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In black and white : race and sports in America /

Main Author: Shropshire, Kenneth L.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : New York University Press, 1996
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Review by Choice Review

In this well-documented, compact work, Shropshire (Wharton School) not only details the omnipresence of racial bias in society but the "Old Boys" network in sports administration on the collegiate level on up to professional sports management including agents. The author includes an unusual number of endnotes to cite sources, and he makes excellent use of them to explain further many interesting and pertinent details of racial bigotry in sports. Throughout, the overt theme is that those in power, whites, and those outside the power structure, African Americans, must both make sacrifices in order to reach the desired goal of color-blindness. Social and financial values of diversity are presented in excellent fashion; legal avenues to change the look of professional and collegiate sports ownership and management are investigated, and voluntary plans for affirmative action as a route to diversity in sports management are reviewed in detail. Easily read and understood statistical tables illustrating the lack of minority leadership in sports. A valuable work. General; undergraduates through professionals. F. D. Handler St. Bonaventure University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In Black and White is both a metaphor for the racial divide between athletes and owners in professional sports and an apt description for the author's dry, statistical writing. Whites, not surprisingly, have a 95% ownership stake in the three major professional sports‘baseball, basketball, and football‘in which black athletes dominate. So while the industry superficially looks egalitarian, it can actually be a chattel existence. Shropshire, a professor at the Wharton School of Business and author of The Sports Franchise Game, considers the racial makeup of the front office personnel; the climate of the NCAA; and preconceptions about the power and prestige of a white sports agent. Shropshire is informative, factual and even anecdotal, but still awfully bland. Even when he is at his best (discussing racial myths while allowing for his personal experience as a practicing sports law attorney), the flow is entirely disrupted by the overabundance of footnotes (143 in the 25-page second chapter alone). Shropshire clearly believes that athletes by have a duty to be race men and to work for change in an industry that routinely rejects them when they have passed their prime. It's rather optimistic of him to end with the image of Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the medal stand at the 1968 Olympics as they "bowed their heads, listened to the U.S. national anthem, and raised black-gloved fists to the sky." But it's hard to imagine self-indulgent narcissists like Dennis Rodman or Deion Sanders standing up for anyone except themselves. Gestures are only so effective. The real question is whether high-priced athletes of today will use their money to buy into the front office. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A prominent sports-law specialist sends down an indictment of racism in sports that is occasionally dense and difficult to read but impossible to ignore. Noting that 95 percent of all sports team owners are white, while their teams' athletes are for the most part black, Shropshire (Legal Studies/Wharton School, Univ. of Pennsylvania) reveals the many reasons why pro and college sports remain under the control of what is essentially a white old boys' network. These include prevailing racial images and myths, white racism, black apathy, athletes' and owners' self-interest. In addition to identifying the problem, Shropshire proposes several remedies. Some, such as reforming college sports admission policies (by dropping the use of standardized aptitude tests as a means of judging students for admission and eliminating freshman eligibility) seem simple, bordering on the obvious, and they have been raised before, but decision makers have yet to embrace them. Other proposals seem less probable, including the boycott by athletes of some major sports events, the utilization of additional resources to improve America's high schools, and a program to wean society away from the creation and worship of sports heroes: ``A white kid tries to become President,'' Shropshire writes, ``and the skills and knowledge he picks up on the way can be used in a thousand different jobs. A black kid tries to become Willie Mays and all the tools he picks up are useless to him if he doesn't become Willie Mays.'' Despite the author's conjecturing and frequent overreliance on obscure legal examples, this is a solid, well-argued, and important study. Anyone desiring to be informed about race issues and sports should read it.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.