Quote:Of course, the percentage of African American athletes in the NFL and NBA does seem too large to be explained by economics. However, maybe it's a case of a self-perpetuating myth. If we all believe that African Americans are genetically better suited for football and basketball, we might be funneling to kids towards those sports rather than others. And if we all believe that African Americans are better at sports than academics, we could be encouraging them to play sports more than we are to pursue academic interests. I would also say that these days, African American boys are going to be more interested in the NFL or NBA because so many of the players look like them.
Quote:But how did we get here? I'm just going to throw this out there because I don't have the data to confirm it. Maybe it is an economic issue. Let's not forget that sports haven't always been very lucrative for athletes. It's possible in the 1960s & 1970s, fledgling sports leagues like the AFL and the ABA had to fill their rosters with cheaper African American athletes in order to compete with the more established NFL and NBA. Then the mergers of these leagues might have created a situation where African Americans were overly represented. After that, it could have continued as owners tried to maximize their profits. But like I said, I don't know if this is true, it's just a theory. It could be completely baseless, but I would be curious to know if anyone had tried to look into it.
That's a very interesting observation. Thanks for sharing your perspective and I think the notion of a perpetuated myth fueling at least a portion of the observable discrepancies could have merit.
Even those this issue can be sticky and a lot of people want to walk on eggshells, bringing it up really does help build some understanding and offer new ideas.
Happy to help. I also think it's important that we keep things in perspective. When we're talking about African Americans in the NFL and NBA, we're talking about something like 0.0001% of the African American male population in the US. Even when you add in former players, how many people are we talking about? It's dangerous to use this small sample size to suggest any generalization about African Americans.