Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Heather H. Kettrey

Committee Member

Dr. Erin M. Ash

Committee Member

Dr. Sarah Winslow


The purpose of this thesis is to explore how users of the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) responded to and assigned responsibility in two cases of coach-athlete sexual violence in elite North American sport. The cases of Kyle Beach, formerly of the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League, and Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly, both formerly of the Portland Thorns of the National Women’s Soccer League, were chosen for analysis because they represent the blending of (masculinized) sports culture and (feminized) sexual violence within the unique context of professional North American sports. A convenience sample of X posts (N= 631) was analyzed using Charmaz’s (2014) grounded theory approach. Results, while only representing the thoughts and ideas of a small handful of X users, indicate X users seek to assign responsibility for coach-athlete sexual violence to institutional figures and features rather than solely on perpetrators. Additionally, gendered patterns emerged. While X users used similar, positive language to describe both male and female victims, female victims were treated with a similar “respectful apathy” seen in traditional sports news coverage (Cooky, Messner, & Musto, 2015) and a greater degree of focus on the institutional factors that contributed to their assaults. On the other hand, the male victim was consistently aligned with strong, masculine traits, showing a rejection of male rape myths.



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