Coping with Athlete endorsers' immoral behavior: Roles of athlete identification and moral emotions on moral reasoning strategies

Joon Sung Lee, Dae Hee Kwak, Jessica R. Braunstein-Minkove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Athlete endorsers' transgressions pose a dilemma for loyal fans who have established emotional attachments toward the individual. However, little is known regarding how fans maintain their support for the wrongdoer. Drawing on moral psychology and social identity theory, the current study proposes and examines a conceptual model incorporating athlete identification, moral emotions, moral reasoning strategies, and consumer evaluations. By using an actual scandal involving an NFL player (i.e., Ray Rice), the results show that fan identification suppresses the experience of negative moral emotions but facilitates fans' moral disengagement processes, which enables fans to support the wrongdoer. Moreover, negative moral emotions motivate the moral coupling process. Findings contribute to the sport consumer behavior literature that highly identified fans seem to regulate negative emotions but deliberately select moral disengagement reasoning strategies to maintain their positive stance toward the wrongdoer and associated brands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-191
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Sport Management
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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