Race as an Antecedent Condition in the Framing of Heisman Finalists

Gregory A. Cranmer, Nicholas D. Bowman, Rebecca M. Chory, Keith D. Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Previous literature has established the widespread use of frames that contrast athletes' physical (i.e., the "brawn" frame, often used for Black athletes) and mental abilities (i.e., the "brain" frame, often used for White athletes) in mediated sports content, particularly oral commentary, which tends to be more spontaneous in nature. The current study analyzed the presence and salience of brawn and brain frames of Heisman finalists in newspaper articles as a function of reporter race; extending previous research by examining (a) written content and (b) reporter race as an antecedent condition. Results confirm the existence of "brawn" and "brain" biases in written sports content, with no influence of reporter race on these patterns. The lack of influence of reporter race-a finding that contradicts research on oral commentary-suggests an institutional influence on frame use in written sports coverage as a function of the more planned nature of "print" media. © 2014

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-191
Number of pages21
JournalHoward Journal of Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Heisman Trophy
  • content analysis
  • framing theory
  • race
  • sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management


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