According to some people, perhaps more wishfully than rationally, we’re living in “post-racial” time in which bigotry isn’t a problem anymore in the workplace or other areas of our society. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
Undoubtedly, racism is much more subtle today than it was during the heyday of the Ku Klux Klan but it still impacts hiring decisions, performance evaluations, and other workplace situations. A study of Major League Baseball games by Southern Methodist University (SMU) researchers provides quantifiable evidence of this.
The SMU study utilized the QuesTec computerized pitch-monitoring system to look at 3.5 million pitches from 2004 to 2008. A key finding was that home-plate umpires called disproportionately more strikes for pitchers in their same ethnic group. In short, white pitchers received the benefit of the doubt on close calls by white umpires while pitchers of color didn’t. Since the majority of Major League Baseball umpires are white, white pitchers have benefitted — and pitchers of color have been hurt — by this form of racial privilege.
The study revealed that while white pitchers could successfully nibble at the corners of the strike zone, “minority pitchers reacted to umpire bias by playing it safe with the pitches they threw in a way that actually harmed their performance and statistics,” according to the SMU research team.
It makes you appreciate just how dominating a pitcher Bob Gibson was ….
Of course, the SMU study has implications for our society beyond the world of sports. As David Sirota wrote while commenting on the the SMU study, “Though gleaned from baseball, these findings transcend athletics by providing a larger lesson about conditioned behavior in an institutionally racist society.” See “How Baseball Explains Modern Racism.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site. We discuss his experience at the MLB game at Field of Dreams; his thoughts on the appeal of the Field of Dreams, and baseball in general.
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Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
Episode #11 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Latest on Brain Trauma, Concussions and CTE with Dr. Chris Nowinski – Nowinski is CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO.
Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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