Valerie A. Taşıran
Racism in Sports
In the modernized and global world of today, it is necessary for people to get rid of their prejudices and learn to respect differences. Racism should be eliminated from all areas of life, including sports. Sport is meant that bring people from different backgrounds together to compete in equal conditions and provide interactions among them. No matter which country and ethnicity an athlete is from, once they are in an international competition, all should have equal rights. The only factor should be their skills and success. However, there are many cases when sportsmen or sportswomen face prejudices because of their ethnicity. There are even times when opportunities for them to choose their profession and become successful are limited because of their race. Although it is hard to prove acts of racism in sports, athletes show their reaction by letting authorities know about it, or talking to the press about the discrimination they face. The aim of sports should be providing equal opportunities for everyone and a peaceful atmosphere where people cooperate and compete at the same time. It should not give unequal rights and opportunities to a group because of their race while disregarding and discriminating another group. In this paper, the aim is to examine the issue of racism in sports and prove that it is in damaging levels for sportsmen that face it. First, historical facts and general information will be given about the effects of discrimination in sports. Then, cases of racism in sports will be analyzed by related examples. Finally, it will be concluded that authorities are not successful in eliminating racism in sports and this damages careers of athletes and players who face it. Some of the people who make racist movements are sport fans. Club owners see them as a source of income. If they punish these fans they will earn less money then before. Because of that they are afraid of punishing them. The sport players and athletes, who face to racism in the sport areas, lost their interest to sport. Some of them cannot carry this pressure and had to retire earlier.
Racism has always been a controversial issue throughout the history. Many arguments
have been made on the issue of racism and sport. Jarvie & Reid (1997) focus in their article
on the area of sport and racism. They claim that the “European intellectual constructions of
racism have often been applied in a devastating manner in the field of sport” (Jarvie & Reid,
1997, p.211). In the other words, racism that emerged in Europe is started to appear in the sport fields, too. So, the historical developments on discrimination have also affected sports. Jarvie & Reid (1997) further claim that discussions on racism lead to numerous racist beliefs about sporting skills of people. The early studies on racism between 1920s and 1960s in America paid attention to discrimination against black people. In South Africa, during 1948, apartheid had emerged. During the time, sport was seen as: “functionally supportive of and integral to a multi-racial South African society in which a plurality of groups competed within the framework of apartheid” (Jarvie & Reid, 1997, p.213). South Africa at that time had to be unfair, racist and ideological at the time because of the external pressures. This ideology regulated involvement in sport. It claimed that although sport has a kind of independence, it included “racial segregation and racial discrimination” (Jarvie & Reid, 1997, p.213). Writers in South Africa at that time believed that the racism in sports could be eliminated by external pressures. In 1960s and 1970s other efforts were made to explain race and race relations. One was the work of John Rex, who claimed that race relations caused different groups to be located in social stratification. For example, because of discrimination, blacks were put...