Study: Black Jerseys Lead To More Penalties In NHL

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 24: Jamie Benn #14 of the Dallas Stars celebrates his goal with Trevor Daley #6 during play against the Calgary Flames at American Airlines Center on March 24, 2012 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

With the Dallas Stars contemplating a change to the current jerseys, fans have really been focused on one thing: they need more green. What has gone overlooked, perhaps, is the fact that the Stars currently have a home black jersey that obviously and empirically leads to an unfair advantage for the opposing team. The reason for this, of course, is that darker (and specifically, black) jerseyslead to more penalties for the teams that wear them.

"Quasi-experimental evidence", as presented by the Psychology departments at University of Florida and the University of Chicago, suggest that "black jerseys are associated with more aggression and that white jerseys are associated with less."

The NHL has conducted similar research in the past and the results were inconclusive, specifically because teams primarily wore darker jerseys on the road -- where road teams will generally get called for more penalties anyways. With the rule changes in 2003 leading to more home teams wearing the darker jersey (and some teams, like the Stars, wearing black) researchers were able to conduct a better experiment that tied penalties to actual jersey instead of home and away team.

The results, compiled from researching 52,098 games from the last 25 seasons, state that teams that were black jerseys are penalized more often than teams that wore white. This isn't about "darker" jerseys -- this is about teams that wear black.

"There is this very strong cultural association that comes through in how we think about colors in terms of white being associated with good and black with bad," Webster said in an interview. "Many of us are raised from childhood with some of these associations. And over time, we develop a kind of cognitive bias. That's been shown time and time again in social psychology."

Now, one reason for this could be the fact that teams like the Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks all wear black jerseys. All three teams are known for their aggression and hostility on the ice; it's just how the teams have been built. It's possible this has skewed the numbers a bit.

The most obvious answer, of course, is that the evil black jerseys are swaying the opinions of the officials in favor of the "good guys." The Stars need to change colors and fast, or else the special teams situation will only continue to get worse.

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