Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

Which Words Are Used To Describe White And Black NFL Prospects?

Reuben Fischer-Baum, Aaron Gordon, and Billy Haisley

Do NFL scouts talk about white players and black players differently? Are certain words reserved for white players? Are others used primarily to describe black players?

Let's try and find out. We've pulled the text from pre-draft scouting reports from (written by the infamous Nolan Nawrocki), CBS, and ESPN, split them by player race, counted the number of times individual words appeared using the Voyant tool, and then calculated the rate at which each word appeared per 10,000 words. (In total we pulled 68,465 words on 99 white players—6,228 unique—and 223,868 words on 288 black players—10,580 unique). You can play with the data in the interactive below; simply plug a single word into the input field, hit search, and see how often the word appeared in black and white scouting reports.


This tool will count only the exact string you put (although it's not case-sensitive). "Intelligent" won't pull up numbers for related words like "intelligence" or "unintelligent."


Post your favorite finds in the comments! You can check out the code/documentation for the graphic over on Github.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter