NBA, some players dismiss study that on racial bias in officiating

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Academic study found racial bias in referees' calls.

By NANCY ARMOUR

The Associated Press

Kobe Bryant says he's never noticed any evidence of racial bias when it comes to NBA officiating.

"I think I've gotten more techs from black refs than white refs," the Los Angeles Lakers star joked Wednesday. "That's reverse racism probably."

Bryant, LeBron James and four other NBA players dismissed an academic study that found evidence of racial bias in referees' calls, saying they've never experienced it. The NBA also refuted the study, saying its own analysis showed no racial bias in officiating.

According to an upcoming paper by a University of Pennsylvania professor and a Cornell graduate student, white referees called fouls against black players at a higher rate than they did against white players.

Their study also found that black officials called fouls on white players more frequently than they did against blacks, but the disparity wasn't as great.

"We obviously discuss officiating and our feelings toward it," said Utah Jazz guard Derek Fisher, president of the NBA players' association. "But I don't ever recall it being a racially motivated type of conversation where we felt like there were certain guys that had it out for me or him or whoever just because of the color of our skin.

"I don't know that I've ever really felt that there was a racial component to officiating."

James put it this way: "It's stupid."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: