Sports Romances: POC are magically erased

by - 3:37 PM

Good morning my fellow book bloggers/readers/unicorns. It can't be a surprise this topic is on my book blog. I talk about it a lot on Twitter @thebookvoyagers. And the reason why I talk about sports romances a lot is because I really really love sports. I can tell you a lot of facts about football, some tennis facts, I can definitely follow baseball and basketball, soccer I'm not a huuuuge fan but I can definitely watch and enjoy, but to be honest I can stan every sport because I love competitions and I love teamwork and the story behind those players you see on the screens. Which it is a shame that in the book world somehow authors forget that people of color also play sports... , 

Probably two of the sports most seen in books? Hockey and football. Football? Black players dominate that sport 100% no joke. There are also Latinx players, but mostly we see a lot of black players in different positions. Then why the heck I am only seeing white quarterbacks on the cover of romance books? Or wide receivers? Or runner backs? (These are the usual positions we see players have in books. There also many more positions, give me a safety or a linebacker, tbh I'm biased but the defense is the best side of the game). Ok we do see white QBs but do you know the current winner of the National Championship in college is Clemson and their former QB, who played in that game, is Deshaun Watson, a black man. He then took part of the NFL Draft of this year and was drafted by the Houston Texans to be their starting QB in the upcoming season. 

Want more proof? The Heisman Trophy, an award given to the most outstanding player in college football, the 2016 winner was Lamar Jackson, a black QB who plays in the Cardinals. Like it's not possible to keep seeing on Netgalley more and more football romances that have white QBs/or players in general (and they gracing us on the cover with their abs). It isn't believable. Like I guess you all want white people to rule sports but to be honest, there are sports that it just isn't happening. 

Don't tell me that in a book the hero is one of the best players in college football when (I'm taking it from 2009) when in 6 of those 8 years the winner of the Heisman Trophy has been a black player and in 2014, Marcus Mariota won. (Marcus is of Samoan descent). 

So you see, you can't expect me to believe that in a team inside a book there are only three players of color/black players, that they always get to be the comic relief and authors never write them their own happily ever afters. When in reality they are winners and captains of offense/defense in actual professional football teams.

So many white abs. 
And look at the ratings. Then look at these.

I know many sports romances take place in college in books. We see that a lot in hockey books. There is a wide variety of college books that the hero plays hockey. Now I know hockey is majorly white. I don't know much about the hockey community so I can't comment tbh. But this is a big reason why hockey books are just not... appealing to me. 

One type of sport is not... really seen a lot in books. And that is basketball. Maybe people think they can't get away with keep using white players. Because we all know the best players of that league are black. Basketball is such an amazing and thrilling game, I'm sad to see that not many people write about it. I am sure there are books out there with basketball as their sport, in fact, I even did a list with 5 books that have basketball as its theme. But in the popular section of books, it isn't there, you know? With all the big shots and the Amazon best sellers or whatever, you don't find many or.. any at all. 

Kimani is a Harlequin imprint that does publish a LOT of people of color in sports books and in romance books in general. It's amazing. I recommend you all the check it out and just TBR everything in there. Plus the covers actually show POC!!! I will make a section of books you can read that have people of color as main characters at the end of this post ~ 

One other sport I see little of is gymnastics. But the ones I've read (not many tbh) the heroine always is white. Why is that? I mean sure the big teams in the Olympics are always the European ones, so we see a lot of Russian heroines in books. But you can't expect me to be like oh yeah after two Olympics ago when Gabby Douglas was #1 on top of the world and then in Rio last year when Simone Biles became queen of the floor and Queen of Rio. Also erasing the Chinese team from the Olympics like they are one of the best gymnastics team and also one of the best high diving teams. 

Serena Williams? #1 in the world for so many years in tennis? Brazil's soccer team is the Olympic gold medalist right now. The best F1 racer is Lewis Hamilton. And I can keep going you all... Baseball: The majority of the players playing in the major league [MLB] right now are Latinx. Javier Báez was named co-MVP at the MLB finals last year when the Cubs won. There are so many Puerto Rican and Dominican players in the league and I'm shocked not to see that representation on paper.

I want to believe that this can get better (meaning POC in romances with sports) and there are books that make me believe that it can get better in the upcoming months/the next year to come. However I see readers not picking up those books and instead they prioritize sports romances written by white authors and those books whitewash sports that, in real life, aren't like that.  And it just makes me not want to read sports romances anymore because people come up with the same storyline with practically the same characters but different names. I didn't sign up for that.

Sports is the most diverse thing in the world. Nevertheless the books coming out right now don't reflect that....

List with books you can check out:

- New York Sabers Football series by Farrah Rochon 
- The Perfect Game by Elley Arden* 
- Hearts On Ice by Janae Keyes
- Down by Contact by Santino Hassell* 
- The Art of Shifting Gears by Chi Yu Rodriguez 
- One Spark of Magic by Iris Bolling
- Settle the Score / Hustle Play by Tara Frejas 
- Love in the Red Zone by Love Belvin 
- Love on the Highlight Reel by Christina C. Jones 
- Once Upon a Player by Agay Llanera 
- Right of First Refusal by Dahlia Adler 
- The Shameless Hour by Sarina Bowen 
- Ready: A Novella by B. Fel 
- The Deal With Love by Jamie Wesley
- Slamdunked by Love by Jamie Wesley
- Full Court Seduction by Synithia Williams 
- Crazy For You by Rina Gray  
- Surrender at Sunset by Jamie Pope 
- Well Played by Katrina Ramos Atienza
- All That Glitters by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
- Into Your Bed by Chelsea M. Cameron*
- All Played Out by Cora Carmack
- Determining Possession by Christina C. Jones*

I'm sure you can find more in the Sports section on WOCinRomance [x]
* haven't released yet

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  1. I don't read that many sport romances, so I've never realised this but you've given me something to think about. Would you be able to recommend any sport romances with badminton players?