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Old 08-25-2011, 02:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
thought
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Cool 'Psychic Benefits' and the NBA Lockout

An abstract look at the lockout from the author of Blink and the Tipping Point, two of my favourite books of all time. Malcolm Gladwell is an interesting guy.

Quote:
The Boston Red Sox signed their first black player in 1959, a utility infielder named "Pumpsie" Green.1 This was 12 years after the Brooklyn Dodgers broke the color line with Jackie Robinson. No other team in baseball dragged its feet on integration like the Red Sox. It wasn't until 1965, in fact 18 years after Robinson started at second base for the Dodgers that Boston had its first full-time black player. Why?

Yawkey was not just a racist, in other words. He was a racist who put his hatred of black people ahead of his desire to make money. Economists have a special term they use to describe this kind of attitude. They would say that Yawkey owned the Red Sox not to maximize his financial benefits, but, rather, his psychic benefits. Psychic benefits describe the pleasure that someone gets from owning something over and above economic returns and clearly some part of the pleasure Yawkey got from the Red Sox came from not having to look at black people when he walked through the Fenway Park dugout. In discussions of pro sports, the role of psychic benefits doesn't get a lot of attention. But it should, because it is the key to understanding all kinds of behavior by sports owners most recently the peculiar position taken by management in the NBA labor dispute.
Malcolm Gladwell on the NBA lockout - Grantland
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