Article

Biased Voices of Sports: Racial and Gender Stereotyping in College Basketball Announcing

Howard Journal of Communication 10/2001; 12:183-201. DOI: 10.1080/106461701753287714

ABSTRACT The words of sportscasters—repeated hundreds, even thousands, of times by different announcers in similar ways—provide a conceptual frame for the sports experience, and that mental frame has particular importance because fans often apply it to nonathletic situations. Contrary to assertions by some critics, analysis of 1,156 descriptors in sportscaster commentary during 66 televised men's and women's college basketball games showed no significant difference between the proportions of commentary and proportions of participating Black and White men players, but showed some overemphasis in comments about White women players. Predictably, Black men players tended to be stereotyped as naturally athletic, quick, and powerful, while White men players continued to be touted for their hard work, effort, and mental skill. The same racial stereotypes also appeared in the commentary about women basketball players, but few gender stereotypes emerged. Thus, increases in the numbers of Black and women game announcers may have lent balance to quantities of coverage by race and gender, but traditional racial stereotypes continue to pervade sports commentary even when gender stereotypes appear to be diminishing.

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