“I’m Glad I Played When the Country Still Had Gonads”: Pop Warner’s Kickoff Policy Change and the Framing of Health and Safety Initiatives in Football
- Journal of Sports Media
- University of Nebraska Press
- Volume 14, Numbers 1-2, Spring-Fall 2019
- pp. 1-22
- Additional Information
This research explored bottom-up framing in response to the U.S. youth football organization Pop Warner eliminating kickoffs in its three youngest age divisions. Data were obtained from 838 Facebook comments posted to news articles covering the policy announcement. Thematic analysis suggested that participants framed the policy as (a) potentially impacting the NFL; (b) overprotecting the players; (c) creating a competitive disadvantage within football; (d) negatively affecting masculinity; (e) providing evidence of America’s declining power; and (f) exhibiting legitimate organizational policy. Results reveal that the public has complex and divergent interpretations of health and safety initiatives within sport generally, and football specifically, equating these changes with declining American social structures. Consequently, health and safety initiatives in football are likely to be met with strong resistance, as people seek to protect the sport from elements that they perceive to be weakening American society.