2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture

Siduri Haslerig

University of Oklahoma
Affective attributions: Commentators’ raced portrayal of emotion in football players

As the most watched college sport broadcast of all time (Volner, 2016), ESPN’s College GameDay (CGD) commentary and imagery is one source that primes audiences to make certain associations (Moy, Tewksbury, & Rinky, 2016). Through analysis of pre-game and game-of-the-week broadcasts during the 2016 football season, we document differences in how players’ emotions are covered. Broadly, production decisions often insinuated that Black players began from a state of immaturity and had to work to match the assumed emotional control of white players. Cases when white players acted out were framed as evidence of their “investment” in the game, rather than irrationality or unfettered emotions. For example, when a white quarterback yelled at his coaches it was described as: “… He shooed away anyone trying to pay any attention to him …. and let loose a stream of expletives. To give you an idea of just how invested he is!” In contrast, producers and commentators monitored Black players’ reactions and emotions; cameras followed players, anticipating an emotional reaction, and commentators were quick to chide Black players for perceived emotional responses. This paper presentation will discuss how the differential treatment of players’ emotions reflect and reinforce existing racial and gender stereotypes.