Are Blacks Better Athletes?

Article. Are Blacks Better Athletes?

Tonight, NBC looks at blacks in sports

USA TODAY

Published on Wednesday, April 26, 1989 by David Leon Moore

F

H3

VIA SATELLITE

THE NATION’S NEWSPAPER

ARE BLACKS BETTER ATHLETES?

ROSE ENTITLED TO HIS HEARING,

SAY GUIDELINES 8c

t BASEBALL RESULTS, 4,5C ~ NL STATS, BY TEAM, 8C

A NEW LOOK FOR THE NBA 1c

b, THURSDAY: PLAYOFF PREVIEW

MILLER LITE SPOOF GOES RINGSIDE 1B

JAZZY FASHIONS GRAB SHOPPERS 1,50

Martine Stibon design, photo by Corina Lecca

TC)D~AY

NEW EPISODES, LESS SLEAZE, MINI ‘WAR’ 4D

Iii- KIRK CAMERON: A TEEN IDOL’S GROWING PAINS, ID

NBC

TOM BROKAW: Special on blacks mixed bag, 1C

NO. I IN THE USA …5.3 MILLION READERS EVERY DAY

Tonight, NBC looks at blacks in sports

By David Leon Moore USA TODAY

Debate over the sure-to-becontroversial NBC News special “Black Athletes – Fact and Fiction” couldn’t wait for the show to air.

The hourlong report, hosted by Tom Brokaw tonight at 10 EDT, presents scientific studies suggesting black athletes

might be physically superior to white athletes in some sports.

Olympic gold medal sprinter Carl Lewis is quoted saying, “Generally, the blacks, physically, are made better.”

Some black sports officials

are critical of the show, fearing it will promote stereotypes of blacks as naturally gifted athletes who don’t work hard or who are intellectually inferior.

Anita DeFrantz, a former Olympic rower and president of the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles, has not seen the special but is critical of scientific research parts of the show are based on.

“I’ve read the research, and there is a qualification that they can’t conclusively make the case,” she said. “I just hope they say in the show that no one is willing to say they have actual proof.

“I think the question is silly. But if you’re going to talk about it, don’t go with a leap of faith across a valley of racism.”

Said Brokaw: “People who

have seen it so far have been relieved and felt that we gave it balanced treatment”

Stanford track coach Brooks Johnson, who appears on the show, also is critical.

“If there is one black Carl Lewis out there, there are five or six white Carl Lewises,” said Johnson. “They may not know who they are, but they’re out there.”

>r Brokaw hoping to

generate debate, 3C

LACK AT

Firestorm of debate follows NBC’s special

M

C

. the evidence surely does exist that there is some edge that we (blacks) have that others don’t have.”

– Arthur Ashe, tennis star

“It is to the advantage of the black athlete to be proud that God was on their side.”

– Dr. Gideon Adel who has studied genetic differences

NBC photos

NBC explores whether blacks are superior athletes

Scenes from various sports – football, basketball, track. – show how the black athlete excels in skills that involve jumping and speed.

Interviews with coaches, athletes and scientists are incorporated into the program, which also shows how blacks from Kenya differ from blacks from East Africa, who are closer in physical characteristics to blacks in the U.S.

Heavy emphasis is placed on the cultural conditions that have spawned good black athletes. Basketball, for instance, is seen not so much as a “black” game as it is a “city” game. Be

DARING REPORT: Tom Brokaw fore blacks, Jews excelled in it

when they were the core of the

great Carl Lewis, who is black, inner city.

insists, “Generally, the blacks Following the local news at

physically are made better.” 11, Brokaw will be back with a

Early motor testing of black half-hour panel discussion

and white children demon- meant to further explore issues

But all do pot agree with this � strafes black children develop raised in the prime-time re

.a sesscbeutr’ O1 i pl` tt t l6` t # _ lf~`s e ” ~ F ~} r; ‘E y Glli~dlllt}t~

r r. r

+~{ r o a r~~~�.

Y ES, there are differences between black and white athletes, but beyond that there are no concrete conclusions on tonight’s NBC Tom Brokaw-reported documentary “Black Athletes – Fact and Fiction” (10-11 p.m.).

While pointing out there may be physical and genetic differences, “the black athlete,” says Brokaw, “is dedicated to his physical experiences.” In other words, athletics, for some blacks, is an avenue out of poverty.

It’s an interesting program that dares to tackle a subject that is immediately labeled racist – the suggestion that black athletes are superior to white athletes. It’s racist, explains sociologist Harry Edwards, because “it suggests blacks are closer to beasts and animals.”

ELLITE-�

ESDAY, APRIL 26, 1989

COVER STORY

Perpetuating

stereotypes

condemned

By David Leon Moore USA TODAY

Tom Brokaw and NBC News knew thLs was COntroversial. Indeed, the network’s Tuesday night special, “Black Athletes – Fact and Fiction,” lit the fuse for an explosion.

“The mere topic perpetuates racist attitudes about black athletes in this country,” said Lee McElroy, University of the District of Columbia athletic director. “What bothers me is the effect of what comes out of the portrayal.”

The portrayal, in NBC’s hourlong special, was a mixed bag, attributing the domi

nance by black athletes in some sports to physical, cultural and environmental factors.

Most controversial, though, were the scientific studies l conducted by Gideon Ariel, Claude Bouchard and Robert Malina suggesting blacks have genetic differences that provide them physical superiority over whites in many sports.

“I’m very disappointed at some of the historical and scientific nonsense that was presented,” said Anita DeFrantz, president of the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Ange

By NBC

DR. EDWARDS: Society

forces blacks to sports.

Please see COVER STORY next page 0