NFL draft profiles are full of racial stereotypes. And that matters for when quarterbacks get drafted (Washington Post, 2017)

Link

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/04/27/nfl-draft-profiles-are-full-of-racial-stereotypes-and-that-matters-for-when-quarterbacks-get-drafted/

Citation

Burt L. MonroeChristopher Boylan, and Ryan McMahon. 2017. "NFL draft profiles are full of racial stereotypes. And that matters for when quarterbacks get drafted." Washington Post, The Monkey Cage April 27.

 

Introduction

The 2017 NFL draft begins tonight, and teams have been working hard to accurately estimate the value of draft prospects. The consequences can be especially dramatic for those teams considering a quarterback. In 1998, for example, the question was: Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf? It’s hard to believe it now, but that was a tough decision.

This year’s decision involves Deshaun Watson and Mitch Trubisky, a comparison that evokes the complicated history of race and NFL quarterbacks. This includes a history of black quarterbacks being more likely to be asked to switch positions, being paid lower salaries than equally valuable white quarterbacks and being subjected to double standards.

Watson addressed this last year, arguing against being labeled a dual-threat, a quarterback that could run and throw. “That’s a code word. … People think, ‘Oh, he’s a black quarterback, he must be a dual-threat.’”

Our research suggests Watson’s concerns are well-founded.

We studied official NFL draft profiles and found substantial racial differences in the language used to describe quarterback prospects — differences that are consistent with established racial stereotypes. Perhaps most importantly, racialized language actually helps predict draft outcomes.