A study led by Patrick Ferrucci, an assistant professor in the College of Media, Communication and Information at the University of Colorado, suggests that unconscious racial bias, propagated in part by sports media, still influences how the public views the quarterback position in the game of football.
Dr. Ferrucci stated that “we are all aware of the stereotypes that are out there in the discourse — it’s almost unavoidable. We were looking to see if people actually apply them, and the answer is yes.”
The researchers asked a group of college students to rate photographs and descriptions of Black and White professional quarterbacks relating to physical strength, natural ability, leadership, and intelligence. While both Black and White participants in the study tended to follow the racial stereotypes that Black athletes are stronger and have more natural ability and White athletes were better leaders and more intelligent, the researchers found that the implicit racial bias was even stronger among Black test subjects than was the case for Whites who participated in the study.
“If we’re still stereotyping this way in sports, then it’s probable that we’re stereotyping in real life, too, and that could have far more negative consequences,” Dr. Ferrucci said.
The study, “The Spiral of Stereotyping: Social Identity Theory and NFL Quarterbacks,” was published in the Howard Journal of Communications. It may be accessed here.