PANETHNIC LINSANITY: ISSUES WITH RESEARCH ON DISCRIMINATION IN SPORTS.

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    • Abstract:
      Two difficulties arise when measuring the extent of discrimination in sports. One is the problem of measuring productivity. The other is in measuring race and ethnicity. An advantage of studying the concept of discrimination in sports is that there is more publicly available data on performance and compensation of players than in other industries. Thus, the problem of measuring productivity is lessened. Yet, while great effort has been expended in attempting to obtain unbiased estimates of productivity in sports discrimination studies, little effort appears to have been expended in attempting to obtain unbiased estimates of race and ethnicity. The conflicting and inconclusive results of prior studies suggest the nontrivial nature of this classification task. Discussed in this paper are two of the methodological challenges that need to be addressed by researchers studying discrimination in sports. First, what is the concept that is being examined? Second, how will the race/ethnicity variable be operationalized? Specifically, this paper suggests that researchers need to explicitly address whether the cultural identity or the perceived identity of the participants is being studied. Researchers also need to explain the classification schemes being employed in an open, transparent manner. The issues of: (1) who is making the race/ethnicity assessment; (2) how are they making the assessment; and, (3) how is the race/ethnicity variable measured are important judgments that need to be reported by researchers. The failure of less systematic efforts to capture race and ethnicity suggests the need for more formality and structure. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]