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Sports Section January 22, 2003
 
Black Or White
 
 

CNN.com ran a story the other day about a study conducted by professors at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to see if resumes with white-sounding names elicited more responses than those with black-sounding names. The results? As it turns out, the white-sounding names won out over the black-sounding names with 50 percent more responses.

The white-sounding names used in the study were names like Neil, Brett, Gregg, Emily, Anne and Jill. The black-sounding ones were names such as Tamika, Ebony, Aisha, Rasheed, Kareem and Tyrone.

This is of course a disturbing trend, and not one to be ignored. And as we all know, this weekend the Oakland Raiders will square off on the gridiron against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego. Of course, the question that all NFL prognosticators are asking this week is "What role will the white-sounding/black-sounding name factor play in this intriguing matchup pitting the NFL's top offense versus the top defense?" We here at the eXile Sports Desk have no reasonable answer, of course, but let's take a look at the names used in the aforementioned resume ruse.

Neil O

Neil O'Donnell: Not playing on Sunday.

First the white-sounding names. Brett. Who could forget the late, great Brett Farve? White? Yes. The theory holds true. There are also people in this world named Brett Boone and Brett Easton Ellison, neither of whom have won Super Bowls -- nor have they tried -- as has Farve.

Then we have "Neil." Neil O'Donnell is a white quarterback, and a not too shabby one, if by "not too shabby" you mean "saucy" and by "one" you mean "slackjaw." O'Donnell also played at the University of Maryland, whose basketball team is led by white point guard Steve Blake. Of course black point guard Steve Francis also played for Maryland, while O'Donnell plays behind black quarterback Steve McNair, cancelling out the "Steve" factor in spite of the fact that McNair's and Odonnell's Titans lost the Raiders in the AFC Championship Game.

Former Bears running back Neil Anderson was black, while former UNLV guard Anderson Hunt was also black.

Gregg with an extra "g" is an interesting name. Mormons like to put unnecessary letters on the ends of names, and they often succeed in doing this. Nonetheless, there were only two "Gregs" in the NFL conference championship games -- DE Greg Spires for the Bucs and FB Greg Somella for the Titans -- neither of whom spelled their name with an extra "g." And while Somella is white, Spires went to Florida State and will play for a Super Bowl Ring.

To our knowledge, there has never been an Emily, Anne or Jill in the NFL, at least not intentionally.

As far as the black-sounding names, they are much cooler than the white-sounding ones. There is not much cool -- or even compelling -- about the name "Brett," while names like Latisha and Shamique can inspire art. So let's look at the black-sounding names.

Jack Golden

Jack Golden: Blacker than you'd think!

If there has ever been a Tamika, Ebony or Aisha in the NFL please contact the management at Hippopotam (256-2327). Wasn't using the name "Ebony" in that resume trick too obvious. Did they send a "white" resume from "Ashen Brinton"?

Oakland is a penalty-prone team, much like Portland Trailblazers' power forward Rasheed Wallace. But that doesn't hide that fact that no "Rasheed" will be suiting up for the Bucs or Raiders on Sunday. If only one of these team had the football-playing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on their roster. While the "Lew Alcindor" Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had excellent hands and scored many points, it's unlikely he would affect the outcome of Sunday's game, either on the offensive or defensive end. He could conceivably only contribute in trying to block field goals and extra points.


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