Player’s claims of officiating bias should not be ignored

Release Date: November 23, 2015 This content is archived.

Wendy Quinton.

Wendy Quinton

“From his comments, it sounds like he feels that he is a target of prejudice for being a Redskins’ player.”
Wendy Quinton, clinical assistant professor of psychology
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – A University at Buffalo psychologist says comments by a member of the Washington Redskins that his team’s controversial nickname is influencing the officiating in favor of the opposition could be more than a matter of post-game frustration.

Following Washington’s loss Sunday to the Carolina Panthers, defensive end Jason Hatcher said an unnecessary roughness penalty, the game’s pivot point that nullified a Washington touchdown and shifted momentum to the Panthers, is the latest example of what he sees as a pattern of questionable officiating to favor the opposition. Hatcher questioned whether his team’s name was the reason for the penalty calls.

“From his comments, it sounds like he feels that he is a target of prejudice for being a Redskins’ player,” says Wendy Quinton, a clinical assistant professor of psychology at UB and an expert in the study of prejudice and stigma. “Further, his comments indicate that he construed the questionable calls as discrimination against his group, Washington in this case.

“Ironically, this also suggests that the players, or at least Hatcher, now feel harmed by the team’s nickname,” says Quinton. “This experience – questioning whether treatment is the result of others’ prejudice against one’s group – is shared with other targets of prejudice in our society.”

Hatcher’s bias claim sent reporters scrambling for information on league rankings for penalty yardage, but Quinton says it’s interesting to consider what Hatcher may be experiencing.

“It sounds like he feels stigmatized,” says Quinton.

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