In 2007, two economists released a study arguing that in NBA seasons from 1991 to 2004, white referees called more fouls against black players than against white players, and the NBA got angry. On Wednesday, TrueHoop's Henry Abbott broke down the story.
Joe Price and Justin Wolfers initially shared the information with the New York Times. It took very little time for David Stern to declare that racism "doesn't exist in the NBA" and that the entire study was a "bum rap." And you'd think it might have blown over by now, with this whole post-racial thing settling in any day now, but it hasn't! Last week, Price and Wolfers republished their findings "in one of the most respected, peer-reviewed academic journals in the field," the Quarterly Journal of Economics.
The greatest supporting evidence for the study's findings, to glibly sum up Abbott's very interesting explanation, is the not-very-well-kept secret that everyone's a little bit racist. "The best experts agree, after rigorous review and much consideration," he writes, "that there is a low level of implicit bias among NBA officials, just as there is among people all over the globe. The essential findings of the report published Friday are the same as what [the NBA] reacted to so strongly in 2007."
Study on referees and race still dogs NBA [TrueHoop]