The racist bias in football reporting and its implication for all commentary

  • Players with lighter skin more often praised for intelligence
  • Power and pace referenced more often if player has darker skin

In the summary line the paper says, “The study by the Danish research firm RunRepeat found black players are often praised for physical attributes rather than mental ones.”  You can read the full article here.

The report uses the phrases “lighter skinned” and “darker skinned” in comparing players, and adjusting the numbers to account for the fact that there are more lighter skinned than darker skinned players on PL pitches the research found “the lighter skinned players were more widely praised for intelligence (62.60%), hard work (60.40%) and quality (62.79%). Commentators are also 6.59 times more likely to talk about the power of a player if he has darker skin and 3.38 times more likely to reference his pace.

Even more frightening, “The study also found that 63.33% of criticism from commentators in regards to the intelligence of a player is aimed at those with darker skin, while the figure for quality is 67.57%.”

Multiple questions arise from this.   First, will the mass media admit that in this case they are the problem?   Second will they work hard to do anything about it?

When Andy Grey and Richard Keys were finally sacked by Sky after years of appalling misogynistic comments they trotted off and got work BeIN Sports – the company that is working with the media to try and stop Saudi Arabia buying Newcastle.

So those two were eventually dismissed after years of sexism – but this problem of racism is institutional throughout the British media.  I can’t imagine journalists and commentators will all be sent for retraining let alone dismissed.  There might be a memo sent round, I guess, but probably that is about it.

Reporters from seven different TV channels that broadcast in English were used and only comments by in-match commentators and co‑commentators were used (not the pundits in the studio who pontificate after the match).  And as the PFA’s equalities executive, Jason Lee (the former Watford forward) said,  “Commentators help shape the perception we hold.”

Now I do not in any way want to suggest that my own campaign about how biased commentators are against Arsenal is of remotely as much importance as this institutionalised racism in the media – which is indeed why I’ve given the link to the full article above.

But this issue of racism in commentaries does illuminate the issue of bias in commentators.  My argument through numerous articles and examples is that commentators have pre-conceptions and neither events, nor their editors, will do anything to pick up on these.

Indeed given that nothing has been done about the inherent racism of commentators it is easy to understand how a persistent anti-Arsenal vision can also become part of the commentators’ vision.

In the same way that the media can have a racist bias in what it laughable sometimes calls its “expert analysis” and its commentating, so it can also have a persistent anti-Arsenal bias in all matters.   Of course the anti-Arsenal bias is not important when compared to the racism that commentators are revealed to have within them, but one explanation for both the racism and anti-Arsenal bias is that it is simply habit.  And as any psychologist will tell you, habits are incredibly easy to pick up but fiendishly difficult to get rid of.

The negative habits of the media are of course easy to spot.  Here are a couple of classics…

On 10 August 2003: The Independent on Sunday newspaper predicted Arsenal would finish 5th, despite the club finishing in the top two for the previous five years.  On 31 August 2003 The Times reported that the league match against Man City as contained “the worst 45 minutes [by Arsenal] that any of their fans could remember”.   Goodness knows who they were talking to, or how long a memory these people had; but as you may recall Arsenal won the league unbeaten that season (and won that game 2-1).  The worst their fans could remember???   How about Arsenal 0 Wimbledon 1 (23 Feb 1997)?

But of course the racism is the important thing here, but the fact is that alongside it, commentators and reporters have an inbuilt negativity towards Arsenal, which may well simply be habit and a view among editors that knocking Arsenal is what they do. Maybe they think it is what fans like.

The question is, does it matter?  The racism of course clearly does and is utterly disgraceful and appalling.  But does the constant bickering negativity that surrounds Arsenal also matter?  I believe it does because just as racism spreads from football commentators into the wider public, so the Arsenal negativity it spreads via the media and AFTV into the minds of fans who are encouraged to wave placards and criticise players.  Just as a black player might well decide not to play for certain teams or in certain leagues because of the racism found there, so all footballers are less inclined to come to Arsenal because of the constant negativity in the media towards the club.

The treatment of Mustafi and Xhaka by members of the media and the Arsenal crowd is very likely to have put players off coming to this club from abroad.  And this is the opposite of what we had in the past when players came to Arsenal because Mr Wenger was there.  Now we have the opposite.

The racism revealed in commentaries is, of course, the prime factor here.  But in reminding the media of that we ought to remember its other failings.  It’s constant negativity towards Arsenal, and its abject failure ever to consider that referees and their organisation have multiple failings, and just a couple of examples.

To appropriate the old phrase, “Eternal vigilance is the price we pay” (when supporting Arsenal).


