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Earl Smith

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Earl Smith and Angela Hattery

There have been many discussions about diversity and the value that it brings to the workplace (Ely & Thomas, 2001). Although sport has been deemed a model of diversity, where people of different races and ethnicities comingle as participants and spectators, there is a serious disconnect between perceptions of this diversity and the reality that defines the lack of racial diversity in the management (i.e., coaching and leadership) of sport. The purpose of this essay is to provide an exploration and analysis of the varied ways in which race may influence sport management experiences and opportunities. We frame this analysis through race relation theory, symbolic racism theory, social distance theory, and the concepts of segregation and power. The inferences and implications of our essay are centered on the undercurrent of the status of African American men in sport leadership, who are severely under-represented despite their prominent contribution to the financial vitality of the sport industry as players. The essay concludes with several policies and practices for improving racial diversity in sport management.

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Bonnie Berry and Earl Smith

Criminological literature and statistics show that African Americans are comparatively overrepresented in the United States criminal justice system. This study explores whether African American athletes are similarly overrepresented as criminally involved sports figures. Data abundantly illustrate that African Americans fare worse in all phases of criminal justice compared to whites. It has been speculated that African Americans, perhaps due to cultural influences or blocked opportunities, do commit more crime than other racial categories. There is equally strong reason to believe that the representation of African Americans in the criminal justice system is largely a result of racial bias on the part of social control agencies. Crime among athletes, regardless of race, can be explained through social forces, such as collective behavior, organizational influences, and social process. We conclude that African American athletes are socially expected to be engaged in crime and suggest a new approach to this area of study.

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Earl Smith and Angela J. Hattery

P Diddy’s Bad Boy for Life video provides a strategic point of departure in the quest for values and community, sui generis, in SportsWorld. This study poses an interruption to the “ideological” articulations of discourse on the relationship between hip-hop music and sports by providing an examination of empirical and scientific data inside of SportsWorld. There is a carefully crafted narrative about the coexistence among Black American athletes, SportsWorld, and hip-hop music. From the beginning of Black athletes’ entry into the White spaces of the so-called level playing field of sports—from National Association of Stock Car Racing to the National Hockey Association to Major League Baseball to National Basketball Association—this integration upsets the norms of both civility and history; because for many in White America, the belief persists that these same athletes were not then and should not be today in those sacred spaces. From Jackie Robinson to the Williams Sisters to Jack Johnson to Tiger Woods to Althea Gibson to Fritz Pollard and, of course, Muhammad Ali—all of these pioneers suffered the indignities of racial discrimination. As Smith argues in his 2014 book Race, Sport and the American Dream, fast forward, deep inside the second aught of the 21st century, it is often assumed that the addition of hip-hop music to the pregame and half-time entertainment at ballparks, basketball arenas, stadiums, and ice hockey arenas signals a welcoming to the Black Athlete and their fans. Using a Marxian lens, this study argues that both these assumptions are no more than the ideology of beliefs that Marx describes as “fantasies and illusions” or more straightforward a “phantasmagoria.” These fantasies and illusions show up as a laterna magica projecting images on society and in SportsWorld, where these can be described as commodity fetishism. Through the authors' empirical analysis of data on segregation and integration in SportsWorld, they demonstrate that things are not always as they seem.

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Benita Heiskanen, C. Richard King, Randy LaGrange, Rita Liberti, Erkki Vettenniemi and Earl Smith