Rasicim Today in Sports, Chapter 9 From Dave Zirin

When reading this chapter many things caught my eyes which I want to discuss. This chapter focused on how racism is still evident in the sporting world today, which is very true. The focus of this blog will be the NBA because of various examples in the book.

Racism has only been more visible in the NBA then the other major leagues probably due to the fact that all the owners but one (Michael Jordan) are white and that 86 percent of the players are African American. The chapter starts off with discussing the lockout in 2011. David Stern made various comments that came off as racist towards the African American players stating that they were unable to understand the financial challenges of owners. Were these comments just general statements or was their a deeper meaning? While stating these comments he did point directly at player Dwayne Wade who took offence to the finger pointing. It’s clear that racism is still a strong issue in the NBA because it is unlike any other sport that attempts to market African American players to a while middle class ticket buying audience (Zirin, 2013). As well the NBA has always had more of a focus on cleaning up their image with the “hip hop generation”. The media tends to focus on these issues involving racism and sport; though, is it the media who is making these issues bigger than they need to be, or is there a recurring trend in sport?

The next section in the chapter involving the NBA was Jeremy Lin and his rise to fame in the NBA. Obviously, a player of Asian heritage would get attention when not fitting in the stereotypical box by setting records for most points in just his first five starting games. When this occurred, people immediately started making comments on his race, making jokes about how Asians can not drive, or questioning his abilities because he wasn’t the norm in the league. It’s surprising that, in todays society, race is still a factor in sport when it should just be about a person’s skills in the game. The racism around “Linsanity” got worse when ESPN’s website posted a headline that said, “Chink in the Armor”. In all honesty, I find it pathetic that still we deal with things like this in sport, and that people focus on these minor things like race and the color of someone’s skin. It really makes you wonder: will racism always be in sport?

I personally believe racism will be in sport for a very long time because of the ignorance of certain people, as well as the segregation of culture and color throughout the world. Although it has gotten better over the years, racism is still prevalent in every day life. It was less than a year ago that Jackie Robinsons statue was vandalized and racist slurs were written across it. Robinsons was a huge hero in race back in the day, and people still have the audacity to insult him now. This blog was not to prove that racism still exists in sport or to ask you if it does, but rather to get you thinking about how sport is affected by racism and how it hinders the sports we love to watch and participate in.

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One Response to Rasicim Today in Sports, Chapter 9 From Dave Zirin

  1. jw09ea says:

    While I do not disagree with your statement that racism still exists in sport today, I believe that some of your examples are blown out of proportion. The discrepancy between the number of black players and owners is irrelevant. Being able to play basketball at an elite level does not qualify someone to own an NBA franchise any more than being good at pinball qualifies someone to own an arcade. If you believe that the only way for an owner to identify with fans or players is by his race than you are displaying a form of racism also. While Dwyane Wade has had an extremely successful career and has earned more money than most people will in a lifetime, he is nowhere near as wealthy as most NBA owners. As well, most NBA players did not complete their post-secondary education and some, such as superstars Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett, entered the league straight from high school. This means that most of them are not educated enough to fully understand the financial complexities of owning and operating a franchise. Forbes claims that there are 1426 billionaires in the world, and only 7 of those are black. Racism was institutionalized in the US for such a long time, it will not be fixed overnight. As more and more African-Americans are breaking barriers and gaining equality we will start to see more black representation in league offices and boardrooms.

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