Research Paper: Racial bias in professional sports, why is it significant, what are the implications?


6-8 pages

  • ? Typed, double spaced, 12-point Times New Roman or similar font
  • ? 1-inch margins, page numbers
  • ? Unique title, header, MLA Citations

Research problem:

Although professional athletes receive recognition for their input on social movements and ability to perform during sporting events, the opportunity to earn recognition is not equal and has racial biases.

Blackistone, Keven.“Across The Nation, NFL Teams Take A Knee In Protest Of President’s Comments.” All Things Considered,

Considering the publicity nationwide Collin Kaepernick received for taking a knee during the national anthem at a professional football game, I think this article can supplement as one of the many case studies or interviews about the topic. Blackistone touches on a few subjects such as the president’s involvement and the premature ending of a career of an accomplished NFL quarterback. Use this towards the end.

Brown, Eleanor, et al. “Wage and Nonwage Discrimination in Professional Basketball: Do Fans Affect It?” American Journal of Economics & Sociology, 1991.

This study shows consumers in metropolitan areas preference of white players over black players in the NBA. The result of this preference is higher salaries for white players that are of equal talent or skill level to their counterpart black players. This continues the idea of opportunity loss of athletes based on the color of their skin. Economically, players of white skin have advantages in terms of potential career earnings based off salary and media visibility.

Chung, Nicole. “Magic Can Be Normal.” Hazlift,

Supporting the idea of pushing cultures and lifestyles on to children this article reflects how kids will do things without really understanding the implications of them. Taking a child to a theatre to see a Shakespeare play may just seem like entertainment but actually it’s a construction of underlying interpretations that conveys a message to its audience. Same as when athletes wear certain gear, or take a knee to send a message. The influence of these things starts at an early age.

Coates, Dennis C. “Weaponization of Sports The Battle for World Influence through Sporting Success.”Independent Review, 2017.

This article supports the idea of athletes having major influence within their perspective countries. Whether its post-World War II or current day athletes will always have a spotlight on them that reaches out to millions through different medias. When countries use sports teams to showcase superiority over other nations, they also reflect their culture. If the United States has discrimination in who the representing athletes are, then that is just a scale of a larger issue nationwide.


If studies show teams earn more revenue by playing white players then that may have a relationship with who the owner of these teams want on their team and how much they play. The most basic principles of a firm are to increase shareholder wealth while maintaining corporate social responsibility. The implications of discriminating players to maximize profit are in different conflict with being socially responsible. This raises the question on whether owners influence general managers and coaches to play white players to increase revenue.

Kerr, Ian B. “The Myth of Racial Superiority in Sports.” Western Michigan University, vol. 4, issue 1, 2019.

I would use this article as a cross reference between analyzing the privileges white athletes have over black or Hispanic athletes. Even if everyone’s on the same platform and there’s no inherit genetic advantages between races, white athletes still have more opportunity for financial gain, this may derive from the idea white athletes are the minority in majority of professional sports.

Van Scyoc, L.J. and N.J. Burnett. “How times have changed: racial discrimination in the market for sports memorabilia (baseball cards).” Applied Economics Letters, 2013.

Considering how hard it is to quantify racial discrimination in sports, I find the analysis from this article to bring a different perspective of how race impacts athletes financially. Since color barriers existed prior to integrated profession sports leagues, it’s tough to determine the effect of team revenue and ticket sales from the integration of colored athletes. This article helps demonstrate normal profits, or opportunity total implicit cost, between baseball cards with black athletes on them in comparison to white athletes on them. From this analysis, you can draw conclusions on whether or not athletes would miss out on better income based on the color of their skin.

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