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Systemic bias against the Black quarterbacks and Unconscious Bias in the NFL

Updated: Jun 30

Picture above is Quarterback Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs


Many of my friends believe they are not racist, that racism does not exist or that slavery ended long before they were born and are not complicit in any biases towards African Americans (pick your dimension of diversity). I think that is untrue and am making my case by holding up the National Football League and National Basketball League as an examples of organizations that propagates racism and is unconscious to its systemic biases.

Justice did justice to citing several examples of documented racism and unconscious bias. This week Justice (@JmoryND) interviewed Elisha Guidry, defensive back for the UCLA Bruins. He also cited Warren Moon, the only Black quarterback in the NFL Hall of Fame, Mel Kiper Jr., an NFL Draft “expert and others who confirm there is unfair and worse treatment of black quarterbacks vs. white. I am sharing a link to the article and my thoughts.

Interview between Justice and Elisha

"Over time, explicit racial discrimination has become less prominent in the NFL, yet stereotypes

remain." Warren Moon

"Mel Kiper Jr., an NFL Draft “expert,” had this to say about Black quarterback Lamar Jackson

entering the 2018 NFL Draft: “It’s the accuracy throwing the football. Finished career around 57

percent.” But in the same draft coverage cycle said this about white quarterback Josh Allen’s

56.2% completion percentage, “Stats are for losers in my opinion. The guy won.”

Clearly unconscious bias is at play in the NBA as well. A study done by Joseph Price and Justice Wolfers in 2010 showed that Fouls called on NBA basketball players were biased based on the color of the player and referee’s skin.

Racial Discrimination NBA
Download PDF • 524KB

The evidence is clear. Professional sports are one of the most popular forms of entertainment and profitable businesses in America. They impact tens of thousands of people aside from those who directly work in the industry. From young boys working hard to become professional players to the taxpayers who fund stadiums. This industry MUST be forced to take a look at their employment practices and have them be equal to if not better than those applied to other American workers. The writers and pundits must also be held to account. It is time for them to raise their level of awareness about the impact of what they write on people of color and other dimensions of diversity.

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