Racism in Sports Essay

Written by: Prof. Meshack
Updated: Nov 30, 2023
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Racism in Sports Essay

This essay will address the issue of racism in sports. It will discuss historical and contemporary instances of racism, its impact on athletes and teams, and the measures taken to combat racial discrimination in various sports. The piece will explore the role of sports as both a mirror and a catalyst for societal attitudes towards race. More free essay examples are accessible at PapersOwl about Racism.

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Pages:  5
Words:  1638
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Nowadays it is a big challenge in sports owing to the issue of racial inequality. Racial inequality is tearing sports apart and breaking the relationships that have been flourishing around the world. If this path of racial discrimination is allowed to continue, the problem will keep growing as time goes on. Therefore, the world must engage in a process of change in the field of athletics to create an environment where ethnicity, background, skin color, and race no longer dictate the kind of benefit or treatment that the athletes receive.

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The University of Central Florida found out that in 2018 there were 52 acts of racism and in 2017 there were 42. The issue with sports is that it has a way of masking the fact that unfair treatment and racism are going on (Abdul-Jabar 36).  Often people do not seem to realize that regardless of the racial differences, athletes are people who also deserve respect like any other person (Blake 152). Youth sports are also suffering the effects of racial comments and racism, which is not something that should remain unchecked. One of the England players in 2018 was reluctant to even have his family accompany him for fear that they might be subjected to racial comments and abuse (Lapchick 65). As Blake (153) quotes, “I do not want to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color”

The way stereotyping of black athletes has become so secretive and common makes it hard to stop its growth (Moore 12). Some athletes are forced to occupy certain positions solely based on their skin color. For example, one of the stereotypes is that African American athletes should occupy positions that do not need much intelligence and smartness while the whites play in critical positions such as the quarterback (Hillstrom 102). Also, most of the best comments such as intelligent, smart, and leader are directed toward white athletes. This is stereotyping that underrepresents African Americans in sports (Hillstrom 102).

Solely based on their racial identity, many athletes are being restricted and held back from certain sports and events. Some franchises and sports teams are making it more difficult for fans of African American descent to support their favorite players and teams by making the cost of tickets too expensive (Hillstrom 104). One of the founders of Augusta National Golf Club made a statement that in his life he would never allow a black golfer to play on his course but in 1990 an African American played on the course (Hillstrom 105). It is an unfortunate event to have an athlete ruin their career by simply voicing out their opinions and allowing people to hear their words. The many issues of discriminating and stereotyping athletes because of their races cannot be fixed by implementing Rooney Rule or many other rules.

Athletes have different ways of overcoming these racist actions and comments and growing together as strong teams and individuals. One of the main things that athletes need to do in pursuit of winning this battle against racism is by fighting through and breaking barriers and rules that were established to stop them (Hillstrom 100). If need be, some athletes will have to put their careers and fines on the line to successfully voice out their views and opinions on this matter (Blake 135). Social media is an effective platform through which athletes express their opinions to allow the entire world to discover the issues they go through and come to their aid, although this can sometimes be dangerous (Blake 136). One thing that some athletes need to realize is that not all people will agree with their opinions, but the opinion is theirs and they need to let it be known (Blake 157). The other thing that will help the athletes is to listen and to hear what others are commenting about them and use the comments to advance and help their opinions and views (Blake 164)

Many social problems around the world have been solved through protests. Athletes can also consider protesting as a way of overcoming racism and other similar problems. For years, athletes have protested in sports so this is not something new. However, in 2016 people began noticing the issues that these individuals go through when Colin Kaepernick knelt before one of his games during the National Anthem (Blake 156). Many people who witnessed such an action thought it was not right since it was not a common thing in America. However, the main issue of concern here was not whether it was the right thing to do or not. The purpose of that action was to get people to have different thinking about sports and protesting. Kaepernick’s action revolutionized how people protest in sports and that was an exemplary way of sharing his views with the rest of the world. 

In America, many athletes from minority races have and are changing the game of sports across all races. Jackie Robinson and Mohamed Ali are two phenomenal athletes that have paved the way for all other minority players in athletes (Hillstrom 100). If these two athletes had not challenged the status quo, things would not have been the same for the minority athletes (Hillstrom 100). Several other athletes are exemplarily taking the position of leadership and role models for many generations of minority athletes to come. Examples of such athletes include Stephen Curry, Lebron James, Venus, and Serena Williams. When minority athletes break barriers and records in sports, they give other athletes motivation to overcome racism and be the best (Hillstrom 98).

