Sport's Officials' Reports of Hearing Trash Talk and their Responses to Trash Talk

The purposes of this study were to investigate the trash talk that sport officials hear by athletes and to examine the officials' responses to that trash talk. Questionnaires were completed by 646 sport officials from eleven sports. They retrospectively estimated the percentage of games in which they heard trash talk, the percentage of players they heard using trash talk, and the types of trash talk they heard. They also indicated how they responded to four different types of trash talk. Reports of trash talk were most common in ice hockey (58% of games) and football (41% of games) and least frequent in Volleyball (2%) and track and field (3%). Ice hockey and football officials reported the highest percentages of players using trash talk (23% and 17%), and Volleyball, swimming and diving, and track and field reported the lowest percentages (2%). Officials indicated that the most common type of trash talk is demeaning the skill or athleticism of opponents, and demeaning the sexuality or sexual orientation of opponents was the least common type. Officials reported that they were most punitive in their reactions to demeaning trash talk about sexuality/ sexual orientation and most lenient in their reactions to trash talk belittling skill 'athleticism and courage/toughness. Results support earlier research suggesting that there are normative rules among some athletes favoring the use of trash talk. Further, results from this study suggest that some sport officials may subscribe to normative rules regarding how they respond to trash talk by athletes.

© Journal of Sport Behavior Mar 2012. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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