The one dimensional Black college football player : a mixed methods approach to understanding racial and athletic identity
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The complex relationship between sports, representation and power is constantly being documented through modern omnipresent media. Daily inundation of various media images permeates social understanding to the point of realistic expectations. These expectations are often substituted for genuine physical interaction, as is the case for many Black male collegiate football players. Media often scripts Black males as successful by way of their athletic achievements, often misrepresenting their multifaceted potential. As result of that portrayal, many Black males single-mindedly purse athletic careers at the degradation of the many other facets and gifts they possess. Thus, the purpose of this study is to examine the effects of media consumption and character portrayals on the identity negotiation of Black male collegiate football players. This study employed mixed-methods framework by surveying 226 Black college football players and conducting 16 interviews with Black collegiate football players and athletic administrators. The study found that media portrayal can negatively influence the negotiation of identities priming Black collegiate football players for athletic one-dimensionalism. The data generated five themes; Media Influence, Black College Football Player Politics, Athletic Industrial Complex and Football Culture, One Dimensional versus Multi-Dimensional, and What Schools Can do Better. Quantitatively, Cross Racial identity Scale (CRIS) and the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS) were used to gauge identity participant attitudes. Quantitatively, the study affirmed Black college football players have elevated athletic identity and a suppressed racial identity. There was a negative relationship between athletic identity and athletic classification. There was a correlation represented between a racial identity attitude and athletic classification. The implications of this study are to promote multidimensional beings and help elucidate the effects of media portrayals and consumption. The study also contextualizes Black athletes’ experiences at the juncture of sport and social justice. Furthermore, the study is contributing to current and future literature through a nuanced investigation of the experiences and identity negotiation of Black collegiate athletes.