I was flipping through some sports literature and came across this gem from 1988 which explored the effect of uniform color on penalty rate.
My initial reaction was that it might be fairly coincidental that teams with high penalty rates wear black: the Raiders, Steelers, and Blackhawks were the first teams that came to mind. Tables 2 and 3 don’t do anything to suggest these associations are anything other than coincidence.
The comparison of the years before and after uniform change for the Canucks and Penguins, which show two average penalized teams turning into teams towards at the top of their leagues, suggest there might be some cause and effect here.
Further, there’s also some experimentation involving referees and college students at Cornell measuring the aggressiveness of players in different colored uniforms, another step towards cause and effect. I buy in, and wonder why teams with multiple colors (e.g, the Bruins black and gold) would wear black uni’s when that could wear other colors.
Also, I wonder, is it possible to compare penalty rates of these teams when they wear black versus when they wear other colors? Might be too hard with college football; I think Oregon wears a different color every game!!