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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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Yonghwan Chang

. Journal of Sport Management, 30 , 176 – 191 . doi:10.1123/jsm.2015-0341 10.1123/jsm.2015-0341 Lee , J.S. , Kwak , D.H. , & Moore , D. ( 2015 ). Athletestransgressions and sponsor evaluations: A focus on consumers’ moral reasoning strategies . Journal of Sport Management, 29 , 672 – 687

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Michelle L. Bartlett, Mitch Abrams, Megan Byrd, Arial S. Treankler and Richard Houston-Norton

establish such normative data. This study also sought to examine anger in college athletes using the STAXI-2, and compare them to a non-athlete population to answer the question that has been frequently posed by the media, especially in the wake of news coverage of ever-more-frequent athlete transgressions

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Elizabeth B. Delia

team performance, athlete transgression, or program scandal. Thus, the coping tactics often used by fans are those that will allow them to maintain a positive sense of self, but not actually address the threat itself. Despite the focus of scholarly research on emotion-focused coping among sport fans

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Nikolas Dickerson

to downplay the marijuana use of white athletes (e.g., Michael Phelps) and use these athletestransgressions as an opportunity to discuss the irrationality of marijuana laws. However, the press’s discussion of the marijuana use of black athletes (e.g., Michael Vick) was often used as an opportunity

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Evan Frederick and Ann Pegoraro

, 145 – 150 . doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2008.03.021 10.1016/j.pubrev.2008.03.021 Brown , K.A. , Billings , A.C. , & Devlin , M. ( 2016 ). Image repair across the racial spectrum: Experimentally exploring athlete transgression responses . Communication Research Reports, 33 ( 1 ), 47 – 53 . doi:10

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Yonghwan Chang

, 146 , 194 – 213 . doi:10.1037/xge0000239 10.1037/xge0000239 Lee , J.S. , Kwak , D.H. , & Moore , D. ( 2015 ). Athletestransgressions and sponsor evaluations: A focus on consumers’ moral reasoning strategies . Journal of Sport Management, 29 , 672 – 687 . doi:10.1123/JSM.2015-0051 10

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Liam J.A. Lenten, Aaron C.T. Smith and Ralph-Christopher Bayer

Performance-enhancing substance(s) (PES) use in elite sport has become so endemic that a global law enforcement body was established by International Olympic Committee (IOC) administrators to monitor its use and prosecute athlete transgressors. As established in 1999, the World Anti-Doping Agency

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Kyungyeol (Anthony) Kim, Kevin K. Byon and Paul M. Pedersen

consumer coping in different contexts. For example, Lee, Kwak, and Braunstein-Minkove ( 2016 ) examined how consumers coped with athlete transgressions by focusing on moral reasoning processes. Coping with game performance and outcomes were also investigated by Wann, Grieve, Waddill, and Martin ( 2008

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Thilo Kunkel, Rui Biscaia, Akiko Arai and Kwame Agyemang

which on- and off-field image are incongruent, for example, when excellent soccer players are involved in major incidents, such as Lionel Messi’s tax fraud, or off-court abuse, such as Cristiano Ronaldo’s rape allegations. The impact of athlete transgression on different entities linked to the athlete