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Racial Disparities and Football

Marquette King - Raiders
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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

One argument used to prove systemic racism is the extent of racial disparities. On the Internet you will find lots of charts that show differences between black and white that are then used to prove racism.

One way to respond to those charges is to look at one of the last columns ever written by black economist Thomas Sowell with the provocative title “Football and Fallacies.” He talks about the reaction from the players in the NFL when a black punter took the field. One of the defenders cried out, “Fake!” His reaction was understandable since you never see a black kicker in the NFL.

Thomas Sowell put it this way: “I have seen hundreds of black players score touchdowns, but not one kick the point afterwards. I have seen a black President of the United States before I have seen a black kicker in the NFL.”

He is obviously questioning the assumption that statistical differences between racial groups indicate discrimination. Does that mean there is discrimination among kickers in professional football? Not at all. We all know the answer to that question. Owners and coaches will pick the best player regardless of their ethnic background. In fact, they will even take foreign players who cannot speak English if they can kick a football.

The lesson here is that we have been told for decades that statistical differences are automatically a reason to suspect discrimination, whether between races or sexes. He goes on to remind us that some of the differences in wages between men and women have more to do with different career choices.

Let’s be honest. Some statistical differences do point to discrimination (either overt or subtle), but in most cases the differences are due to other factors that have nothing to do with discrimination. This is a lesson we can all learn, from this football story.viewpoints new web version

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