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Monday, April 06, 2015

Jon Entine, Taboo, and Black Athletes - Football and the NFL

In my final review of Jon Entine's book, "Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It", let's analyze Jon's analysis and predictions of black athletes in football and the NFL 15 years later.

So far the Boston Marathon and basketball were analyzed. Another widely popular sport which the book Taboo analyzes in depth is football. When Taboo was published in 2000, Blacks made up 13% of the American population and an unusually high 67% of the NFL players. These Black NFL players are primarily of West African descent genetically gifted with fast twitch muscles to give them exceptional speed, explosive power, jumping, and strength.

Look at the profile of NFL players since the 1950s. You will see a significant increase of Black players in the NFL every year. If you also plot out physical characteristics, like height, weight, speed, and strength every year since the 1950s, you will see a significantly increasing trend every year, with most of those physical increases attributed by the increasing number of Black players.

By the late 1990s, Black athletes made up 67% of the NFL. Jon Entine concluded in Taboo, published in 2000, that Black genetic dominance in the NFL and clear trends would cause Black representation in the NFL to further increase over the years, and other races would be phased out.

How did Jon Entine's predictions come about? He was a little closer on the mark with his NFL predictions than his NBA predictions, and his fallacies were reduced a little, but fallacies still abound and his predictions did not come true.

Since Black players made up 67% of the NFL in 1999, that figure has been consistent up to 2014. It may fluctuate 1 or 2 points either direction, but has been consistent overall. While the Black population in America has slightly increased to 14% and increased in absolute numbers, the NFL roster spots have been consistent. If Blacks had a genetic monopoly on the best football players in America, we would certainly see an increase of Black representation in the NFL after 1999.

Another interesting note is that NFL player physical characteristics, such as height, weight, speed, and strength, has maxed out in 1999. Some years have small fluctuations, but overall the 2014 NFL players physically and racially represent the NFL players of 1999.

Analyzing the NFL players by position, you'll see the most diversity in the NFL belonging to quarterbacks, offensive linemen, tight end, punters, and kickers. Non-Black players have played in every position in the NFL. Whites dominate the quarterback position, but almost every race and nationality, such as Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Arabs, and Indians, have played in the NFL.

Not only the non-Black races can play in the NFL, but they can also play in the most Black dominated positions and perform just as well with the best Black football players. Here are some of the best non-Black players in the NFL who meet these criteria to prove Jon Entine wrong.
1) Player has minimal or no African heritage (i.e less than one quarter Black/African heritage).
2) Player played in the Black dominated positions of the NFL.
3) Player was a solid starter and performed very well in that position.
4) Player played and excelled in the NFL in 1999 or afterwards, when Black representation and physical traits of all NFL players maxed out.

J.J. Watt (White American)
NFL: Defensive End for Houston Texans, 2011-Present (2015)
Signed 6 year, $100 million contract in 2014 to become highest-paid defensive player in NFL history

Peyton Hillis (White American)
NFL: Running Back, 2008-2014
Best seasons were 2010-2011 for the Cleveland Browns

Dat Nguyen (Vietnamese American)
NFL: Linebacker for Dallas Cowboys, 1999-2005
There are several Asians to play in the NFL, but Dat Nguyen is so far the best.

Greg Camarillo (Half Mexican, Half Hungarian Jewish)
NFL: Wide Receiver, 2006-2012
Best seasons were 2008-2009 for the Miami Dolphins

Jason Sehorn (White American)
NFL: Cornerback for the New York Giants, 1994-2003

Jon Entine's prediction of Black dominance in the cornerback seemed to be closer on the mark. The last non-Black cornerback we saw in the NFL was a White guy named Jason Sehorn. He was a starting cornerback for the New York Giants from 1994 to 2002, and played his final year in the NFL in 2003 as a safety. There haven't been any non-Black cornerbacks in the NFL after Jason Sehorn, and there doesn't seem to be any on the horizon as of 2015. Neverless, Jason Sehorn played as a starting cornerback in 1999 and beyond, at a time when Black percentage of NFL players and average size, speed, and strength of all NFL players reached its peak.

Conclusion: Taboo may have less mistakes in analyzing and predicting the NFL compared to the NBA, but it still has mistakes. Taboo has some parts right, but too many mistakes and fallacies to pass as credible scientific research.


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