From the archive - 10.09.1982

17th August 2012 at 01:00

Playing field excellence, classroom neglect

Leading black sportsmen have accused teachers of pushing them to neglect their academic studies.

Garth Crooks of Tottenham Hotspur, Sonia Lannaman, Great Britain sprinter, and Herol Graham, British light-middleweight champion (pictured below), are among the black sporting personalities who make this charge in a book published by an Aston University researcher.

Dr Ernest Cashmore, research fellow in the department of sociology, says black parents are also to blame for their children not succeeding at academic studies. But the real push towards sport "often comes from school, particularly from teachers".

One black champion after another accuses teachers of having a stereotyped view of black pupils as having a natural talent for sport but not much ability in the classroom. Winston McLeod, the West Ham player whose career was prematurely ended by injury, says: "Any black kid who shows the slightest promise is put into sport and made to concentrate on that. It's as if they're expecting you to fail academically."

Not all contributors are so cynical. Kenny Mower, the Walsall footballer, and Winston Martin, quarter-miler, both remember with gratitude the encouragement they got from teachers.

Dr Cashmore comments: "The part played by teachers in the dynamics of sport involvement shine through the stories.

"But for all their interest and benevolence, many brilliant sportsmen, black and white, would have been lost, possibly wasted in the barrenness of the mundane world."

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