At Some N.F.L. Positions, Stereotypes Create Prototypes

(New York Times) During a screening of a movie about the Tuskegee Airmen on Saturday, it finally occurred to me why the absence of white cornerbacks in the N.F.L. — or the presence of so many black ones — presents a compelling snapshot of the American condition.

Often, in reaction to an article about the lack of black quarterbacks or the lack of black coaches and executives, critics point out indignantly that there are no white cornerbacks, either. The disappearance of the white cornerback has more to do with shrunken aspirations, a lack of confidence and a reluctance to compete.

Cornerback at the N.F.L. level is the most challenging position in sports. It demands extraordinary speed and quickness. Like fighter pilots, cornerbacks must possess an unusual blend of physical strength and emotional toughness, the ability to think and act quickly under pressure.

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