Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Mark Costanzo

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Rights Information

© 2014 Jonathan Hendel


This study expands upon the study of racial stereotyping through looking at the realm of professional sports. An athlete’s race, the sport an athlete plays, and the crime the athlete commits were all investigated to determine whether racial stereotyping plays a role in verdict and sentencing decisions. Participants were exposed to one of eight vignettes in a 2 (Race: White or Black) X 2 (Sport played: professional football or professional soccer) X 2 (Crime: sexual assault or performance enhancing drug use) design. The dependent variables measured are classified as “seriousness, guilt, and responsibility” and “sentencing.” Results from this study show that racial stereotyping does still play a role in terms of sentencing. While most of the hypotheses are partially supported, there is no full support of any one hypothesis. Data was expected to support the hypotheses that black athletes will be more harshly punished than white athletes. Results showed that there was a significant 3-way interaction on the variable “seriousness of crime” (p < .05; F(1, 151) = 5.20). The independent variable of crime type had a significant main effect on all of the variables excluding monetary fine and the sport violence variables (p < .05 for all). However, the direction of this effect differed per dependent variable. Race of the athlete only had a main effect on the variable of monetary fine (p < .05) in the direction of white athletes. No pattern was found in the results suggesting that perhaps participants may have responded opposite to racial biases.