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Race in Sports

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Race in Sports

There are many reasons why the number of minorities that participate is sports vary from sport to sport. Race plays a big part in sports as well as in our society. Why is it that a group of people can harass and abuse a young black male for raping a white female, but on the next Saturday at the big football game cheer him on and hope that he has a great game. Over the years there have been some great black sports players, in almost all sports. Michael Jordan, OJ Simpson, Mohamed Ali, Bo Jackson, just to name a few. When players like these come along that are black and sort of take over a sport, many white male sports fans say stuff like, "He's black, he's faster than the white players." This tends to be true, blacks dominate the speed of sports while whites dominate the power positions of sports. In the NFL today most of the specialty positions (wide receiver, running back) are dominated by black players, and power positions (mainly the offensive line) is dominated by white athletes.

In today's professional sports there is great diversity. In almost any sport you look at there is people of all colors. The three major men's professional sports leagues, the MLB, NFL, and the NBA all had pretty good percentages when it came to minorities. The MLB had 60% white players, 10% African Americans, 28% Latino, and 2% Asian Americans. The NFL had 33% white players, 65% African Americans, < 1% Latinos, and 1% Asian Americans. The NBA had 20% white, 78% black, < 2 % Latino, and < 1 % Asian Americans. All of these numbers came from a study conducted by Richard E. Lapchick in 2001. Although there is not much wrong with the numbers I just shared with you, there is a big problem in some other sports.

One of the biggest controversies is in the NHL, or the National Hockey League. The NHL is dominated by white players and always has been. Between the years of 1958 and 1991 there were only 18 black players ever made it to the NHL. Of those 18 there have been some great players. The most well known black player is probably Grant Fuhr. Fuhr played for the Edmonton Oilers in the late 1980's. While playing in Edmonton Fuhr was awesome, he is currently in sixth place on the list of all-time wins in the NHL. Another great black player is Jarome Iginla from the Calgary Flames. Iginla is a great forward who has won a scoring title in the NHL for most goals scored in a single season, and helped the Calgary Flames win the Stanley Cup. (NHL championship) Today the NHL is trying hard to promote diversity in their league. Before each season every player is required to attend diversity classes, and if a player chooses to talk trash during a game and use racial comments, it will cost them big time, with fines and suspensions.

There are forty-five drivers on the NASCAR Nextel Cup; every single one of them is white. There has never been a person of color to drive a racecar in the Winston Cup or the Nextel Cup. That's about to change, or some hope it does. NASCAR'S chief operating official George Pyne has teamed up with Magic Johnson and started a program to help encourage minorities to try to race. There is one black driver on the NASCAR truck series and a couple in smaller

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