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Ben Larkin, Brendan Dwyer, and Chad Goebert

dehumanization of professional athletes. Fantasy football participants were the only population under examination in the current study, and these individuals were chosen for the following reasons. First, to assess potential implicit differences between fantasy athletes and athletes not eligible for fantasy, we

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Martin Roderick and Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson

In this study, drawing on Goffman’s dramaturgical approach, we explore the underresearched domain of professional sportspeople’s experiences of working in a highly visible occupational role, where “front-region” control can be highly problematic and challenging. Highly visible professional athletes

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Kozue Ando, Takahiro Sato, Emma V. Richardson, Takafumi Tomura, Yu Furuta, Haruka Kasahara, and Takahiko Nishijima

In general, professional athletes have much shorter careers than nonprofessional athletes due to the physical and psychological demands of elite-level performance sport ( Stambulova et al., 2021 ). When the time comes to terminate their professional sporting career, athletes enter a transitional

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Kathy Babiak and Stacy-Lynn Sant

The transformative promise of philanthropy can bring attention to the need for social change. Celebrities, such as high-profile professional athletes, exercise tremendous influence over the public consciousness, which leads to greater connections and significant prominence in public life

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Jo Anne Tremaine Drahota and D. Stanley Eitzen

Previous research on the role transition of ex-athletes to a new career is somewhat limited because the studies have applied theories that do not fit the unique characteristics of athletes. This research uses another approach, Ebaugh’s role exit theory to understand the role exit process of professional athletes. Ebaugh claims that her theory, is applicable to all role exits. We found that Ebaugh’s theory applies to athletes, but with modification. Data were collected from interviews with 27 former professional athletes. The experiences of these athletes generally fit within Ebaugh’s 4 stages. However, the athletes paths are not entirely accounted for by the model. Thus, the model is modified to include: (a) a new stage of “original doubts” that precedes becoming a professional athlete; (b) the difference by the era in which the athlete played; (c) the significance of the type of involuntary exit; and (d) the “withdrawal” behaviors associated with leaving sport.

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Shani Pitcho-Prelorentzos and Michal Mahat-Shamir

Professional athletes are prone to sustaining serious sport-related injuries due to the massive pressure to succeed, sometimes regardless of the costs, which may lead in some cases to career termination ( Cavallerio, Wadey, & Wagstaff, 2016 ; Jones, Griffiths, & Mellalieu, 2017 ). Retirement from

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Jimmy Sanderson

This case study examines star Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens’s image-repair strategies during a press conference he held to respond to allegations that he had used steroids and human-growth hormones earlier in his playing career. When professional athletes are confronted with allegations of cheating or illegitimately enhancing their athletic performance, they are faced with a crisis situation, and selecting and performing the appropriate response is paramount in repairing their image and mitigating personal harm (e.g., loss of endorsements). In many cases, however, professional athletes rely on attorneys, agents, or other individuals who might underestimate the relevance of appropriately communicating image repair, thereby resulting in the athlete’s image being further damaged. Although Clemens employed various image-repair strategies during his press conference, his failure to enact these strategies appropriately further harmed his reputation and ultimately raised more questions than he answered.

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Wilbert M. Leonard II and Jonathan E. Reyman

The present study contributes to and extends the literature on sport and social mobility by refining the computations for the odds of attaining professional athlete status in the U.S. Using 1980 U.S. census data, 1986 and 1987 team rosters, and 1986 lists of money winners, rates for achieving “entry level” professional sport careers were computed for males and females, whites, blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asian/Pacific Islanders in the sports of football, baseball, basketball, hockey, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, and auto racing. The methodological contribution of this research is that refined norming variables are employed in the statistical calculations; that is, they are age, race/ethnicity, sport, and sex specific. This inquiry contains the most systematic, extensive, and precise measures for assessing the likelihood of achieving the ultimate in sport upward social mobility—professional athlete status.

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Lillian Feder

How many times have you left your house in the last month? What have you found to do instead? While quarantined, many professional athletes have found themselves engaging with social media more regularly than before ( Baker, 2020 ). This bodes well for fans’ parasocial relationships with them, as

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Jimmy Sanderson

This case study considers how audience labor performed via information and communication technologies (ICTs) helps sports organizations monitor professional athletes. Three incidents are examined—(a) National Basketball Association (NBA) player Greg Oden participating in a pickup (casual) basketball game while he was rehabilitating an injured knee, (b) photographs posted on the Internet that captured National Football League player Matt Leinart posing with several young women in a hot tub and holding a beer bong, and (c) a video posted on YouTube that depicted NBA player Josh Howard disparaging the U.S. national anthem. The case study explores how ICTs enable sports organizations to capitalize on free labor provided by audience members to intensify surveillance of professional athletes and how fans’ ability to comment on news coverage of these stories reinforces organizational control, further reifying professional athletes as commodities.