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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 6: Throwing bottles in Cleveland

Brian Goff


Sports fans take perceived injustices seriously, as the 2001 “Bottlegate” incident vividly illustrates. Cleveland Browns pelted the field with beer bottles after the outcome turned on a controversial use of video replay by the referee. Even without such violent reactions, fans, like citizens at large, frequently take an adversarial and even hostile view of officials. Chapter 6 examines the sources of hostility using cases like the 1985 World Series along with evidence from large systematic studies of factors weighing on officials in soccer, basketball, hockey, and football. It describes poor incentives and selection mechanisms for MLB umpires and NBA officials and the impact of video technology on improving policing. Players and coaches can strategically frustrate enforcement of new rules, as attempts to crackdown on bad behavior in the NBA and college basketball have shown.

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