The Unequal Opportunity for Equal Ability Hypothesis: Racism in the National Football League?

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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This paper examines race equality within the labor market of professional football, specifically addressing the issue of whether NFL team management discriminates against marginal nonwhite players. To examine this, we compared the racial proportions of “protected” players to proportions of players designated as “Plan B” free agents. We considered Plan B players as “marginals” from management’s viewpoint. Our hypothesis that these athletes would be disproportionately white was confirmed. Reasons for the statistically significant differences in the racial proportions are discussed.

Paul Kooistra and Lisha Bridges are with the Sociology Department, Furman University, Greenville, SC 29613. John S. Mahoney is with the Sociology Department, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23284.

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