Racism, Misogyny and Homophobia

These three plagues not only infect our society and divide people from one another, but they kill team chemistry.

Many athletes have never been in close daily contact with anyone different than themselves. They don’t know how to have meaningful conversations or get to know their teammates They have preconceived ideas about “others” that are frequently wrong and reveal the implicit bias that pervades most people in our society. Denying bias is denying that some people have advantages in their lives that other people do not have. That difference affects all aspects of life from housing to economic status. Denying bias shows a lack of perspective-taking and self-awareness.

Sports teams, where people from different cultural backgrounds unite in one cause, are the perfect places to make those preconceptions disappear to reveal our common humanity and aspirations.

Athletic Departments in high school can be the bridge between ignorance and knowledge. Teams can address shouted or written slurs as what they are: another form of bullying.

Empathy is standing in someone else’s shoes to see how the same words spoken or situations presented are seen, heard and experienced by others.

Dealing with and teaching about these divisive views must be addressed at the beginning and throughout the season with lessons that take a contextual view of the history of prejudice in sports.