Sometimes It's What You Don't Say: College Football Announcers and Their Use of In-Game Stereotypes

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 9-1-2018


Mass Communication and Journalism




In her analysis of stereotypes more than a generation ago, Seiter (1986) observed, "The study of stereotypes provides a point of intersection between quantitative and qualitative research, between social science and humanities perspectives, between the cultural studies and administrative approaches" (p. 14). Given the growth and evolution in media trends, and the shifting cultural landscape, such an analysis is no less true or important today.

Social scientific research on media stereotyping goes back to Lippmann's (1922) work and his observation that humans respond not directly to external reality but to a "representation of the environment which is in lesser or greater degree made by the man himself" (p. 10). Since that time, stereotyping has been studied using a variety of analyses and in a multitude of settings. Different areas of study in stereotype research include gender (Puchner, Markowitz, & Hedley, 2015), race (Hurwitz & Peffley, 1997), and age (Ory, Hoffman, Hawkins, Sanner, & Mockenhaupt, 2003), while other studies have observed how stereotyping varies by type of media, such as the printed word versus the visual image (Ross & Lester, 2011).

The racial dimensions of sport have made it fertile ground for stereotype research in the past several years, and some (Eastman & Billings, 2010; Koivula, 1999) have attempted to dig in the plow. But for the most part, the study of stereotyping in sports media remains untilled, and as a topic of study, it has often been marginalized or ignored. Billings (2015), who has perhaps contributed more to the literature than anyone, observed,

People are wrong when they argue that race is now omitted from media dialogues in college sport. It is more accurate to say that race is never directly alluded to. Race in sports has become something to talk around, something to divert, and, sometimes, something to encode. (p. 200)

This study sought to extend the boundaries of stereotype research within the context of live sports announcing. Specifically, it sought to gauge if college football game announcers engaged in stereotypes in the fall of 2016. If stereotypes were used, the study also sought to gauge which ones were predominate.

Publication Title

Journal of Sports Media





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