What is it about?

The project analysed 136 newspaper articles published in the British written press one week either side of Eddie Jones' appointment as the head coach of the England men's national rugby union team. As an Australian, Eddie Jones' appointment was significant as it was the first time a foreign born individual had been appointed as the head coach of the England national team. The Australian and English sporting rivalry is significant in the cultural identities of England rugby union, and as such, having an Australian in charge of the national team was divisive.

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Why is it important?

The British written press are known to perpetuate ideological messages within the reporting of current affairs stories. A major focus of the press is of sporting issues including the appointment of head coaches of national teams. given Eddie jones was appointed in 205 amidst the backdrop of rising populism and sentiments of anti-immigration agendas throughout society which resulted in Brexit, these notions have not been analysed to the same extent within sporting circles. Therefore, an analysis of the British newspapers narratives on this topic was revealing in how Eddie Jones was not initially accepted as head coach based on his Australian identity.

Perspectives

The debate about who is and isn't accepted and respected as a head coach occurs across all media outlets and widely amongst spectators. As a lecturer, I hear students debate the merits and limitations of certain head coaches based on their previous success and perceived identities. On many occasions, students and media commentators reject people primarily because they do not represent certain idealised views such as what it means to be English in this instance. Therefore, analysing these written media reports on this topic was revealing in how covert forms of discrimination were largely reported and how this can influence public perception of all who read such covertly toxic narratives and goes some way to explain why my students and others uphold such discriminatory views. I hope you as a reader also find this revealing like I did.

Dr Alex D Blackett
Staffordshire University

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This page is a summary of: Malign and covert nationalism within British newspapers reporting of Eddies Jones’ appointment as head coach of the men's England national rugby union team, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, August 2021, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/10126902211037842.
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