Skip to main content

What Does Race Matter in Sports?

I am a professional teacher, writer, researcher, and learner. I always try to learn because there is no age for learning.

What Does Race Matter In Sports?

Does race matter in sports? Some people would say yes, others would say no. Does it make that much of a difference? It might make more of a difference than we think. Sports are supposed to be fun, but there is also supposed to be an element of fair play and equality in them. That balance can get skewed if one group is at an advantage over another because of their ethnicity or skin color. Should sports be colorblind?

Diverse Women

Why Does It Matter?

The question of race in sports may be a divisive one, but it’s an important one nonetheless. The answer to does race matters in sports can reveal a lot about our values and outlook on life. It helps us better understand both ourselves and others, and more importantly, how we interact with each other. The notion that anyone can be anything they want to be is cliché, but what if people in professional sports don’t get to decide their fate on their own? What would it say about our society if black athletes were held back by social constructs? That brings us back to our original question: does race matter in sports?

Teams That Exemplify Cultural Diversity

Celtics, Lakers, Mavericks, Trailblazers. It is a known fact that athletes of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds have thrived in some cities more than others. This makes sense if you look at where many players come from before they get to college. If an athlete is from Chicago or Los Angeles, he may be more suited for those cities’ teams. Here are some characteristics that exemplify diversity: player number, size (height), position played, and skin color (aka ethnicity). For example, Dennis Rodman was 6-7 inches tall and was quite possibly one of the best rebounders ever.

People`s Hands

Scroll to Continue

The Social Side Of Team Names

Some sports teams were named as long ago as 1903, some as recently as a few years ago. And while some teams have adapted their names to be more inclusive (like Tennessee's Indians), others are still using their founding names today despite pushback from fans and critics alike. So why do we still have such racially insensitive team names around today? The first reason is cultural: While much of America has become more progressive, it can be easy for people to forget that not everyone else in America shares those views. For instance, 82% of Native Americans believe team names like Redskins are offensive—but 59% of whites disagree. It’s a wide gulf of perspective that cannot be overcome with simple logic or reasoning.

You Can Not Please Everyone

For better or worse, fans tend to develop us against them mentality when it comes to their favorite teams. With that mentality, fans expect one type of player for their position or sport; if that doesn’t happen, they get upset and want a different player. Unfortunately for athletes and coaches, you can’t please everyone—but you need to try. Fans don’t care about how many hours you spend in training or how hard it is getting up at 5 am every day; they just want someone who embodies everything they believe a real [insert position] player should be.

Hands Black and White

Should Sports Teams Be Renamed Based On Their Histories Alone?

This is an interesting debate that shows just how divided our country has become. Should sports teams be renamed based on their histories alone, or are we supposed to keep past names because of cultural norms and traditions? Is changing a team name considered political correctness at its worst, or is it necessary if you truly want to make strides toward equality in sports? These are tough questions with few easy answers; however, asking these types of difficult questions is what will ultimately lead us toward a more inclusive future.

Racial Sensitivity Is Not Necessary In Sports. And Here’s Why...

One of my favorite quotes regarding sports was from former heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman, who said, Somebody, hits you. You get up. That’s sportsmanship. To be clear, he wasn’t taking a stance on how to deal with racial incidents in sports – he was simply pointing out that you don’t need to resort to meanness or anger if someone attacks you physically. I agree wholeheartedly and think it applies to all aspects of life, not just athletics: It is what it is.

We All Agree What Is Offensive? So, Stop Being So Sensitive.

Do you know what’s offensive? Talking about race—or any subject involving culture or ethnicity—in a way that offends people. Unless you’re using racist, hurtful language, it’s not offensive. Period. You can learn to talk about race and culture with sensitivity, but we start by insisting on respect for our right to talk openly without being pigeonholed as too sensitive. There is no such thing as being too sensitive.

Why Are People Angry about The Redman Name Change Anyway?

Well, to begin with, it matters because it's a race issue. The Redman name is historically tied to Aboriginal people (specifically in Canada) and by making a change, you're essentially erasing that history. Beyond that, though, some believe it has more to do with how society views racism than anything else. There's always been a perception among many Caucasians that they are not racist—they don't have any ill will towards Aboriginals so there's no reason why they should feel uncomfortable at sporting events or while watching TV or movies. Just because you don't mean something racist doesn't mean it isn't - if you've never felt offended by something that doesn't mean that you aren't participating in harmful behavior.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Ghulam Nabi Memon

Related Articles