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Crossing the line: an exploration of the experiences of male athletes who commit crimes.

Sheppard-Marks, L., 2022. Crossing the line: an exploration of the experiences of male athletes who commit crimes. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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Abstract

In terms of research into sport and crime, there has been considerable investigation into the power of sport as a crime reduction tool. Evidence is far from conclusive and within the UK research has predominantly focussed on the links between active participation in sport and reduced criminal behaviour. Sport is widely hailed as a positive mechanism for crime reduction however, some have questioned the assumption that involvement in sport routinely leads to positive outcomes. Involvement in sport is not a barrier to negative behaviours, and the athlete world, like all sections of the population, contains those who become involved in crime. It is not clear the extent to which athletes are involved within crime, or how sport could contribute to criminal behaviour. There is a relative paucity of research into the experiences of athletes who commit crimes. Whilst previous links exist between involvement in sport and violent and sexual crimes, a more significant body of empirical evidence is lacking. This thesis adopted a qualitative approach to explore the experiences of athletes who have committed crimes. Narrative inquiry was used to develop an understanding of the experiences of these athletes. This thesis utilised the concept of elite interviewing to explore the stories of ten male athletes who committed criminal offences either during or immediately after their athletic careers. Thematic analysis was used to explore the data and five key themes were established: the sporting experience, the criminal experience, the impact of external influences, the role of drugs and alcohol, and finally reflection on the participant’s journey. Overall this research extends knowledge in the area of athlete criminality, increasing understanding of athletes who commit crimes and the role sport plays in their criminal experiences. A conceptual framework is presented to illustrate the potential paths an athlete may take in the commission of crime, and considers the pursuit of edgework as a possible component, with criminal acts occurring as a consequence of edgework behaviour. Implications for practice and future research are provided, and this study supports the need to further explore the experiences of athletes who commit crimes. This study makes an important contribution to knowledge in this area, and is the first in depth examination of elite male athlete criminality from the perspective of the offender.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:sport; crime; elite athlete; narrative
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:36752
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:16 Mar 2022 15:31
Last Modified:16 Mar 2022 15:31

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