The Politicizing of ESPN: A Content Analysis of Its Perceived Partisanship


  • Adrianne Grubic


Since the 2016 presidential election, there has been the perception that politics has not only taken the forefront in news, but in sports as well. After then NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest social injustice, ESPNâs protest coverage became a source of debate as various media outlets accused the network of exhibiting partisan coverage with a liberal bias. Sports journalism has historically suffered with issues of credibility, especially ESPN because of the blurring of the lines between information and entertainment. Through a content analysis of the sport siteâs Facebook comments, this study found that users were more likely to be uncivil towards other commenters and were less concerned with a perceived bias by the site. This, however, is not conclusive evidence that does not have some sort of bias but does indicate that the assumed commenters of sports sites are similar to those of hard news sites, often using its platform for their own political messaging and attacking other users who have different views.