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Athletes’ Transgressions and Sponsor Evaluations: A Focus on Consumers’ Moral Reasoning Strategies

Joon Sung Lee, Dae Hee Kwak, and David Moore

Marketing managers often face dilemmas when their athlete endorsers are accused of immoral behavior. However, research findings have been equivocal as to whether athletes’ transgressions damage endorsed brand evaluations. Using two experiments, we empirically demonstrate that consumers’ moral reasoning (i.e., moral rationalization, moral coupling, and moral decoupling) has differential effects on evaluations of a transgressor (Study 1). In Study 2, we examine the causal effect of moral reasoning choice on evaluations of the transgressor and the associated brand. Findings show that moral coupling has negative effects on the athlete and brand evaluations, whereas moral decoupling and moral rationalization positively affect brand attitude and purchase intent through positive evaluation of the athlete. Findings from this study provide empirical evidence to explain how and why some consumers continue or discontinue their support for a troubled athlete and associated brand.

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Ad-Evoked Illusory Judgments in Fantasy Sports Participation: Effects of Customization Level and Expert Information

Dae Hee Kwak, Joon Sung Lee, and Joseph E. Mahan III

Participation in fantasy sports has become one of the most popular forms of interactive online entertainment, attracting more than 32 million players in North America. The purpose of this study was to examine the biasing effects of an advertisement promoting the popular online service. Using the illusion of control theory as a framework, a 2 × 2 between-subjects experiment (N = 156) was conducted to examine the effects of two marketer-controlled variables (i.e., customization level and expert information) on participants’ illusory judgments and their decisions to participate in the advertised service. The results showed that both manipulated features evoked biases in control perceptions. Furthermore, illusory control increases winning expectancy and increased winning expectancy leads to favorable attitude and decision toward the advertised product. Findings suggest that promotional information emphasizing control heuristics and expert knowledge can increase consumers’ beliefs that they can control their outcome, which subsequently influences their decision to participate.

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Coping With Athlete Endorsers’ Immoral Behavior: Roles of Athlete Identification and Moral Emotions on Moral Reasoning Strategies

Joon Sung Lee, Dae Hee Kwak, and Jessica R. Braunstein-Minkove

Athlete endorsers’ transgressions pose a dilemma for loyal fans who have established emotional attachments toward the individual. However, little is known regarding how fans maintain their support for the wrongdoer. Drawing on moral psychology and social identity theory, the current study proposes and examines a conceptual model incorporating athlete identification, moral emotions, moral reasoning strategies, and consumer evaluations. By using an actual scandal involving an NFL player (i.e., Ray Rice), the results show that fan identification suppresses the experience of negative moral emotions but facilitates fans’ moral disengagement processes, which enables fans to support the wrongdoer. Moreover, negative moral emotions motivate the moral coupling process. Findings contribute to the sport consumer behavior literature that highly identified fans seem to regulate negative emotions but deliberately select moral disengagement reasoning strategies to maintain their positive stance toward the wrongdoer and associated brands.

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Results From South Korean 2022 Para Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Adolescents With Disabilities

Jeongmin Lee, Kitaek Oh, Jihee Min, Seon-Young Goo, Eun-Young Lee, Kyoung June Yi, Jinmoo Heo, Joon-Sung Lee, Dong-il Kim, Wonsang Shin, Kwon-il Kim, Yeonsoo Kim, and Justin Y. Jeon

South Korea has developed its first Para Report Card on physical activity (PA) for children and adolescents with disabilities. Five national surveillance databases were used to evaluate PA indicators based on the benchmarks and grading rubric provided by Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance. Report card evaluation committees were invited to grade and assess the results using strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis. Five indicators (overall PA, D+; organized sports and PA, D−; active transportation, D−; physical fitness, D+; and government, A+) and one additional indicator (sleep, C−) were assigned a letter grade. The other five indicators were graded as incomplete. The Para Report Card revealed a significant gap between the behavioral-indicator grades (D− to D+) and the policy-indicator grade (A+), suggesting that government strategies and investment have not yet been translated into behavioral PA among children and adolescents with disabilities.