies. Furthermore, power meaningfully influenced these dynamics, such that employees who did not resemble prototypically sport employees (i.e., White, heterosexual, male) were hesitant to show support for LGBT equality. However, those who did champion LGBT inclusive initiatives successfully modeled supportive behaviors and positive attitudes toward LGBT individuals, vocally opposed discriminatory treatment, and provided sexual minorities with a safe space within sport. The authors discuss implications and future directions.
Jeffrey D. MacCharles and E. Nicole Melton
Gay men in sport are currently at a historic crossroads. On the one hand, the sport industry has never been more accepting and inclusive of sexual minorities than it is today. On the other hand, however, the sociocultural norms and organizational practices within sport that have traditionally stigmatized gay men and influenced their career choices—both in pursuit of and persistence within careers in sport—continue to exist. Drawing from life course theory, the purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore the experiences of 12 gay men working in the sport industry and understand how their awareness (or lack thereof) of the stigma associated with being gay shaped their career decisions. Findings suggest that historical/social context, organizational practices, personal and professional relationships, and the interplay between these factors inform how gay men navigate their stigmatized identities while working in sport.
George B. Cunningham, Risa Isard, and E. Nicole Melton
Questions about transgender individuals’ place in sport persist. Therefore, the purpose of this paper was to focus on transgender inclusion in sport. Drawing from varied perspectives, the authors present five reasons for inclusion, basing their arguments on sport as a human right, fairness, gendered notions of athleticism, well-being, and economics. The authors then present a multilevel model for including transgender athletes, coaches, and administrators in sport, identifying factors at the macro-, meso-, and micro-levels of analysis.
Adam Cohen, E. Nicole Melton, and Jon Welty Peachey
The genuine sport of quidditch, based off the Harry Potter franchise, offers an alternative to traditional sport that has grown immensely in terms of popularity and participation. Due to the scarcity of research on coed sports, and the innovative nature of quidditch, the purpose of this research was to use an exploratory qualitative approach to examine impact of the sport on its participants, and to determine how its structure influenced participants’ attitudes toward the opposite gender. Findings revealed the coed structure of the sport led to a positive coed experience for women and men, which in turn developed an increased desire for inclusivity and equality. In addition, both genders reported stereotype reduction due to participation in the sport, and women also reported feeling increased levels of self-confidence and pride. Despite these shifts in attitude, underlying prejudice toward women athletes was still apparent among men who participated in the sport.
Aaron C. Mansfield, E. Nicole Melton, and Matthew Katz
Scholars have begun to explore the interplay between the multiple identities within a sport fan’s salience hierarchy, noting fandom may compete with other central roles. Researchers have also recently emphasized well-being outcomes for fans, with increasing focus on physical health. Though sport consumer behavior and health consciousness have concurrently emerged, the social psychological connection between the two is unclear. Thus, we aim to clarify this relationship. We leverage an emerging quantitative approach: polynomial regression and response surface methodology. Our findings indicate individuals who value both fandom and health consciousness (i.e., demonstrate high fan identity and health consciousness congruence) experience identity conflict, with men reporting higher levels of identity conflict than women. Thus, we contribute to literature on the potential negative sides (or challenges) of fan identity. The food and sedentarism common to fan culture appear to prompt psychological turmoil for health-conscious individuals. Fan identity may naturally integrate with other social roles, yet our results indicate fandom and health consciousness are often viewed in conflict.
John N. Singer, Kwame J.A. Agyemang, Chen Chen, Nefertiti A. Walker, and E. Nicole Melton
This article is written in response to the collective “reckoning” with anti-Black violence in 2020. We share our perspective in solidarity with the long traditions, and contemporary, everyday actions of survival and resistance from millions of unnamed members of Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities across the world. This article calls in the field of sport management, while calling attention to ways anti-Blackness has permeated the academy. Through observations, reflections, and interrogation of literature in the field, we illustrate the invisibility/marginality/erasure of Blackness in this body of knowledge and discuss missed opportunities for sport management. With the hope that the field will transform into a more inclusive, equitable, and just intellectual space, representative of Black, Indigenous, and other racialized voices, perspectives, experiences, and cultures, and accountable to rectifying the injustices inflicted upon Black and other racialized bodies, we offer calls to action for everyone in the field to consider.