1st Edition

Social Issues in Sport Communication You Make the Call

Edited By Terry L. Rentner, David P. Burns Copyright 2023
    354 Pages
    by Routledge

    354 Pages
    by Routledge

    Combining theory with practical application, this collection of real-life, provocative case studies on social issues in sports provides students with the opportunity to make the call on ethical and professional dilemmas faced by a variety of sport and communication professionals.

    The case studies examine the successes and failures of communication in the corporate culture of sport intersecting with social issues including race, gender, religion, social media, mass media, public health, and LGBTQ+ issues. Topics include the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, sexual abuse scandals, domestic violence, cultural appropriation, and mental health. Each chapter contextualizes a specific issue, presents relevant theory and practical communication principles, and leads into discussion questions to prompt critical reflection. The book encourages students to view the evidence themselves, consider competing ethical and professional claims, and formulate practical responses.

    This collection serves as a scholarly text for courses in sport communication, business, intercultural communication, public relations, journalism, media studies, and sport management.

    About the Editors

    List of Contributors




    PART I: Introduction to Sport and Social Issues

    1 Sport and Social Issues: The Touchdowns and Strikeouts

    Terry L. Rentner


    PART II: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    2 "The Rooney Ruse": Systemic Racism and Hiring NFL Head Coaches

    David P. Burns & Chris B. Geyerman

    3 When Fandom Stains Your Team

    Evaluating the effectiveness of the Utah Jazz’s organizational responses to racist incidents

    Nicola A. Corbin & Anne Bialowas

    4 Concussion settlement and racial norming: The NFL fumbles into a crisis

    Cory Young, Terry Rentner & Annemarie Farrell

    5 Major League Soccer’s Navigation of the 2019 Iron Front Crisis

    Caleb Bills

    6 Protecting the Brees brand: How Drew Brees Said "Sorry" for his National Anthem Protest Comments

    Steph Doehler

    7 ‘Kicking Hate Out of Our Game’: San Diego Loyal Soccer Club’s Stand Against Racism

    and Homophobia

    Jeffrey W. Kassing, Isaiah D. Utley & Steffanie M. Kiourkas

    8 Issues and Crisis Management in Athlete Activism: Colin Kaepernick and Take a Knee

    Lillian Feder

    9 Reputation Management Strategies at ESPN

    Kevin Hull & Denetra Walker

    10 From Les Esquimaux to The Elks: Addressing Social Responsibility in the Canadian

    Football League

    David J. Jackson & Lori Liggett

    11 In the Space of Indecision: Social and Cultural Challenges Facing Major League

    Soccer NEXT Academies

    Saleema Mustafa Campbell & Erin E. Gilles

    12 #WeAreAllMonkeys: Eating Bananas as the Intersection of Hashtag Activism

    and Anti-Racist Solidarity

    Pratik Nyaupane

    13 The Milwaukee Bucks: Professional Athletic Labor’s Position in Racist Late-Stage


    Kevin G. Thompson


    PART III: Gender Equity, Identity, and Sexual Misconduct

    14 Conquering a Boy’s Club Using an Issues Management Approach: How Women’s

    Soccer May Pioneer a Path to Pay Equity

    Terry L. Rentner & David P. Burns

    15 Communicating in Crisis without the Power to Act

    Bradley J. Baker

    16 Strategic Resistance through Communication Capital: Rapinoe’s Reframing of Women-Identified Athletes through Mind-Body Performance for Social Change

    Elesha L. Ruminski & Dorene Ciletti

    17 Alysia, Allyson, and Nike’s ‘Band of Brothers’: Exposing the Hypocrisy between

    Corporate Marketing and Internal Practices

    Amy Aldridge Sanford, Nikola Grafnetterova & RJ Loa

    18 Let Them Wear Shorts! Analyzing the Norwegian Women’s Beach Handball Team’s

    Uniform Code Protest

    Megan R. Hill, Karen T. Erlandson, and Katey A. Price

    19 Sports News Media, Major Leagues, and Intimate Partner Violence

    Steve Ingham, Jade Metzger-Riftkin & Tara McManus

    20 ‘Play like the Lady you are’: Marketing Women’s Gaelic football

    Niamh Kitching

    21 Trans inclusion in sports: assumed advantages, (un)fairness, and athlete well-being

    Aaron W. Gurlly


    PART IV: Mental Health and COVID-19 Pandemic

    22 Athlete Influence in Regard to Mask Wearing: An Application of Social Cognitive


    Lindsey J. DiTirro & Jennifer R. Allen Catellier

    23 Controlling the Narrative: NBC, USA Gymnastics, and Simone Biles at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games

    Aaron W. Gurlly

    24 "We Hope to See You Soon" The Green Bay Packers' Crisis Management through a Letter to the Fans during COVID-19 Mega-Crisis 

    Julia C. Richmond 

    25 Blaming Biles: Intersectionality and Organizational Obligations to Mental Health

    Jeff Nagel & Scott J. Varda

    26 How Can Organizations Better Support Athletes? A Case Study of the Impact of

    COVID-19 on Minoritized Communities in Intercollegiate Sport

    Yannick Kluch, Shaun M. Anderson, & Tomika L. Ferguson







    Terry L. Rentner is Professor in the School of Media and Communication at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Ohio, USA.

    David P. Burns is Professor in the Department of Communication at Salisbury University in Maryland, USA.