Racism in sports has its roots in the history of racism in Europe. Kleg writes, for example:
The Achaeans and Dorians who invaded Greece beginning in the twelfth century B.C., destroyed the Bronze Age culture of Mycenaean Greece and ushered in a "dark age" from which it took centuries to recover. These invaders . . . were regarded as boorish compared to the civilizations of the Near East and Egypt that were already thousands of years old. When these Greeks finally became civilized and developed a flourishing culture, they looked upon others as inferior and barbaric. . . . (Kleg, 1993, 86-87).
It was not until the conquest of nations in Africa that the practice of "chattel slavery" became widespread, and this practice was institutionalized by Europeans in the New World: "The African was different from his European overseer--he or she had dark skin. The association between the inferior status of slaves and dark skin was made and has persisted to this day" (Kleg, 1993, 88).
European racism translated easily to the United States because Europeans, after all, were the founders on the United States. Kleg writes that
During the time European Jewry was being converted into a racial stock and being driven to the precipice of the Holocaust, racism in the United States was achieving a new stranglehold on the morality and social conscience if the Land of Freedom and Equality. The major targets of racism were Blacks, Native Americans, Asians, and immigrants from southern and eastern Europe (Kleg, 1993, 104).
Mosse writes that it was in the 18th century that modern racism first developed. By then, slavery was beginning to spread and flourish in the United States, but, again, it could not have done so had Europeans not already been racist:
Earlier ages had found the non-European ugly and sometimes viewed the Negro as a man-beast. But there had been no common standard of judgment upon lesser peoples, no common ideal to w...