If it Ain’t White……

I’ve heard some say, “I’m sure its easier for our CIS gender minority counterparts in sports, especially in sports that they are the majority players – Pro sports is a Boys Club!”. Yeah a WHITE Boys club! Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida, has collated and published statistics on the demographics of most major sports leagues. Lapchick published data on diversity in the NBA, NFL and MLB in 2013:

In 2013 in the MLB and the NFL, close to 90 percent of managers and head coaches were white ( though only ) about one-third of NFL players were white, and two-thirds were African-American. Also of NBA coaches half were white, while 76.3 percent of NBA players were African-American. The fraction of African-Americans shrinks as we move up the management chain; 43.3 percent of NBA coaches were black and just 2 percent of the league’s majority owners.

Of the NBA’s 49 majority owners, Michael Jordan of the Charlotte Bobcats(Hornets) was the only non-white person , according to Lapchick. Likewise, save for owner Shahid Khan, the Pakistani-born (Not Black) owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the majority owners in the NFL were all white, 0% African American though about 70% NFL players were African-American.

Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida – 2013

Racism: It’s as American as Baseball and Apple Pie

Baseball’s first all-professional team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, was founded in 1869. Then pro teams sprang up all over the country. Black and Latino players were not accepted onto these teams so by 1880 they formed their own teams and had made professional teams and leagues . The Black Leagues World Series was referred to as the ‘Colored World Series’ from 1924 to 1927, and the ‘Negro World Series’ from 1942 to 1948. After the integration of the major leagues in 1947, interest in Negro league baseball waned.

Black prospects were signed by major league teams, without regard for any contracts they had signed with Negro league clubs. Which decimated their talent pools and therefore their revenue. Negro league owners who were affected by this practice were in a no-win situation: They could not protect their own interests without seeming to interfere with the advancement of players to the majors and by extension ,the advancement of their race. So the Negro leagues, once among the largest and most prosperous black-owned business ventures in America, were allowed to fade into history.

When NBA meant – No Brothers Allowed

From the 1940s through the 1960s, many NBA teams had quotas on the number of black players on their teams. The Continental Basketball Association was founded on April 23, 1946 and had no quotas. So it served as an avenue for minority players and coaches to show there skills. In 1955, the Hazleton Hawks was the first integrated professional league franchise with an all-black starting lineup. In August 1999, the CBA’s teams were purchased by an investment group led by African American businessman and former NBA star Isiah Thomas. The group bought all of the individually owned franchises of the CBA and now wholly owned the league and its properties. That same year the CBA also signed a 3 year television contract with BET to broadcast up to 18 games a season, including the CBA All-Star Game.

However, over the course of the next 18 months the CBA inexplicably lost the league’s partnership it had from the 1940s to 1999 with the NBA ( the whole WHITE Owned and Operated time ). The NBA then began to pilfer all the good players from the league ( sound familiar? ). The combined-ownership plan was unsuccessful and by 2001, the CBA had declared bankruptcy and ceased operations. That same year the NBA created the NBDL. ( Seems the NBA didn’t need a wholly owned minor league for 50 years until a black guy owned the CBA. ) Thomas was given an NBA coaching job in Indiana for a couple seasons. Then misquoted and vilified in an ESPN documentary in 2020 for being anti HIV.

NFL – Negroes For Life?

There are only three Black coaches in the NFL. ( I don’t count Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel’s because he identifies as a “human being with a Black dad“, No Cap. We will def talk about him and others like him in another article ). The number of Black coaches would be even lower if Bruce Arians didn’t recently step down and insist that his former defensive coordinator take over for him in Tampa ( Todd Bowles ). Or if the Texans weren’t basically forced into selecting Lovie Smith because of Flores’ racial bias lawsuit.

The reason for this disparity in representation the NFL says it is due to a “Absence of a report” with these coaches and lack of a “talent pipeline” for black coaches.

“How do you build a Talent Pipeline?” you may ask.

  1. Identify your long-term goals and needs
  2. Develop a candidate sourcing strategy to fill your pipeline
  3. Establish contact with new candidates
  4. Assess your talent pool
  5. Nurture the candidates in your talent pipeline
  6. Prioritize ongoing training and development

The NFL says it cant do this with African American coaches. Though they constitute about 70% of the NFL’s player talent pool. Does it have anything to do with the 0% Black Ownership in the NFL?

“You put the Black people in front of them and they’re still not going to give them jobs, which is going to wind up being something else…. But the ‘we need a pipeline’ (argument) implies that somehow that Black people who coach are literally invisible, and that you yourself are not capable of seeing a Black person and recognizing their capabilities. And if that’s the case, say it.”

Bomani Jones

‘Rep – sport – rations’ ?

African American Sports & Entertainment Committee Website

The African American Sports & Entertainment Committee, a group of predominantly African American business owners and community leaders has proposed to the NFL that it brings a franchise back to Oakland, and become the first Black ownership group in the league’s history.

In a letter sent to the NFL, the African American Sports & Entertainment Committee proposes a privately financed expansion team. Suggesting the league should consider the current national moment and lend its support to the initiative. The group says that there is “no better location — symbolically and pragmatically” than Oakland for the new endeavor.

“It would just be fitting for us to be able to display the rich culture and history of Oakland and the Bay Area from the standpoint of sports and entertainment,

Ray Bobbitt, AASEC member and Oakland business owner

Current NFL rules require the principal owner to put up at least 30 percent of the purchase price in cash. Bloomberg estimates a buyer would have to pay at least $600 million initially to land a team at current valuations. Teams also have a $350 million debt limit.

“We feel like, at this moment, based on economic inequality, the African American community probably couldn’t reach some of the requirements the NFL has now,” Bobbitt said. “So this would be an appropriate moment to make some concessions for us.”

African American Sports & Entertainment Committee

F.U.B.U.

The XFL hosted an invite-only showcase at Jackson State University on July 16 for HBCU football players

The XFL announced Brian Westbrook Sr. as the League Director of Player Engagement ( that’s 5th from the top, making 3 of the top 5 positions in the company held by minorities ) . There are only three Black coaches in the NFL ( Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel’s – identifies as a “human being” with a Black dad – Plus you wouldn’t know he was black unless you asked ). Of the eight head coaches when the XFL returns to the field ( Hines Ward, Terrell Buckley, Reggie Barlow, and Rod Woodson ) 4 identify as Black human beings ( that’s 50% ). As the NFL and multiple franchises are being sued by Brian Flores, Steve Wilks, and Ray Horton for their racist and discriminatory hiring practices.

Somehow the XFL was able to find all these non-white coaches without having a “pipeline,” . Though that’s the very thing general managers and owners always say they need “years to establish” in order to get familiar with Black coaches. Don’t forget, Women hold 8.6% of the head coach positions of men’s Division I teams ( areas where they are 0% of the former player pool ) and they have the same representation as Black coaches in the NFL. A league that’s approximately 70% Black. I don’t know what those numbers mean, but it ain’t good.

Change the Game!

These numbers in management correlate with the numbers in ownership. The current XFL hasn’t been in existence for 6 months, they have’t even finalized team names as of this writing. However the minority owned league already has more Black coaches in percentage and amount than a 75+ year old white company. Coincidence?

America needs to diversify the gate keepers and Owners, and the management numbers will be more representative of the true talent pool. Top down not bottom up, that is how change is made in the corporate world. Now if we could get the WNBA away from the NBA’s male dominated ownership, America could finally truly enjoy women’s professional basketball. But that’s another subject…..

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