soccer

English TV commentary across soccer leagues shows racial bias, study claims

11 Comments

Television commentators praise players with lighter skin as more intelligent and hardworking than those with darker skin, showed a study by Danish firm RunRepeat in association with the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA).

The study analyzed 2,073 statements from English-speaking commentators in 80 games from the 2019-20 season across Italy's Serie A, France's Ligue 1, Spain's La Liga and England's Premier League. A total of 643 players of various races and skin tones were discussed.

Analysis revealed that players with darker skin tones were "significantly more likely" to be reduced to their physical characteristics or athletic abilities like pace and power.

Around 62% of praise was aimed at players with lighter skin while 63.33% of criticism was aimed at those with darker skin.

"To address the real impact of structural racism, we have to acknowledge and address racial bias. This study shows an evident bias in how we describe the attributes of footballers based on their skin color," PFA Equalities Executive Jason Lee said.

"Commentators help shape the perception we hold of each player, deepening any racial bias already held by the viewer. It's important to consider how far-reaching those perceptions can be and how they impact footballers even once they finish their playing career.

"If a player has aspirations of becoming a coach/manager, is an unfair advantage given to players that commentators regularly refer to as intelligent and industrious, when those views appear to be a result of racial bias?"

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

11 Comments
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If there was no bias in commentary, the distribution of comments towards players of different skin colors would be similar.

That is a flawed hypothesis. Has the level of formal education been correlated with this study? Looking at just 1 parameter (positive or negative comment) seems extremely simplistic.

In numbers:

When commentators talk about intelligence:

62.60% of praise was aimed at players with lighter skin tone

63.33% of criticism was aimed at players with darker skin tone

When commentators are talking about power they are 6.59 times more likely to be talking about a player with darker skin tone

When commentators are talking about speed they are 3.38 times more likely to be talking about a player with darker skin tone

When commentators talk about work ethic, 60.40% of praise is aimed at players with lighter skin tone

https://runrepeat.com/racial-bias-study-soccer

They used the term "African Americans" as though every person with dark skin has lived in America. Seems offensive to me.

*“Portraying African Americans as naturally athletic or endowed with God-given athleticism exacerbates the stereotype by creating the impression of a lazy athlete, one who does not have to work at his craft.”*

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Television commentators praise players with lighter skin as more intelligent and hardworking than those with darker skin, showed a study by Danish firm RunRepeat in association with the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA).

Hardly anything new and it cuts across all levels of society. I could have told them that years ago and they could have just sent me the money they wasted on the study.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Oh enough with this nonsense already.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

I wonder if their data would be replicated if they repeated the study across all leagues and in all commentary languages.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So is it racist now to point out that African heritage athletes dominate the Olympic 100M.? If an African-American or Jamaican wins the Olympic 100M then commentators should say how intelligently they ran.?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Megastupid study. "This study shows an evident bias in how we describe the attributes of footballers based on their skin color." The bias comes from the people doing the study and praising it. It doesn't attempt to juxtapose the qualities of the players with the comments. What adjectives would people use describing, for example, Didier Drogba and Teddy Sheringham. Both great players, but they have different qualities. I suppose we're suddenly going to find out that Adama Traore is a genius and Shunsuke Nakamura is an athletic hunk.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

So is it racist now to point out that African heritage athletes dominate the Olympic 100M.?

Yes, it is. That's why we need affirmative action programs that set quotas to ensure that a minimum number of runners at official events are white and East Asian.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

They used the term "African Americans" as though every person with dark skin has lived in America.

I think that quote was from a different study that looked at American sports players. - Rada & Wulfemeyer (2005) - Color-Coded: Racial Descriptors in Television Coverage of Intercollegiate Sports

So is it racist now to point out that African heritage athletes dominate the Olympic 100M.?

Possibly. If you said west-African heritage dominates the 100m but east-African heritage dominates long distance events, it would probably indicate that race is not the distinguishing factor so much as nationality (i.e. physical traits are derived more from locality than race - for example, the average height of Swedish males is 181 cm whereas the average height of Scottish males is 175 cm ).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Black footballer Jack Leslie.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes, it is. That's why we need affirmative action programs that set quotas to ensure that a minimum number of runners at official events are white and East Asian.

I know you are being facetious but still, it is extremely weak. Sports are about the only place where there is a level playing field SOMETIMES. Either way, you forgot about South Asian, Pacific Islanders and South American, among others. If you are going to talk about quotas, give them to everyone. Some people had privilege for years but act like they did everything of their own merit and I call b*ll.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do people get paid to fret over this twaddle?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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