People get uncomfortable when you talk about race and ethnicity. I think it’s because my generation in Canada was taught that the way to avoid racism was not to talk about race. That’s a lousy approach, and fails to recognize the richness inherent in ethnic diversity.
Regardless, onto my very trivial ethnicity topic du jour. Over the holidays, I watched some college football. Then this weekend I watched some of the NFL playoffs. It occurred to me: all the kickers are Caucasian.
That fact is particularly odd because 75% of all NFL players are African American. There used to be a lot of bias and racism around certain positions–for a long time there were very few African American quarterbacks, for example. I gather that’s changing for the better.
So why are there so few black kickers? There have been a few. Reggie Roby, for example.
I did some digging around Google, and the only reason I came up with was expressed by this dubiously-capitalized editorial:
It is quite a bit murkier when it comes to kicking a football. African Americans may have to take the Blame here. Some observers suggest it is because Soccer playing produces the best kickers and lots of white kids play soccer while few Black kids do. Well who is to Blame here. Soccer is even cheaper to play than football or basketball.
That makes sense. I randomly checked five NFL kickers’ Wikipedia entries for references to soccer, but I only found one that mentioned the sport. I can’t imagine that there are many kids of any colour who dream of being placekickers and punters, but you never know.
Can you think of any other reasons for this statistical abnormality?