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Activity Number: 43 - SPEED: Statistics in Sports; Physical Activity/Sleep Studies, and Nonparametrics Part 1
Type: Contributed
Date/Time: Sunday, July 28, 2019 : 2:00 PM to 3:50 PM
Sponsor: Section on Statistics in Sports
Abstract #306821 Presentation
Title: Is There Racial Bias in NFL Roughing the Passer Calls?
Author(s): Nilesh Shah*
Companies: University of Pittsburgh
Keywords: NFL; disparities; racism; roughing the passer

Racial disparities are pervasive in society, and sports are no exception. In the NFL, racial disparities exist in many areas, including the quarterback position. Approximately 80% of NFL quarterbacks are white despite the fact that the league is 70% black, a result of the past legacy of racist attempts to exclude black players from playing the position as well as more implicit biases that persist today. In this context, I investigated whether there is a racial bias in the calling of roughing the passer penalties. Using nflscrapR play by play data from 2009-2017, I quantified the frequency of roughing the passer calls per hit using penalties, sacks, and quarterback hits. I then examined whether white quarterbacks and black quarterbacks were beneficiaries of roughing the passer calls in similar proportions. I also examined if there were any longitudinal trends in the given time frame. The results of the analysis showed that there is no apparent racial bias in the calling of roughing the passer penalties between white and black quarterbacks in the NFL during this time frame.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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