Most Sports Organizations Are Far from Achieving Racial, Gender Equity
Only the WNBA and the NBA are close to genuine equity when it comes to opportunities for women and people of color in professional and decision-making positions in pro, Olympic and college sports, according to a report released last month. The two organizations were the only ones to receive A’s in the Center for the Study of Sport in Society’s annual Racial and Gender Report Card.
Issued annually by the center based at Northeastern University in Boston, the Report Card is a comprehensive research document analyzing the hiring practices of women and people of color in the NBA, NFL, Major League Baseball, NHL, Major League Soccer, the WNBA, and the NCAA and its member institutions. This year’s version includes for the first time the U.S. Olympic Committee and its National Governing Bodies. Grades are based on racial and gender makeup of members in the industry.
In the 2001 report, when grades for race and gender were combined, the WNBA and NBA were the only leagues above mid-range C averages. No category surveyed received less than a C for race. But only the WNBA had an A for gender, contrasting with Major League Baseball, the NFL and Major League Soccer, which all earned D’s in that category.
“As in society itself, we have a long way to go to achieve equality in sport,” says Dr. Richard Lapchick, founder and director of the center and lead author of the study.
Lapchick also cited the best piece of individual news regarding race. “There are now 20 head coaches or managers of color in the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball,” he says. “As our most visible off the field position, perhaps this will lead the way to more breakthroughs in other areas of our front offices and athletic departments.”
There were also record numbers in both the NBA with 10 (34 percent) African Americans as head coaches and in the 2001 Major League Baseball season with six African Americans and one Latino manager (23 percent). In the NFL there are currently three (10 percent) African American head coaches.
For the complete report, visit <www.sportinsociety.org>.
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