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Race and the Referees

The big article coming out of the New York Times today, at least to the wonky political sites that dabble in basketball that I read, is a study saying race effects the fouls called in the NBA. According to the paper authors Justin Wolfers and Joe Price found "that players earn up to 4% fewer fouls and score up to 2½% more points on nights in which their race matches that of the refereeing crew." Most of the discrimination is evident towards the 17% of the players that are white, who draw 5.023 fouls per game with a majority of black refs work the game, and only 4.954 when the crew is more white.

And yes, my first thought was to immediately jump beyond the scope of the study and think about how white the Duke team from the 05-06 season was. Because my Blue Devil hatred is, pure, white-hot and decidedly unscientific. The whole paper looks pretty interesting, and I'll try to give it a closer read over the next couple of days.