By Jack Coulter
Recently an ESPN documentary from the series 30 for 30 called “Fantastic Lies” was released depicting the 2006 trial of the Duke Lacrosse team after an alleged gang rape. The documentary addressed several high tension issues of race, wealth, and education. With the documentary most major objective was showing how the case became a product of poor journalism of assuming the players were guilty until proven innocent. This whole documentary brought to the forefront the perception of white athletes in the eye of the media and how, at least at the collegiate level, they are seemingly dispensable and are easy to condemn.
It is often discussed how black athletes, such as Cam Newton, are unfairly and quickly judged for their actions when other white athletes are given a pass for their outlandish actions. However, what is not often discussed is the perceptions of white athletes. White athletes are often expected to act as mature, non-showy, athletes, The media wants the white athletes to simply play the game with no exaggeration, no extras, just do what you have to and that’s it. The white athlete is thought to rarely take on the chippy, bad guy type persona. Yet, discussing Duke University’s athletics again, they have had a history of having those hateable white athletes. First beginning with Christian Laettner and now with Grayson Allen, who has tried to trip people during games on multiple occasions, these two have embraced this mold. Despite this, the stereotypes still exist and it raises the question of why any sports stereotypes based on race exist.
Almost all people have heard the phrase, “white men can’t jump” which is widely accepted as non-offensive by any means, but as Casey Gane-McCalla of the Huffington Post puts it, “why not “Black men can’t read defenses”? Would this phrase be considered offensive while the one stereotyping white basketball players would not be? Sport stereotypes exist everywhere from white and black athletes typically confined to specific positions whether it be a lack of white point guards or a lack of black quarterbacks, there seems to be a disparity in certain positions. Another major stereotype is by which means an athlete “made it big”. White athletes are typically credited to hard work and discipline to get to the top while black athletes are credited with this natural talent for their success. Why is it that there couldn’t be a hard working disciplined black athlete who made his own talent or a naturally gifted white athlete who was amazing without putting the work in. Any and all these stereotypes were started long in the past, but that's where they should remain, in the past.