The purpose of this exploratory study was to ascertain the feelings of black male intercollegiate (Division I) football athletes about racial issues of personal concern as a sport participant. Twenty-six black football players volunteered to participate in the study. Through a structured interview technique, areas that were investigated included the players’ interaction with the (white) head coach, unique behavioral styles and needs of black versus white athletes, the extent to which these needs were recognized and met, and the effect of their sport environment on skilled performance. The subjects reported a general lack of sensitivity on the part of coaches to individual and sociocultural needs of black players. In particular, receiving negative feedback, a paucity of communication in general, and the lack of honesty and trust were the areas about which the subjects felt most strongly. Blacks unequivocally perceived a sense of unfairness, racism, and a general lack of psychological support by white coaches. Implications are given for providing sport psychology counseling to black athletes, especially by white consultants.
Mark H. Anshel is with the Department of Human Movement Science at the University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2500 Australia.