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Did you know that Jackie Robinson WASN'T the first African-American professional baseball player? Some of the most beloved stories in sports aren't exactly ... accurate. Let's break down some common misconceptions about the world of sports.

Misconceptions: A curious show where we debunk common myths, mistakes, and misconceptions about the world.


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Hi, I'm Elliott, this is mental_floss video.  Today, I'm going to talk about some misconceptions about something I'm an expert on: sports.  


Misconception #1: Winning the Miracle on Ice was how the US Men's Hockey Team won a gold medal.  The United States national team beat the Soviet Union national team during the 1980 winter Olympics, which we make a huge deal about here in the States because our team was primarily made up of amateur players and there have been like, a million movies made about it.  Because of that, a lot of people think the team was awarded the gold medal after that game, but the hockey that year was actually a round-robin tournament where the top four teams all played each other so if the Americans lost their final game to Finland, which they didn't, luckily, the Soviets would have still skated away with the gold and America would have been left with the bronze.

Misconception #2: Jackie Robinson was the first professional African-American baseball player.  This is probably another misconception that we can blame on the movies.  We make a big deal out Jackie Robinson, so a lot of people just assume that he was the first professional African-American baseball player, but there were quite a few more before him, like Moses Fleetwood Walker.  Most of them played before the color barrier, kind of formal/informal barrier on black players, was implemented, but we know for sure Jimmy (?~1:13) broke the color barrier in 1916 when he pitched a game for Oakland.  The color barrier was only against black players, so (?~1:19) and probably others were able to play professional baseball pretending to be a Native American.  Sadly, (?~1:25) only played one double header before getting fired, either because the team found him out or because he didn't do a great job as pitcher.  It's worth noting that Robinson was a big deal.  Unlike other guys, he played in the MLB for nearly a decade and before that, he's typically credited with segregating baseball.  Plus, he was really, really good.  He was named Rookie of the Year in 1947.  He won a World Series and he's in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Misconception #3: Stoppage time in soccer is the exact number of time added.  In soccer, or football for all you non-Americans, the clock does not stop, so at the end of a match, the referee will calculate stoppage time.  Then, the game can make up all the time spent doing things like substitutions and dealing with injuries.  A lot of people think this is the exact number of minutes added to the game time, but it's actually the minimum.  The referee can add more time if there are hold-ups within the stoppage time.  Plus, they typically wait to end the game when a play or attack is complete.  They don't usually stop at mid-play.

Misconception #4: The NFL is a non-profit that doesn't pay taxes.  The NFL actually was a non-profit for a long time.  In 1942, they were declared a 501(c)6 non-profit, making them tax exempt.  Good for them.  They still paid taxes for a lot of their money-making endeavours though, including ticket sales and TV agreements, plus all the teams were considered for-profit.  In April of 2015, the NFL finally announced that they would no longer be a non-profit organization.

Misconception #5: The Super Bowl leads to an increase in human trafficking.  In 2011, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott claimed that the Super Bowl is "commonly known as the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States."  This is a misconception that has been reported by many major news outlets, but in 2011, the Global Alliance Against Trafficking Women did a study and concluded that there was no major link between sporting events and trafficking.

Misconception #6: Title IX has resulted in complete gender equality in NCAA sports.  In 1972, Title IX was signed into law by Richard Nixon.  The law states that "no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance" and this has done a lot of good.  Only about 16,000 women were involved in college sports when the law was signed.  Now, there are about 200,000 female collegiate athletes, but gender equality doesn't necessarily extend to coaches.  Less than half of women's college teams are coached by women.  It used to be 90%, and in 2012, the salary for a women's team coach was about $98,000, whereas Divison I men's team coaches earn an average of $267,000.  There is a discrepancy.

Misconception #7: Hockey was invented in Canada.  Yeah, Canada would like you to believe that, okay.  Maybe people assume this because hockey is so popular in Canada, but people were playing similar sports in the UK during the 18th and 19th century, though it's worth noting that most of the modern hockey rules emerged in Montreal during the late 19th century, so you get that one, Canada, congratulations.  Canada, Canada, Canada.

Misconception #8: The tiger line in golf is named after Tiger Woods.  In golf, if you hit a shot aiming directly at the green, especially if the ball has to pass an obstruction, it's known as the tiger line.  A lot of people think this is named for Tiger Woods, but the term actually predates Woods, which we know because it was used in a 1959 James Bond novel.  I didn't know they made James Bond novels either.  Experts believe that it's named after model tigers that were on the courses at the (?~4:19) club by Leeds.

Misconception #9: Michael Phelps eats 12,000 calories a day while he's training.  This was a very popular news story back when, well, when Michael Phelps was a popular news story, but it turns out it isn't true.  In 2012, Ryan Seacrest interviewed Phelps and asked if he really ate 4,000 calories every meal.  Phelps responded "I never ate that much.  It's all a myth.  I've never eaten that many calories."

Misconception #10: The black belt is the highest level in all martial arts.  Actually, in many types of martial arts including judo, receiving a black belt just means you can competently do all of the fundamental techniques.  There are typically more belts you can earn beyond black and sometimes a red belt represents a higher skill level than a black belt.

Misconception #11: This show is just gonna go on and on and on because there are so many things to have misconceptions about.  Actually, no.  This is the final episode of misconceptions.  Thank you so much for watching.  I'm not going anywhere, though, you can catch me on this channel now and again on the List Show.  Thanks for watching guys, I appreciate it.