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Numerous studies have identified and analyzed the existence and impact of racial discrimination on different aspects of United States culture, including the criminal justice system and professional sporting associations. For example, in the criminal justice system, research has found that minorities are more likely to experience a search of their vehicle during a traffic stop especially if the police officer is of a different race than the motorist. This analysis of racial bias can be applied to professional sporting associations, where split-second decisions are made which allows for the possibility of racial discrimination. In the NBA, research has found that referees are more likely to call a penalty against a player of a different race than their own. Evidence of racial bias has also been found in the MLB, NCAA, and NFL. In the NFL, racial bias has been analyzed in several aspects of the association, including fines, disciplinary action, and hiring of head coaches. While several studies have been conducted in these aspects of the NFL, only a few studies have analyzed the possible existence of racial bias in regard to holding penalties. These studies found no statistically significant impacts of racial bias in holding penalties. However, there are identifiable issues with these studies including outdated data and limited sample size. This allows for the possibility of repeated research to be conducted to confirm or deny the findings of these studies and identify whether racial discrimination does exist in regard to holding penalties in the NFL.

Publication Date



Logan, UT


racial discrimination, NFL, holding penalties, athletes



Racial Disparity on Holding Penalties in the NFL

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