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Stumbling On Wins: Two Economists Expose the Pitfalls on the Road to Victory in Professional Sports by Martin B. Schmidt, David J. Berri

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4. Football in Black and White

Athletes are supposed to be rewarded for what they can do, not for what they are or who they know. Teams shouldn’t care whether a player is black or white, rich or poor. All they should care about is whether the player helps the team win.

Although this simple view of sports might be true today, sports have historically failed to live up to this vision. Prior to 1947, a black player regardless of his ability was denied the opportunity to play Major League Baseball.1 When the National Basketball Association came into existence in 1949, it was also an all-white league.2 In the latter half of the 20th century, each of these professional sports leagues integrated, and sports moved closer to fulfilling the equal-opportunity ...

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