I’ve held off long enough, but it’s that time again to write about the results of Dr. Richard Lapchick’s annual report cards on the pro leagues’ diversity efforts. The other print media use the fewest possible words to mention these Racial and Gender Report Cards (RGRC) on their sports pages because it doesn’t matter to them if diversity is achieved or not, especially when their own workplaces aren’t that diverse.
It’s not like I don’t want to, but annual reporting on the snail-like progress the local pro teams have made on diversity over the years hasn’t much changed. In the Twin Cities, the diversity axiom isn’t how some things change and some remain the same, but rather nothing changes but the year. It’s like the teacher who practices social promotion every year — although the student doesn’t deserve it, they have another class coming in.
I use the same methodology as Lapchick, the Institute for Diversity in Sport and Ethics (TIDES) director who examines data provided to him by the leagues. However, this reporter also uses media guides when available. Major League Baseball, for example, still publishes them the old fashioned way and hasn’t yet loaded them on computers, which makes it much easier to view the various departmental personnel, especially if pictured in color, to see exactly how diverse these teams really are or are not.
As a result, I probably am a much harder grader than Lapchick, who employs the half-full approach rather than my half-empty look when grading these leagues and teams.
No pun intended, but baseball is first at bat: While Lapchick gave MLB an A for racial hiring, a C+ for gender hiring, and a B/B+ overall in his 2014 RGRC, released May 7, he also cites “a concern” over the continual drop in the percentage of U.S.-born Black players as well as a slight improvement in managers and coaches of color.
Let’s look at the discouraging numbers:
- Approximately 10 percent of MLB coaches are Black; Twins — none
- There are 23 Black team executive vice-presidents, senior VPs and vice-presidents in MLB; Twins — none
- Nearly seven percent of senior team administrators are Black; Twins — none
- Seven percent of team professional administrators are Black; Twins — one ticket sales director
- Blacks are eight percent of all team physicians; Twins — none
Finally, to say that our local major league baseball team remains in the Stone Age when it comes to diversity would be mildly understating the obvious. It’s also tiresome to hear the same old diversity mumbo-jumbo from team officials when questioned by this reporter.
On the other hand…
Thirty players from MLB’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), their Urban Youth Academy and the Breakthrough Series were selected in the 2014 MLB Draft, including Tyree Davis, who Minnesota selected in the 37th round.
Current Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks is among four Urban Youth players now in the major leagues.
Lynx players visit Oval Office
During their White House visit last week, President Barack Obama thanked the Minnesota Lynx players “for being great examples for my daughters and for girls across the country.”
The team was recognized for winning the 2013 WNBA title.
“When the Lynx came here after their first title [in 2012], I said I had a feeling I might see them again before I left office,” continued the president. “I just want to mention that I was right.”
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.