Special: Sports, Racism And The Myth Of Meritocracy

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Pop culture paints sports as an equal playing ground for all. But is that really the case? (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
There's a popular belief that sports is a level playing field. But that's far from the truth. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Sports are supposed to be the great equalizer. Movies like "Remember The Titans" and "The Blind Side" promote the idea that sports bring everyone together — and offer a path for upward social mobility. But it’s not that simple. In a special episode of Only A Game, we investigate the many ways sports actually perpetuate racial inequities in the U.S.

We'll examine the widening gap in access to youth sports. We'll explain why college sports have been called "affirmative action for rich white students." We'll analyze the consequences of racist sports stereotypes for all Black people. And, finally, we'll imagine a better path forward for sports in America. Join us.

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The Blind Spots: How Sports Movies Sell The Myth Of Meritocracy
Hollywood has helped create the myth of sports meritocracy through films that are as popular as they are misleading.

The Widening Accessibility Gap In Youth Sports
Former MLS player Otto Loewy's story represents a growing problem in youth sports.

'Accelerating Their Advantage': How White Students Use College Sports To Get (Further) Ahead
We get fed a lot of stories about sports as a path for upward social mobility. But that story's actually pretty rare on college campuses.

'Crafty' Vs. 'Sneaky': How Racial Bias In Sports Broadcasting Hurts Everyone
These differences in word choice migh seem small, but they can have big consequences.

'Reimagining' A More Equitable America — In Sports And Beyond
Experts weigh in on how we can solve the issues that create the myth of meritocracy in sports — and beyond.

This program aired on June 27, 2020.


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