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Sports Economics Uncut

Brian Goff

“Sport has the power to change the world.” Sports Economics Uncut expresses this insight from Nelson Mandela, exploring sports as a fascinating mirror of the world and a powerful agent of change. In it, Brian Goff covers subjects ranging from the ebb and flow of racial discrimination, to inequality, law enforcement, managers and risky decisions, club membership, and politics. Much more than merely a review or synthesis, this book extends existing perspectives and explores provocative questions such as: how systematic is racial bias in pro sports today? Is all racial segregation in sports due to racial bias? How much are college athletes really worth, and is league parity really optimal? 
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Chapter 3: The road from Robinson to Kaepernick

Brian Goff

Extract

In 1947 Jackie Robinson broke down a barrier for black baseball players, demolishing a symbol of a segregated society. At the 1968 Olympics, two African American athletes protested racial injustice during the national anthem. Another 40 years later, Colin Kaepernick imitated their protests. Chapter 3 examines the evolution of racial bias in sports and how it both reflected and led to larger societal patterns. It begins with evidence from the explicit barriers in the 1940s, proceeds to more subtle expressions in salaries and playing time, and moves on to evaluate more recent studies of NFL and MLB officiating, utilizing millions of data points. The chapter also looks beyond bias to other factors that produce race-related, but not biased-induced, outcomes. It ends with the question of why feelings are so raw regarding racial issues when so much of the measurable evidence has gone from obvious to microscopic.

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