Talking about Trayvon in 140 characters: Exploring NFL players’ tweets about the George Zimmerman verdict

Annelie Schmittel, James Sanderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This research explored how National Football League (NFL) players used Twitter to discuss the verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial in the immediate aftermath of its announcement. A textual analysis, using constant comparative procedures of 465 tweets from 125 NFL players, was conducted. Results revealed that players discussed the case in the following ways: (a) anticipation, (b) disbelief, (c) critiques of the American Justice System, (d) social commentary, (e) condolences and support, (f) responding to fans, and (g) freedom of speech arguments. The results suggest that Twitter is a viable mechanism for African American and other minority athletes to engage in activism and initiate important conversations about social justice issues. Although empowering, this also may create conflict for team personnel and fans who may be uncomfortable with athletes using Twitter to question structures that favor Whiteness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-345
JournalJournal of Sport and Social Issues
StatePublished - 2015

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