Although sports are the avenues through which racism permeates into this field, it could also be the only way in which racism can be stopped and fans are brought together to address these issues (Blake 137). One thing that makes athletes good at solving racism in sports is that they have already started addressing it. Also, their popularity and fame make many people pay attention to the issues they raise (Blake 153). We consider athletes as leaders and look up to them to lead the way to change the existing situation (Blake 164). Athletes need to be trained and educated on the most appropriate way of handling racism and racial discrimination in sports because without such education they might not know how to handle it rightly (Blake 165). One of the ways that athletes are engaging to solve racism is by sponsoring their children to study in good schools and enroll in good sports programs as a way of building stepping stones for the coming generations (Blake 136).

When individuals from the minority groups ascend into higher positions such as owners, managers, or coaches, they facilitate the integration of people of diverse racial backgrounds into sports, hence fighting against racism in sports (Moore). The Rooney Rule is one example of integration where teams are required to interview the minority to take the positions of senior football operations and coaching in the National Football League. Following the Rooney rule, some soccer leagues have gone into establishing their form of the rule for management. Some leagues like the NBA have established a way of honoring or supporting an individual or a group of people like Black History Month (Hillstrom 95). The other effective way of solving the problem is when the managers use merit to pick players instead of their skin color (Hillstrom 106).

Many organizations have come out to help athletes take a stand and to offer solutions to the issue of racism in sports. One of the best examples of such organizations is the Jackie Robinson Foundation. This organization assists minority players to participate in sports (Hillstrom 96). RISE is another example of an organization that is committed to fighting racism in sports. It is a program that allows athletes to rise and foster good relations between races for people that are in a way participating in sports. RISE aims to train its students on implicit bias, and the role that race has in society while focusing on teamwork and leadership. Also, this program works closely with professional athletes that are already engaged in the fight against racism and that are crying for equality. These professional athletes are great inspirations to RISE students (Blake 158).

In terms of race and equality, a lot needs to be addressed in the field of sports. Many athletes have stepped up and broken barriers against racial discrimination and have been registered great success in the matter. Also, many steps have been taken to address these issues of racial discrimination in sports. Although the problem is yet to be fully fixed, a lot of progress has been made. Therefore, it is time that skin color or racial identity is not the factor that is used to discriminate against players, but everyone should be treated equally.

Works Cited

  1. Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: what sports have taught me about race in America. Guardian News and Media, 28 Aug. 2018, www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/aug/28/notes-from-an-ungrateful-athlete-why-race-and-sports-matter-in-America.
  2. Cook, Bob. What’s Behind All The Racism At Youth Sports Events? Forbes Media LLC, www.forbes.com/sites/bobcook/2018/02/09/whats-behind-all-the-racism-at-youth-sports-events/#2afc2462b85d. Accessed 9 Feb. 2018.
  3. Lapchick, Richard. Once again, racist acts in sports are on the rise. ESPN, 3 Jan. 2019, www.espn.com/espn/story/_/id/25675586/racism-sports-continued-rear-ugly-head-2018.
  4. Lawrence, Andrew. How the ‘natural talent’ myth is used as a weapon against black athletes. Guardian News and Media, 2 Oct. 2018, www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/oct/02/athletes-racism-language-sports-cam-newton.
  5. Moore, Jack, and Daniel Levitt. The NFL’s Rooney Rule: why football’s racial divide is larger than ever. Guardian News and Media, 19 Sept. 2018, www.theguardian.com/sport/ng-interactive/2018/sep/19/nfl-Rooney-rule-coaching-statistics.
  6. Tynes, Tyler. LeBron James and the impossible task of the black athlete escaping racism. Vox Media, 1 June 2017, www.sbnation.com/2017/6/1/15721742/lebron-James-racism-vandalized-cavaliers-Los-Angeles.
  7. Blake, James. Ways of Grace. Edited by Carol Taylor, HarperCollins Publishers, 2017.
  8. Hillstrom, Laurie Collier. Defining Moments Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball. Omnigraphics, 2013.
  9. Merlino, Doug. ‘Black Seattle/White Seattle.’ The Hustle, Bloomsbury USA, 2011, p. 13.
  10. Watkins, Christine, editor. ‘Title IX is unfair to men’s sports.’ Sports and Athletes, Greenhaven Press, 2009, p. 139.
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Racism in Sports Essay. (2021, Jun 16). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/racism-in-sports-essay/