By MICHAEL BAYERS and JEFFREY HENSLEY | Sports IllustratedThe players are not the only ones who are the racists in sports.
A new study by a University of Maryland research group that looked at players’ attitudes toward people of other races, found that the most racially biased team in the National Football League is not the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, finds that only 11% of NFL players think white people are “very” or “somewhat” racist, compared with 54% of those who identify as black, Latino, Asian or Native American.
Only 22% of the white players believe “black people are extremely or very racist.”
The study also found that whites are significantly more likely to be offended by racial slurs than they are to be bothered by racially insensitive gestures or behavior.
The players’ responses to racial slurs were not based on stereotypes, said co-author Christopher J. Green, associate professor of psychology at the University of Michigan.
They were not influenced by race.
“These are not people who have heard of race relations or the history of race,” Green said.
“These are just generalizations.
People are biased.”
The researchers also found players’ perception of race did not vary much among players.
They found that players who were black, white or Asian were more likely than white players to see themselves as “very racist.”
They also found blacks were more willing to accept racist statements than whites.
The researchers said their findings were important because “racism is pervasive in sports, from baseball to football, and we think it can have significant consequences for racial minority groups.”
Green said the findings raise important questions about how sports should address racism.
“I think it is important that athletes who play the game of sports be prepared to confront racism, and athletes should be aware of how racism is perceived,” Green added.
“If they see themselves to be racist, they’re going to be more likely not to do the right thing.”
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MikeSnider.