Soccer Sportscaster Calls for Peers to Undergo Racial Stereotyping Training

A new study found European soccer players are likely to be praised differently based on the color of their skin

Television commentator Clive Tyldesley working for ITV from the United Kingdom in 2012 (AMA/Corbis via Getty)
Television commentator Clive Tyldesley working for ITV from the United Kingdom in 2012 (AMA/Corbis via Getty)
Corbis via Getty Images
By Evan Bleier / July 1, 2020 6:30 am

After the results of a new study found European soccer players are likely to be praised differently based on the color of their skin, a popular sportscaster is calling for his peers to undergo training in order to avoid racial stereotyping.

Conducted by Danish firm RunRepeat in association with the Professional Footballers’ Association, the study found 62.6 percent of praise regarding a player’s intelligence was aimed at those with lighter skin while 63.33 percent of criticism of a player’s intelligence was directed at those with darker skin. The study also found lighter-skinned players across four European leagues, including the Premier League, were praised more often for their work ethic while darker-skinned players were mentioned more for their. physical characteristics or athletic ability.

In response to the study, ITV’s main commentator Clive Tyldesley called for his peers to undergo training so they can avoid using the type of coded language the findings illustrate.

“I’ve been made aware of the tendency that’s been described in this report and anything that makes you think about how you commentate is good,” he said. “I’ve always been mindful of this argument and being mindful is being prepared. You’ve seen how I prepare but preparation isn’t all about neat writing, or facts and figures, it’s about thinking. Thinking what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it, preferably before you say it. That is what this report is telling us commentators and co-commentators to do and I’m all for that.”

As an incident that took place during last year’s NFL season illustrated, it’s not just English soccer broadcasters who should undergo the sort of training Tyldesley is calling for.

Speaking about Lamar Jackson, 49ers radio analyst Tim Ryan said the Ravens quarterback has an advantage in faking handoffs because of the color of his skin.

“He’s really good at that fake, Lamar Jackson, but when you consider his dark skin color with a dark football with a dark uniform, you could not see that thing,” Ryan said on San Francisco radio station KNBR’s Murph & Mac Show. “I mean, you literally could not see when he was in and out of the mesh point and if you’re a half step slow on him in terms of your vision, forget about it, he’s out of the gate.”

Ryan apologized and was suspended for a game after the comment was labeled as racist. Had he undergone training like Tyldesley wants, it’s possible Ryan wouldn’t have made the comment.

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