Economist: No To South Africa Sports Quotas

Athletic affirmative action ‘mocks’ merit in racially mixed nation
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2007 5:53 PM CDT
South African rugby fans react to the arrival of the Springbok team at Johannesburg's O. R. Tambo airport, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007. A sea of green and gold greeted South Africa's victorious rugby team...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The World Cup-winning South African rugby team shouldn’t be saddled with racial quotas, says the Economist: It’s exactly the wrong kind of affirmative action and would “mock the principle of merit.” One might think, the piece allows, the South African case would be the ultimate argument for quotas, as rugby “was a totem” of white nationalism during apartheid; but such move would actually hurts black athletes and the whole team.

The black athletes on the championship team contributed very little to the pitch, and quotas like those in provincial leagues would logically worsen the national squad. What’s more, many look askance at beneficiaries of affirmative action in South Africa’s business sector; they would presumably feel the same about athletes. Instead of quotas, the country should invest in aspiring black batsmen and pacers.