Based on dozens of shocking interviews with some of the most influential names in sports, this is the urgent and revelatory examination of racial inequality in professional athletics America has been waiting for. Commentators, coaches, and fans alike have long touted the diverse rosters of leagues like the NFL and MLB as sterling examples of a post-racial America. Yet decades after Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in a display of Black power and pride, and years after Colin Kaepernick shocked the world by kneeling for the national anthem, the role Black athletes and coaches are expected to perform—both on and off the field—still can be determined as much by stereotype and old-fashion ideology as ability and performance. Whether it’s the pre-game moments of resistance, the lack of diversity among coaching and managerial staff, or the consistent undervaluation of Black quarterbacks, racial politics impact every aspect of every sport being played—yet the gigantic salaries and glitzy lifestyles of pro athletes often disguise the ugly truths of how minority players are treated and discarded by their White bosses. John Feinstein crisscrossed the country to secure personal interviews with quarterbacks, coaches, and more, revealing the stories none of us have heard (but all of us should know). Seventy-five years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color line, race is still a central and defining factor of America's professional sports leagues. With an encyclopedic knowledge of professional sports, and shrewd cultural criticism, bestselling and award-winning author John Feinstein uncovers not just why, but how, pro sports continue to perpetuate racial inequality.
“None of us are trying to make race an issue. Race IS an issue.” (From the Foreword by Doug Williams)