Racism in Sports

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GOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLL, is something you are most likely to hear every time Thierry Henry takes a shot. Thierry Henry plays professional soccer for Arsenal Football Club in England and he is also part of the French national team. Thierry is of African descent and is considered the most feared striker in today's football world which is highlighted by his fascinating goal scoring ability. Although he is loved by the majority of people in France and supporters of Arsenal in England, there are still people who dismiss what he achieves as an athlete and only judge him by his skin color. His experience is only one brief example of racism in sports. In this paper, racism in five different sports will be discussed: Basketball, Baseball, Boxing, Golfing, and Soccer. Even though there is a significant amount of talented black athletes in today's professional sports market, these players are still subject to racial prejudice from their teammates, coaches, and fans. As March madness (College Basketball Tournament) fades into memory and one reflects on the tournament, one is certain that it was an exciting event to watch. Taken from the Article "Basketball and Racism," it is evident that it is utterly dominated by black athletes. (Dan K. Thomasson) It is fascinating how much college basketball has diversified. As an article by Dan K. Thomasson stated "not too long ago the presence of bare limbed young Negroes on the basketball court, especially in college game, was considered a racial affront." Black athletes have become an important part of the present March madness as opposed to the past. In fact, according to the article "Basketball and Racism," there was an unwritten agreement in the major American conference, the Big Ten, banned blacks from playing on the teams of these large Midwest Universities. The denial of rights by these schools sent a message to the smaller conferences in the rest of the U.S. That unwritten agreement stopped thousands of African-American athletes from playing college basketball.

At that time things did not look good for the future of young black athletes. A talented black athlete named William Leon Garrett changed the bleak future outlook for young black athletes. He was a 6 foot 3 inch player teammates called "Bones." During the 1948-1949 season he trotted onto the floor of Indiana University to break the color line in the Big Ten and change the trend of major college basketball forever. Garrett was able to break the trend by proving to the coaches that his talents on the basketball court mattered more than what the exterior of his skin looked like. His career at IU was a successful one. In fact, the final season at Indiana University he was given a twelve minute standing ovation for his contribution by 11,000 fans. With him at the center position IU only lost three games that season and was ranked sixth in the nation. The following year there were six black athletes in the Big Ten and the person that contributed to that movement is William Leon Garrett. Nevertheless, besides basketball other sports have also had their history of racial prejudice.

Baseball, even though it is Americas favorite past time has also had its racial battles. There were many black baseball players throughout the 1800s. Memorable black amateur teams, such as the Philadelphia Pythons, had formed in the 1860s. However, they were instantly rejected by the National Base Ball Players, which was the first organized league in the United States. In 1885, the first all-black professional team, the Cuban Giants, was arranged by Frank P. Thompson. White teams refused to play the Giants and other black teams, because of the fear of getting beat by colored men. There were some baseball managers and owners attempted to hire African Americans by describing the players as Hispanic or Native American. When Baltimore Orioles manager John J. McGraw strived to break the color barrier by trying to sign...
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