Racists Hate the Idea of Paying College Athletes

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Well, I’ll be damned:

Could racial prejudice also affect attitudes toward paying college athletes? There are good reasons to believe that it could.

….To find out whether racial prejudice influences white opinion on paying college athletes, we conducted a survey of opinions on “pay for play” policies using the 2014 CCES. In a statistical analysis that controlled for a host of other influences, we found this: Negative racial views about blacks were the single most important predictor of white opposition to paying college athletes.

….To check our findings’ validity, we also conducted an experiment. Before we asked white respondents whether college athletes should be paid, we showed one group pictures of young black men with stereotypical African American first and last names. We showed another group no pictures at all. As you can see in the figure [on the right], whites who were primed by seeing pictures of young black men were significantly more likely to say they opposed paying college athletes. Support dropped most dramatically among whites who expressed the most resent towards blacks as a group.

Apparently this gap is also visible in ordinary poll results: “In every survey to date, blacks are far more likely to support paying college athletes when compared to whites. For instance, in the 2014 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, 53 percent of African Americans backed paying college athletes–more than doubling the support expressed by whites (22 percent).”

I’m basically willing to believe that race and racial animus permeate practically everything of significance in America. But I wouldn’t have guessed this. I’m not sure why, but it just never occurred to me to think of big-time college sports as a “black thing,” even though it obviously is. It just goes to show how deeply our racial sickness infests us.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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