The New York Times' quest for social justice knows no out-of-bounds, judging by the front-page placement Wednesday of "Study of N.B.A. Sees Racial Bias in Calling Fouls" by sportswriter Alan Schwarz. Years after failing to secure Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor the right to golf at Augusta National Golf Club, the Times has now turned to the plight of multimillionaire NBA players who get bad foul calls.
"An academic study of the National Basketball Association, whose playoffs continue tonight, suggests that a racial bias found in other parts of American society has existed on the basketball court as well.
"A coming paper by a University of Pennsylvania professor and a Cornell University graduate student says that, during the 13 seasons from 1991 through 2004, white referees called fouls at a greater rate against black players than against white players.
As intriguing as the findings may turn out to be, the Times has often embarrassed itself when venturing into the crossroads of social justice and sports -- most recently with its shoddy coverage of the Duke "rape" case. A more amusing instance was the paper's embarrassing and ultimately fruitless crusade against Augusta National Golf Club for not admitting women, led by then-Executive Editor Howell Raines.
Visit Times Watch for the full story on racism on the court.