The online consumption of sport is becoming increasingly popular among sports fans. This study examined how fans used computer-mediated communication to discuss allegations of racism in American Division I College Football hiring practices. A thematic analysis of 1,254 postings to an ESPN.com discussion forum revealed that fans addressed the issue through messages of (a) transference, (b) irrelevance, (c) reverse racism, and (d) recognition. Results suggest that the online commentary (re)produced an ideology that (a) claims racism as nonexistent, (b) blames the victims of racism for their underrepresentation, and (c) suggests any lingering racism is against Whites (e.g., Whites are victims of reverse discrimination). The findings reveal how computer-mediated communication domains are important sites for examining how fans' messages (re)produce societal beliefs about the role and relevance of race in sport.
- College football
- Computer-mediated communication
- Discussion boards
- Reverse racism