ESPN's resident wayward loudmouth Stephen A. Smith hunt-and-pecked his way through another magazine column this week, and took on fantasy football and its overwhelming whiteness. Miraculously, SAS does manage to dig up an MIT sociological study (actually it's a Fantasy Sports Trade Association's "study") which found that 93% of all fantasy sports participants are, in fact, white. This is not surprising to SAS, who wasted no time insinuating his marginalizing viewpoint with his usual graceful prose:
But honestly, I'm not surprised to learn that so few blacks are among the 30 million people who participate in fantasy sports. I've always thought that a lot of these guys (and 96% of them are guys) are nerds desperately in need of more sociable leisure-time activities. Leisure time for black folks historically consists of direct interaction, the kind of experience you get at a family barbecue or hanging out with friends. Sitting in front of a computer screen pretending to be Bill Parcells? Sounds like work to me.
To sum up: Blacks: like family barbecues and interacting with friends. Whites: like sitting in front of a computer screen playing fantasy football pretending to be Bill Parcells. (Actually, I pretend to be Ozzie Newsome. Take that, Stephen A.) But Stephen A finds out his impressions about fantasy football are a little off ,as he tracks down one of the most devoted FFB freaks in the country, comedian GuyTorry, who apparently gets enough loot from his brother's "Poetic Justice" residuals to spend most of his time playing fantasy sports. Good to know. Also? Stephen A. finds out another reason why black folks aren't crashing the server at RotoWorld every day courtesy of a man named Kim Beason, associate professor at Ole Miss and also the CEO of the "Fantasy Sport Research Specialists" — the socio-economic factor:
[P]eople who have well-paying jobs with fast Internet connections are more likely to play fantasy sports. "When you break it down, it appears the disparity has to do with a critical mass of individuals who are together discussing fantasy sports," he tells me. "Up to now, that has mostly occurred in the white workplace. And a lot of time, it's on the Internet."
As if spending so much time participating in live drafts and scouring the waiver wires didn't give you enough to feel guilty about already. Up Front [ESPN]