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Racial Equality in France and the United States: Media Coverage of Professional Tennis Players

I engage debates about racial media bias by analysing newspaper coverage of professional tennis players in France and the United States. Tennis is an elite sport that typically does not have many non-white players and may be especially sensitive to racial boundaries. Tennis also offers a new solution to the methodological challenge of establishing that any difference in newspaper coverage across racial groups is due to bias and not actual differences across the groups. I use the professional tennis ranking system, which assigns an objective marker of how good a player is (and therefore the media coverage that s/he should receive) at any point in time. I explore two types of bias (the amount and tone of media coverage) and uncover no systematic racial differences in the relationship between ranking and media coverage. My findings have several implications for our understanding of racial boundaries and the media.