Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Race and Sports

ESPN poll shows race plays a role in perception of Bonds

Blacks are nearly twice as likely to think Bonds has been treated unfairly (46 percent to 25 percent). Why? The survey found that 41 percent of black fans think this is due to the steroids issue, 25 percent think it's because of his race, and 21 percent blame Bonds' personality.

For whites who think Bonds has been treated unfairly, 66 percent blame steroids. Virtually none blame race.

Older blacks (50 and over) are less likely to think Bonds took steroids (29 percent) than younger blacks (44 percent). There is no age difference among whites.

A majority of fans -- 58 percent -- think Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame. That's 10 points higher than a similar poll conducted last summer. Among blacks, 85 percent think Bonds belongs in Cooperstown, compared to 53 percent of whites. Also, 78 percent of blacks think Bonds should be recognized as the home run leader, compared to 53 percent of whites.

Study of N.B.A. Sees Racial Bias in Calling Fouls

A coming paper by a University of Pennsylvania professor and a Cornell University graduate student says that, during the 13 seasons from 1991 through 2004, white referees called fouls at a greater rate against black players than against white players.

Justin Wolfers, an assistant professor of business and public policy at the Wharton School, and Joseph Price, a Cornell graduate student in economics, found a corresponding bias in which black officials called fouls more frequently against white players, though that tendency was not as strong. They went on to claim that the different rates at which fouls are called “is large enough that the probability of a team winning is noticeably affected by the racial composition of the refereeing crew assigned to the game.”


But they said they continued to find the same phenomenon: that players who were similar in all ways except skin color drew foul calls at a rate difference of up to 4 1⁄2 percent depending on the racial composition of an N.B.A. game’s three-person referee crew.

Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and a vocal critic of his league’s officiating, said in a telephone interview after reading the paper: “We’re all human. We all have our own prejudice. That’s the point of doing statistical analysis. It bears it out in this application, as in a thousand others.”