Racial Stacking in Football
May 27, 2011 § 1 Comment
The whole thought process behind doing an ethnographic study is to focus on how a sub culture lives, interacts, believes, and behaves (2). During this study I will focus on the dynamic of a football team. Sub cultures acts as a society on a small scale. Especially in college football there are many roles on the team that mirror the basic social pyramid of larger societies. In more depth I will go over how race constructs team dynamic, position structure, and behavior.
Communal living enforces the construction of team dynamic. This allows the team and coaches to form a tight nit group between position groups. Even inside these groups there are many of times cliques where certain players thrive. This has shown how players of certain color and position gravitate towards the same color and position. An according to a sports illustrated article race directly correlates to choosing a sports hero (3). The aspect of living with someone makes a natural emotional connection whether it may be good or bad. Thus the good or bad is shown directly on the field. If your half of the team doesn’t agree with the other half then how will they maintain a common thought during a game? This affects their verbal and physical relationships too.
A main reinforcement of this is how positions are structured. Inside these little niches as talked about earlier it is its own society and functioning body. Essentially this works as a giant city with different districts contributing to combine this infrastructure. Just as a city these niches are diverse in how they look and act. Typically you have a stereotype of white quarterbacks and black running backs. Well this is not something that has just happened over night; our time and society around the world has affected the color of the typical running back today. The biggest factor towards having certain players in a position is due to stacking. Stacking is a concept of reserving certain positions for certain races, like quarterbacks (1). The thinking is that whites have are better adapted for positions of quick thinking while blacks are more suited for positions with greater physical prowess (1). Allowing certain players to thrive at certain positions due to color.
In all a society runs with a certain behavior to it. This is one that functions with the same mentality just with a different method. Many of times progress is judged by competitions inside positions to see who starts. Even deeper into these competitions is failure and unlike new thought where everyone is a winner, football players must learn to adapt to failure. Not every time that a player rises to an occasion will he come out victorious? These types of behavior have made a certain atmosphere around a football team.
Mainly this ethnographic project is focusing on the atmosphere of a football team and how race affects the team dynamic, positions structure, and behavior. All of these factors have almost locked color into certain positions.
1) Lashley, Horace. (1989, Autumn). Coaching Focus, (England), p.7.
2) Clifford Geertz, “Description: Toward and Interpretive Theory of Culture,” The Interpretation of Culture, (NY: Basic Books, 1973), Chapter 1
3) Price, S.L. (1997b, Dec. 8). Is it in the genes? Sports Illustrated ,pp.?