"The Black Athlete" page 16, SI 7/1/1968

Black Athlete 16.jpg

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"The Black Athlete" page 16, SI 7/1/1968


expose, cover story, collegiate sports, black athlete


On this page, Olsen engages the topic of black collegiate athletes, where he begins to reveal the “cruel deception” of racial opportunity in sports. Olsen traces the path of a black person recruited to a university to play high-level sports. He begins with recruitment, and sociologist Harry Edwards is quoted saying “Black students aren’t given scholarships for the purpose of education. They are brought in to perform.” Olsen explores this treatment of black athletes as athletic commodities, rather than mainstream students. He asserts that “the aim is neither graduation nor education.” The sense that sports lift impoverished black children out of ghettos and grant them education is incorrect, because “certain truths about the Negro college athlete have been carefully concealed in the groves of academe...” The truths include the lack of qualification of many black athletes to succeed in college due to a broad racial gulf in primary education, the lack of academic rigor placed on black athletes, and the reality that the “majority” of (black athletes) do not graduate at all.” Olsen asserts that the sense of prestige, celebrity and success that surround elite collegiate black athletes is mythical, and the cruel deception begins with the false notion that black college athletes are receiving life-changing education or being nurtured by supportive university networks.


Katherine Brown


Sports Illustrated. July 1, 1968


Time Inc.


Katherine Brown, “"The Black Athlete" page 16, SI 7/1/1968,” Magazines, accessed August 7, 2022, https://omeka.middlebury.edu/magazines/items/show/22.

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