Saturday , July 11 2020

TV: New study reveals ‘evident’ racial bias in football commentary

More than 2,000 statements made by commentators through 80 televised matches in the Premier League, Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1 have been analyzed by the Danish research organization RunRepeat, with the study carried out in association with the Association professional footballers (PFA).

In intelligence reviews, 62.60% of the praise was for players with a lighter complexion, while 63.33% of critics were for players with a darker complexion.

And when we talk about work ethics, 60.40% of praise was for players with a lighter complexion, while commentators were 6.59 times more likely to speak of power when they referred to a player with a darker complexion and 3.38 times more likely to speak speed.

“To cope with the real impact of structural racism, we must recognize and combat racial prejudice,” said Jason Lee, PFA Equality Executive, in a statement. “This study shows an obvious bias in the way we describe the attributes of footballers according to their skin color.

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“Commentators help shape our perception of each player, deepening any racial prejudice already held by the spectator. It is important to consider how deep these perceptions can be and how they affect footballers even after their playing career. player complete.

“If a player aspires to become a coach / manager, is an unfair advantage granted to players whom commentators regularly call intelligent and industrious, when these opinions seem to be the result of racial prejudice?”

“The hardest”

The RunRepeat study was based on the analysis of 20 matches from each of the four leagues during the 2019/20 season, recording 2074 declarations on 643 players from English comments on Sky Sports, BT Sport, FreeSports, beIN Sports , TSN, NBCSN and ESPN, according to The Guardian.

Using the full database of the Football Manager computer game, the players’ complexion was rated from 1 to 20, with 433 players from 1 to 11 classified as “lighter” and 210 players from 12 to 20 classified as “darker” .

The study found that the difference in reporting was “most glaring when commentators discuss physical characteristics or athletic ability – speed and strength”.

Famous British commentator Clive Tyldesley believes the publication of the study will help his peers to think twice before making certain statements on the air.

“Commentators have a responsibility to use language correctly but – and this is the only one” but “I would add – I would not hesitate to call Adama Traore a strong and pacy player. There are other things besides , including valuable and effective, “Tyldesley told the Daily Mail, referring to the Wolves’ winger.

“N’Golo Kante is neither fast nor powerful, so you call him as you see,” added Tyldesley of the Chelsea midfielder.

“I would take any advice to help me become a better communicator but I would reject any suggestion if it were made that I was guilty of stereotyping footballers based on their skin color. I cannot think to any element of a player’s skin color that would affect their performance.

“Traoré is a different player from Kante, Virgil Van Dijk, Raheem Sterling, Tammy Abraham,” said Tyldesley, referring to the LIverpool defender, the Manchester City forward and the Chelsea forward.

“They are all exceptional in their own positions, but there are very few common denominators in the way they play, so there is no need for an investigation to show that not only are stereotypes morally wrong, but also downright inaccurate. “

Sky Sports already organizes sessions with its presenters, reporters and commentators in which the importance of the language they use to describe athletes from different backgrounds is discussed.

In conjunction with the PFA and Kick It Out, Sky Sports also organized additional sessions regarding the use of language staff when specifically discussing stories and issues regarding Black Lives Matter.

An NBC Sports spokesperson told CNN, “We have always insisted on balanced comments in our game and studio coverage.”

A spokesperson for BT Sport said the organization had not seen the details of the report, but pointed to a statement issued regarding the Black Lives Matter movement in which the organization pledged to “implement a compulsory training on cultural sensitivity and unconscious prejudice for all our people. ” . “

FreeSports, beIN Sports, TSN and ESPN did not immediately respond to CNN Sport’s request for comment.

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