Faculty Publications

Title

Newspaper reporting and the production of deviance: Drug use among professional athletes

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Deviant Behavior

Volume

14

Issue

4

First Page

317

Last Page

339

Abstract

This study employs a social constructionist perspective to assess why the use of illegal drugs among professional athletes became a significant social problem in the 1980s. A content analysis of two newspapers was conducted, covering press reports of the athlete‐drug issue over a 28‐year period. These results suggest a pattern in the level and type of reporting consistent with a social constructionist framework. Key factors in the definitional process involved media concern with newsworthy stories, efforts by league officials to protect the moral and economic integrity of the game, and denial of a problem and strong resistance to proposed drug policies by player associations. The drug issue was used by league officials either directly or indirectly as a means to weaken the concerns of professional athletes for improved economic benefits. © 1993 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Original Publication Date

1-1-1993

DOI of published version

10.1080/01639625.1993.9967949

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