6 Replies to “The racist bias in football reporting and its implication for all commentary”

  1. The Guardian is a joke paper with useless journalists. They have no factual content at all.They are so left leaning they might as well have their offices in the Leaning Tower of pessa. The paper has journalists such as the vile Marxist Peter Osborne who is a Liar and a great story teller. A guy that has openly accused Boris Johnson for being racist on LBC radio whilst being interviewed by Iain Dale which was proven to be totally incorrect and challenged by Ian, where Iain reminded the Idiot Marxist far left journalist of his own article that he had wrote about Boris in the past clearly stating that Boris was 100% not racist. Iain even went onto prove that what Peter Osborne was actually doing was causing racial hatred. Iain even went onto prove the remarks that Boris actually did say about the burka were not factually racist at all and factually defending people of any race to be able to wear what they wanted when they wanted.
    The problem nowadays is the main stream Media use snippits and sound bites to push the agenda they are paid to push.After all the Guardian is funded by that vile guy Soros and other Marxist scum. That are trying n every walk of life to divide the people of this fine country in any way possible. With totally unfactual statements and with piss poor journalism. The word research used by the main stream is a joke in itself. They do not do any research into any articles they write but to make it sound real they use that word researched.
    The facts in this article which was presented by the guardian are these. Black people aka people of colour are scientifically biologically stronger and faster than people of white people aka lighter skin colour.This statement is fact but also vile and proved to be so by they way it uses the terms people of lighter skin and people of coloured skin. Simply defining someone by the colour of their skin is RACIST.People that are not racist do not see skin colour of mention it.But this article talks about nothing bar skin colour ???? This perception which thy are pushing of whites being more intelligent is again unfactual and only used to stir racial hatred.Because one white player happens to be cleverer on the ball doesn’t mean all are and because one black guy they are talking about at the time is faster and stronger doesnt mean they all are . Pundits are just talking about an individual at a set time. Not talking about the whole white or black race.
    The truth is the faster man on earth happens to be Black Usane Bolt and the fastest people on earth happen to be Black in nearly every olympic games since it started.I am surprised the article didnt even mention the black people can jump further than white people ie Carl Lewis was the fastest man of earth and at the same time was the best long jumper on the earth at the time.Maybe an over sight from the guardian.pmsl…or is it the factual information isnt needed when stirring up racial hatred for the Marxist far left agenda.
    What worries more than anything is how you use the Guardian as some sort of beacon of utter truth and the pinnacle of Journalism??? when factually their ratings have fell through the roof and behind all media Outlets… in other words people do not buy or listen to the media outlet because they see it for what it is !! total and utter gutter press !! no substance at all !! why oh why are you using article from this Marxist outlet???? this has done you no favors yourselves… tut tut tut ….

  2. One other thing i need to mention to you is this.. You pic on the top of your page has NO Person of colour aka black person in it??? does this mean you are racist ?? no of course it doesn’t.But just proves how people can twist something as simple as a photo and words and sound bites !!

  3. Dear Carl
    Are you talking about Peter Oborne? That used to write for the Mail and the Telegraph.

    A committed Brexiter that has rethought his stance. that has a website dedicated to the lies uttered by Mr B Johnson. From what I have read of Mr A.B.Johnson’s articles it does appear that he uses a lot of dog whistle rasict phrases that would appeal to some people

    I think you ought to get your facts right before you post…….unless you are trying to spoof a pretty serious subject.

    Better leave people to make their own minds up about the rest of your post but it does seem the basics are wrong

  4. Carl, one of the key problems with your post is at the very start. You state “The Guardian is a joke paper with useless journalists. They have no factual content at all”.
    The first two comments are just opinion, with no attempt at verification. As for the third it is simply untrue. Going onto the paper’s site just now I find “New measures see tightening of restrictions on schools and non-essential shops while rest of England prepares for loosening from Saturday” That is factual content, and is very similar in words to that appearing in all the other news media I have seen this morning.
    I should also point out that you are commenting seemingly without bothering to check anything. To suggest I see the Guardian as “some sort of beacon of utter truth and the pinnacle of Journalism” is just plain weird given the number of times I have criticised this paper on this blog over the years.
    As for the picture – it is of the two Untold writers who have played at the Emirates. There have been only two, and we happen both to be white. I think that comment of yours reflects a total and absolute misunderstanding of the issues that I am trying to discuss here.
    Of course that might be the fault of my writing, but I must admit I have never come across anyone who has argued that in a picture of the only two people involved in an actual situation, someone else should be added because of his colour. That really is very odd.
    Although perhaps not quite as odd as repeatedly calling the Guardian a Marxist paper, without any evidence at all – I can’t recall it ever having a piece in it that argues that capitalism is a chaotic system of production beyond the control of humanity which raises human productive capacity ever higher while plunging society into ever-greater crises. Indeed it would be rather odd for a newspaper attempting to operate at a profit to do that.
    But maybe you’ve seen something I have not.

  5. Carl, what would be your definition of the Murdoch newspaper empire then?

    I must be standing on the opposite side of the leaning tower of pisa, because I can see all their journalists in there and that is falling way way, if not toppling, to the right.

    As a further observation, Talks@@@@@ is owned by sky, I believe, so let’s have not just highlight one rag, when we know, with regard to The Arsenal, they are all as oily as each other.

  6. Carl, I agree that there may be many valid criticisms of the Guardian. Being left wing is certainly not one of them.

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