Racism in Sport, Zirin Ch.9

In chapter 9 of Zirins’ Game Over, he discusses several examples of how racism is still present in sports everyday and notes the fact that sports are considered one of the least racist sectors in society today according to an American poll in 2011. Zirin was interested in determining why people feel this way and if in fact sports should be considered less racist than society as a whole.

Zirins first detailed example of a racial incident in sports was based on a reference made by a host of an HBO series which identified the NBA commissioner as a “plantation overseer”. a comment of this extreme can spark some mixed reactions from several fans, viewers, or even the general public. The comment was made for the fact that the NBA had all white owners except for Michael Jordan and that 86% of the league was black. Zirin points out how Stern may have had a few incidents where racism had stood out as the intention but he has also been able to manage the league in which the hiring of colored executives and coaches is the highest.

Michael Vick was another story that Zirin analyzed in which he was considered a ‘Horatio Alger’.  This term associated with Vick is portraying his ability to breakthrough the improbability through hard work and determination. Zirin referred to a quote from Jackie Robinson that stated how you as an individual can make it but you need to be concerned with the masses of the people and not concerned by what happens as an individual. With this quote, Zirin feels as though the Michael Vick incident can be looked at as a success story for all those mass prisoners as Vick was once like them making 11 cents/hour to 100 million dollar contract. He was valued as a worth of 11 cents per hour because he was a black man in prison for committing a crime. IT goes to show that no matter the color or race, there’s always a possibility of light at the end of the tunnel.

Personally i feel as though racism in sports will be hard to eliminate 100% as there is several different cultures in professional sports and the fans are mostly made up of either white or black males and females. The Jeremy Lin incident was due to the fact that he was a Chinese player playing with mainly blacks and whites which caused people to view the story as “its only because he is Chinese”. I agree that sports are not a racial as society in a whole and i feel like sports is almost a savior to racial problems we face in society.

Zirin, D. (2013). Game over: How politics has turned the sports world upside down. (pp. 163-183). New York, United States of America: The New Press.

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