Study Looks at Bias in Celebration Penalty Calls

The New York Times:

A Kansas City Chiefs cornerback returns an interception 58 yards for a touchdown, then flexes his biceps in the end zone with one foot resting on the ball. A Seattle wide receiver makes a throat-slashing gesture after catching a 52-yard pass for a score. A running back for Green Bay lies on his back in the end zone and waves his legs and arms to mime a snow angel after an 80-yard scoring catch. After an 18-yard touchdown catch on Jan. 1, a Buffalo receiver exposes an undershirt that has “Happy New Year” written on it.

Each of these touchdown celebrations last season resulted in a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. But they had one other commonality: The fouls were called on black players.

It cannot be determined from those few cases and limited data whether race played any role in those penalties for excessive celebration. But a study published in July in The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology by two researchers in psychology at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management tested the question of bias in unsportsmanlike conduct penalties called after touchdowns. The two researchers, Erika V. Hall, a doctoral candidate, and Robert W. Livingston, an associate professor of management and organizations, tried to gather more insight by posing a series of hypothetical situations to a group of people.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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