There is no doubt that there is racism and bias in sports. Every single day, players face the harsh reality that they are often treated differently based on their race, religion, and/or sexual orientation. I believe that no matter how much we try to combat this issue in sports, there will always be some level of subconscious bias. No amount of education and punishment can completely eradicate the discrimination our country faces, but it is a good place to start.
Whether or not someone is knowingly or unknowingly discriminating against a player, there should be repercussions for discrimination. I know that I am not alone in the fact that I am sick and tired of seeing coaches, fans, and players getting a slap on the wrist after blatantly discriminating against someone. Therefore, a zero-tolerance policy should be set in place, no matter the sport or age group.
No one should be afraid to speak up when they face discrimination, so there needs to be more open forums for people to share their experiences and raise awareness on this growing issue. Whether it is public, private, or anonymous, giving everyone a voice in sports is important. This also means making therapy and counseling more available.
I believe that combating this issue is going to require more mandatory educational courses. While there are already courses like this set up, there needs to be more emphasis on integrating this information into curriculum, especially among youth. Along with this, why don’t we find ways to monitor sports teams to ensure that there is equality?
Overall, I believe that our country has come a long way in terms of discrimination in sports. While we are a lot more tolerant now than we were decades ago, we all have a lot of work to do to ensure that everyone feels safe and comfortable in their preferred sport. This means teaching people of all ages that no one should be treated differently just because of their skin color, background, religion, or sexual orientation.