Discrimination And Racism In Sports Websters dictionary defines discrimination as a social, economical, political or legal distinction made between individuals or groups such that one has the power to treat the other unfavorably. Discrimination can also be defined as the act or policy of treating someone differently, setting them apart or denying them rights because they are different from the majority. Discrimination may be based on the grounds of one or more of the differences of nationality, religion, politics, culture, class, sex, age and colour. Discrimination of colour is known as racism. Discrimination and racism are present in all societies worldwide. Discrimination exists in different capabilities such as school, work, and in the home. Much of the hate is expressed through the media as well. In sports, discrimination against those of colour, homosexuals, and women will always be an ever-lasting presence.
Sports have always been an arena for criticism, hatred and discrimination of certain groups or individuals. In actuality, racism and other forms of discrimination, within the microcosm of sport, will forever be a reality. The fight against racism goes back into the years past slavery. During that time, it was mainly white people versus black people. Today, in this multicultural society there are many minority groups feeling the squeeze of being born non-white. Along with the racism come the stereotypes.
For example, the notion that black athletes are the most talented at basketball, because they can all jump very high, or that males are better then females (in sports), and the assumption that females in sports are not feminine. It is wrong to make such generalizations. However there is a little that can be done to change this frame of mind symbolic of society as a whole. The argument that black people are the best basketball players is very strong for many reasons. The first argument being that, almost 80% of the athletes in the National Basketball Association are of African-American descent.
Arguably the greatest player in the history of the game, Michael Jordan, is a black person. If an athlete from a minority group can excel in a sport he/she is recognized for his/her skill as much as his/her skin colour. The media plays a big role in the issue as the influencing body of how society must think. Since the release of the 1992 film, White Men Cant Jump, there has always been the hype and jokes made about a white persons inferiority in terms if skill and talent compared o that of a black person. In the movie, Wesley Snipes, a black athlete, says to Woody Harrelson, a white athlete having trouble completing a slam dunk, White men cant jump! The catch phrase has never died out.
People will always segregate athletes by their skin colour on the basis of their skills. There are always individuals trying to gain recognition for their talents rather then race. For example, people always refer to Tiger Woods as a black golfer or the greatest black golfer. A passage from TIGER WOODS: The making of a Champion, clearly illiterates this statement. But he resists being typecast as a racial pioneer.
I dont want to be the best black golfer on the tour, Tiger says. I want to be the best golfer on the tour.(Pg 8) There are clear examples of white athletes making racial remarks in pro golf. Golfer, Fuzzy Zoeller made a stereotypical wise crack about Tiger Woods saying that Tiger should go home and eat fried chicken and collared greens after the young golf prodigy played a phenomenal round of golf back in 1998. This remark was senseless and unnecessary. It sparked controversy leaving bad taste in the mouths of many. No athlete deserves a preferred treatment on the basis of skin colour.
The infamous John Rocker, In a Sports Illustrated interview, he made some very disturbing comments about various minority groups and New Yorkers. On the city specifically, Rocker had this to say: The biggest thin I dont like about New York are the foreigners. Im not a very nig fan of foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?.
Rockers mindset is another example of all that is wrong with discriminating against people. As a result of this and many other remarks, he has become hated worldwide (ie. www.rockersucks.com) and he has tarnished the fairly clean reputation of Major League Baseball. The thought of his comments influencing others is a dangerous reality. Through media and family influences , racism in sports is an ever-lasting reality and reflects society. Ignorance is the lifeblood of a homophobic individual or group.
Homosexuality to and outside is an unknown and unconquered place. The absence of knowledge and experience is a fear to man. Unfortunately, part of society is stubborn and ignorant to the acceptance of homosexuality. This is even more so in the world of sports. IN fact, using the words homosexuals and sports in the same sentence brought about laughter, disbelief or even anger. The author of Gays and Lesbians and Sports was laughed at by his friends at the thought of the book.
Im sorry, they would say, but its just the thought of those two-gays and football players. It is funny. (pg 13) Not enough people take gay and lesbian athletes seriously. Once out of the closet their superior talent and skill becomes meaningless. As well, the athlete becomes prone to criticism , ridicule and cruel jokes. During the Howard Stern radio show, Howard made a joke about lesbian tennis star, Martina Navritilova stepping out of retirement and back onto the Professional Tennis Tour.
He says, She is going back to tennis because its still the best place to pick up chicks. These crude and rude comments by members in the media are a reminder of the negativity in society. It is a reflection of peoples ignorance, stubbornness and hatred for others. And then there is John Rocker again. In comments made about playing for a New York team he says, Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpart, looking like youre [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queeer w …