Royce White, DeMar DeRozan and Media Framing of Mental Health in the NBA

David Cassilo, Kennesaw State University


This study analyzed media framing of two players from the National Basketball Association (NBA), Royce White and DeMar DeRozan, who both publicly addressed their mental health concerns within the last decade. Due to societal stigmas, such a public conversation was once a rarity in the NBA, making their discussion of mental health a worthy area of examination. A media framing analysis of 58 press articles for White and 42 articles for DeRozan revealed six frames for each athlete used to discuss their situation. Despite both being African American athletes playing the same sport, they were covered differently. Analysis discovered that frames for White, a first-year player who wanted changes in the system of how the NBA handled mental health, most commonly focused on him and his specific situation, while frames for DeRozan, an NBA All-Star who positioned himself solely as an advocate, most frequently discussed shedding the stigma of mental health and the increased awareness surrounding the topic. Additionally, while there were frames critical of White, there were no such frames for DeRozan. Still, for both players, this type of coverage humanizes the experience of mental health and leads to important insights about changes in masculinity among athletes.