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Posted at 10:39 AM ET, 10/27/2011

Black fans, white fans and the Redskins

I helped write a long story in Thursday’s paper about black fans and the Redskins. The reaction in the comments section has been largely negative, asking why we’re so focused on race, what agenda we’re pushing and why we think anybody would be interested.

So, for fun, a brief background. Some editors here came up with the D.C. Sports Fans project probably six months ago, hoping to give readers (and WaPo employees) a deeper understanding of who Washington sports fans are, what teams they support, and how they support them.

We had no list of possible stories, and no idea what the results would say, beyond the conventional wisdom that the Redskins would dominate everything.

So when the polling folks presented us with the results, one of the things that stood out was how differently black and white fans viewed certain teams. With the Redskins being by far the most important team in town, we focused on the differences there. We didn’t do this out of any agenda, other than finding the results interesting, and hoping to understand more about it. I’m not even sure what agenda this would further.

In reporting on the story, Chris Jenkins and I talked to former players (Darrell Green, Dexter Manley, Doc Walker, Lonnie Sanders, Brig Owens, Larry Brown, Pat Fischer, Bobby Mitchell), media members (Jim Vance, Kevin Blackistone, Rocky Parrish, Steve Czaban), other local sports figures (George Wake, Roger Mason Jr., Mike Jones) and a whole bunch of fans.

But if you just want to see the numbers that got us started, I thought I’d present them here. There’s also a handy graphic.

The NFL

Of black sports fans in this area, 71 percent say they care about the NFL. Also, 47 percent say they care “a great deal.”

Of white sports fans in this area, 59 percent say they care about the NFL. Also, 30 percent say they care “a great deal.”

The Redskins

Of black sports fans in this area, 66 percent say they have a favorable view of the Redskins. Also, 40 percent say they have “strongly” favorable views.

Of white sports fans in this area, 47 percents ay they have a favorable view of the Redskins. Also, 17 percent say they have “strongly” favorable views.

The Cowboys

Among blacks who grew up in the D.C. area, 11 percent choose the Cowboys as their favorite team.

Among white who grew up in the D.C. area, 3 percent chose the Cowboys as their favorite team.

Longevity

Among black sports fans who have lived in Washington at least 10 years, 74 percent have a favorable view of the Redskins, and 19 percent have an unfavorable view.

Among white sports fans who have lived in Washington at least 10 years, 51 percent have a favorable view of the Redskins, and 44 percent have an unfavorable view.

Among white sports fans who have lived in Washington less than 10 years, 35 percent have a favorable view of the Redskins, and 48 percent have an unfavorable view.

Daniel Snyder

Of black sports fans in this area, 34 percent have favorable views of Daniel Snyder, and 39 percent have unfavorable views.

Of white sports fans in this area, 9 percent have favorable views of Daniel Snyder, and 72 percent have unfavorable views.

Mike Shanahan

Of black sports fans in this area, 43 percent have favorable views of Mike Shanahan, and 31 percent have unfavorable views.

Of white sports fans in this area, 51 percent have favorable views of Mike Shanahan, and 23 percent have unfavorable views.

FedEx Field

Of black sports fans in this area, 55 percent have favorable views of FedEx Field, and 7 percent have unfavorable views.

Of white sports fans in this area, 26 percent have favorable views of FedEx Field, and 21 percent have unfavorable views.

Greatest Athlete

Of black sports fans in this area, 10 percent name Doug Williams as the city’s greatest athlete, and 2 percent name Sonny Jurgensen.

Of white sports fans in this area, less than 1 percent name Doug Williams as the city’s greatest athlete, and 10 percent name Sonny Jurgensen.

The point is that there are real differences. We found it interesting. And I’m still not sure I understand why these differences exist. No agenda, I promise.

By  |  10:39 AM ET, 10/27/2011

Categories:  Redskins

 
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