A prominent sports-law specialist sends down an indictment of racism in sports that is occasionally dense and difficult to read but impossible to ignore. Noting that 95 percent of all sports team owners are white, while their teams' athletes are for the most part black, Shropshire (Legal Studies/Wharton School, Univ. of Pennsylvania) reveals the many reasons why pro and college sports remain under the control of what is essentially a white old boys' network. These include prevailing racial images and myths, white racism, black apathy, athletes' and owners' self-interest. In addition to identifying the problem, Shropshire proposes several remedies. Some, such as reforming college sports admission policies (by dropping the use of standardized aptitude tests as a means of judging students for admission and eliminating freshman eligibility) seem simple, bordering on the obvious, and they have been raised before, but decision makers have yet to embrace them. Other proposals seem less probable, including the boycott by athletes of some major sports events, the utilization of additional resources to improve America's high schools, and a program to wean society away from the creation and worship of sports heroes: ``A white kid tries to become President,'' Shropshire writes, ``and the skills and knowledge he picks up on the way can be used in a thousand different jobs. A black kid tries to become Willie Mays and all the tools he picks up are useless to him if he doesn't become Willie Mays.'' Despite the author's conjecturing and frequent overreliance on obscure legal examples, this is a solid, well-argued, and important study. Anyone desiring to be informed about race issues and sports should read it.
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