Robert Hampton, American Renaissance, January 10, 2022
Before the National Football League drafts new players, it puts them through a series of tests, such as how many times they can bench press 225 pounds and how quickly they can run 40 yards. The Wonderlic intelligence test is part of the process, and helps teams decide whom to pick. This week, the NFL announced it would stop giving the test to prospective players. Critics have long claimed that the test is useless in predicting success in the league, but the big problem is that blacks get the lowest scores.
Wonderlic grades intelligence on a scale of 1-50. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Sports Economics found that black NFL draft picks averaged a score of 19.76, while white draft picks averaged 27.7. Only one player in history — a white punter named Pat McInally — ever got a perfect score. The 12 lowest scores ever were from black players.
|4||Darren Davis||Iowa State||RB|
|5||Ed Prather||Mississippi State||DB|
|6||Oscar Davenport||North Carolina||QB|
|7||Kelvin Benjamin||Florida State||WR|
|7||Tavon Austin||West Virginia||RB|
|7||Terrelle Pryor||Ohio State||QB|
|8||Bobby Wagner||Utah State||LB|
Black quarterback draft prospects got the lowest scores over the past few years. In 2020, the only two quarterbacks to get lower than 20 were Jalen Hurts (18) and Tua Tagovaila (13), both black. The only three quarterbacks to score over 30 were white (Nate Stanley, 40; Jake Fromm, 35; and Joe Burrow, 34). In 2019, the lowest score among quarterbacks was black Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, with a score of 20. In 2018, Lamar Jackson, another black Heisman winner, scored 13.
This may explain why critics want the NFL to stop giving the test. Sports Illustrated complained in 2017 that the Wonderlic test was full of “cultural and racial biases.” Sports writer Stephanic Mack argued in 2020 that the test is “discriminatory” and said racial disparities prove it.
The NFL is officially blind to racial differences in intelligence. Several retired players sued the league over brain injuries they claim they suffered on the field. Before 2021, the NFL assumed black players, on average, had lower IQs to begin with, so they had to show lower current intelligence-test results than whites to qualify for compensation payments. A lawsuit by black players forced the league to change this policy, and the standards for payouts are the same for everyone. It’s not clear why the NFL did not compare every retired player’s Wonderlic score to his draft score and then make an award to those who showed a drop over a certain threshold.
The NFL was one of many sports leagues that promoted Black Lives Matter after George Floyd’s death. It continued this season. Among other things, it makes stadiums stencil “End Racism” in one of their end zones. Maybe it will make them stencil “IQ is a Myth” in the other one.