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Racial Discrimination in Sports

The treatment of minority athletes, particularly African Americans has been an issue in sports for decades. When a coloured person played a so-called white sport 50 tears ago they had to overcome many challenges from the public. Many people believe that discrimination is not a problem anymore, but many disagree and say it is.

In 1947 Jackie Robinson walked out on a baseball field to play with the Brooklyn dodgers as the first-ever African American to play in a major league baseball game. He was considered the person that broke the collar barrier in professional sports (50 years later the same team had the fewest minority players in the MLB. (Sports and Athletes. pg.129) Jackie wasn’t the only black person that had to overcome these racist problems in the 1900s but he was the first to actually do it. Athletes from Hank Arone to resent day Ricky Waters have to deal with the same stuff, just not as harsh.

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Racist conflicts still exist. 1997 was the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the collar barrier in major league baseball back in 1947. So what is being done to try and stop discrimination in sports? Well president Bill Clinton inaugurated a national discussion of race in America in 1996, and as time goes on there will be more and more laws and other actions to try to stop the racial war from getting worse in our future. Many people say that the only way to get rid of racism is for the people of America to stop being racist. Surveys show that more than 65% of Americans have said something racist about a black athlete in their life.

The percentages of minority’s in professional sports vary from sport to sport. In Major league Baseball, the percentage of blacks is at a two-decade low at 17 per cent. The per cent of Latinos in major league baseball has been rising for the last 20 years and is now at about 20 per cent with a 4 per cent increase from lat year. These days the NBA seems to have the largest percentage of blacks. In the 1996 season, the NBA was at an all-time high of about 80 per cent black and about 10 per cent Latino making them dominate over white athletes. When you think of all the big names in the NBA who do you think of Mike Jordon, shake, Bryant, or Pippen? African Americans in the NBA are the highest-paid athletes in the world making millions a year. As far as the NFL goes the African Americans are also dominating with about 66 per cent playing football. Not as many big names as basketball but once again some of the worlds highest-paid athletes, still making millions.

Other than players the coaches and managers hold the most visible positions in sports. It seems like it would be a good job for an African American or Latino seeing they make up for more than 60 per cent of all professional sports, with 70 per cent of the NFL and 90 per cent of the NBA. Cause who knows more about the sports then the athletes that play them, they could share there knowledge and skills that they have come by in their years of playing. They could teach their skills to the younger generations of athletes that are coming up. However, it seems like you are most likely to get a coaching job if you are white seeing how 93 per cent of all professional coaches are white. In 1997 in the MLB there where no black head coaches but there where three mangers Dusty Baker, Cito Gaston, and Don Baylor two of which would later get a head coaching jobs.

In the NBA at the time there where seven head coaches Darell Walker, Sto Jackson, Bernie Bickerstaff, Jim Clemons, M.L. Carr, Lenny Wilkens, and Johny Davis, out of these coaches where five of the top teams that year. In the NFL that year there were three head coaches Denis Green, Tony Dungy, and Ray Rhodes one of which took his ream to the super bowl and another to the championship game. At the end of this year 10 coaching jobs opened up but there were no black coaches hired or even looked like a possibility. This was noticed by the public as was all over the newspapers. After this, the NFL had to establish a national head-hunting team to search for potential coaches. So as you can see the colour of your skin does not always affect you but it does in some aspects of your life.

However, there are two sides to this whole racist conflict. Some people say that there are just as many if not more opportunities for minority players in professional sports than there are for a white man playing pro sports, these people say that the blacks are tiring to use racism as an accuse for poor skills, this is called reverse racism, it is commonly used. African Americans say that racism still exists because blacks only hold about 15 per cent of the population in the MLB, however the black population in general America is only 10 per cent, therefore they are overpopulated in the MLB by about 5 per cent. All sports are open to all people and a large per cent of the people that play sports are minority players.

“People don’t want to hear the truth; people font want to face the facts” (The sporting this was said by Gary Sheffield pro baseball player for the Florida Marlins for 14 years. This year the three highest-paid athletes in pro baseball were African Americans all making about 10,000,000 a year. He says that almost all the teams in the MLB have blacks on them and they are not treated any different from anyone else, yet some of them think they are, it is many peoples opinion that when a black man is cut or let go from a team they scream racism until they get there own way, even if the reason is quite clear. But when the media hears about it then the team has to go through a lot of trouble to try to convince them otherwise. This can sometimes scare a coach or owner and the person would get there way anyway. This is how they use reverse racism in sports and it works.

The treatment of minority players or athletes, mostly blacks has been an issue in sports for decades. Well in some way it has been, but in some ways, it’s not as bad as everyone makes it out to be and it is getting better without a doubt. However, the use of reverse racism is more commonly knowledge than ever. The large population feels that the only problem is the people both black and white get mad when they don’t get what they want. I fell that what it all comes down to is that the best athlete will always get the spot, no matter what.

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Racial Discrimination in Sports. (2021, Mar 13). Retrieved July 18, 2021, from