FROM THE DUST JACKET:
"The cliché that sports has been good to the Negro has been accepted by black and white, liberal and conservative, intellectual and redneck. And the Negro athlete who has the nerve to suggest that all is not perfect is branded as ungrateful, a cur that bites the hand.
"However, the Negro athletes do not agree. Almost to a man, they are dissatisfied, disgruntled and disillusioned.
"Black collegiate athletes say they are dehumanized, exploited and discarded, and some even say they were happier back in the ghetto.
"Black professional athletes say they are underpaid, shunted into certain stereotyped positions and treated like subhumans by Paleolithic coaches who regard them as watermelon-eating idiots."
With those blunt words, Jack Olsen begins The Black Athlete: A Shameful Story. He reveals a view of sport most Americans have refused to see.
The Negro college-scholarship athlete, recruited for his skill, finds he must perform better than his white counterpart to make the team. Lionized on the field, he confronts ostracism on campus.
The world of professional sport has offered great opportunity to the Negro, says Olsen, but it has not offered him equality. He still gets less money for doing more than the white athlete of comparable ability; and certain positions are almost automatically "white only," especially those that carry authority and responsibility. In pro football, for instance, "judgment" positions like quarterback, linebacker and center are virtually banned to Negroes.
In this absorbing report, which sparked nationwide reforms when it was excerpted in a five-part series published by Sports Illustrated, Olsen presents the case of the black athlete as a microcosm of the total racial problem in the U.S.
Jack Olsen, a Senior Editor Of Sports Illustrated, is the author of seven books, including Black Is Best: The Riddle of Cassius Clay, The Climb up to Hell and Silence on Monte Sole.
For the first decade of his career Olsen was a newspaperman, specializing in crime and politics. Later, as a correspondent for Time, his assignments included coverage of the Little Rock school integration battle in 1957. He joined the staff of Sports Illustrated in 1960. An ardent fisherman and mountain-climber, Olsen has written stories on subiects as diverse as wildlife in Surinam, soccer in Britain, angling in Andorra and boxing in America.