Diversity report shows NBA leading sports industry — Except in Minnesota, where it still lags far behind




AnotherViewsquareThe Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) annually publishes the Racial and Gender Report Card (RGRC) reports on professional and college sport to measure racial and gender improvement, stagnation and regression in decision making, and other key positions.

The MSR annually devotes more attention to RGRC author Richard Lapchick’s grades than does any other media in town. No speculation as to why the local pro teams and the state’s largest university diversity efforts don’t merit the same smell test analysis by mainstream media that it does here.

Richard Lapchick
Richard Lapchick

TIDES last week continued its annual RGRC series with the 2012-13 NBA. The Major League Baseball RGRC was released earlier this year, and we briefly reported it.  A quick recap: The Minnesota Twins, as usual, failed in its diversity grade.

“The NBA remains the industry leader among the men’s sports for racial and gender hiring practices” and gets an overall A, says Lapchick, who uses data from the team media guides to base his findings.

Among the season highs:

— The percentage of people of color in team professional administration jobs is up 3.1 percent to nearly 28 percent, the highest since 2008-09

— Blacks make up 43 percent of all NBA head coaches, the second highest in history

— 45.6 percent of all assistant coaches are people of color, a new league record

— There were 15 teams with more than one vice president of color at the start of the season. Charlotte has four Blacks with such titles, the most of any NBA club.

— Women held over 18 percent of NBA vice-president positions, the highest in league history. Seven Black women are team vice-presidents.

— The league office, when compared to other men’s pro sports, has the highest percentage of people of color (18 percent Black, 10 percent Asian and six percent Latino), including 17 Black men as vice-presidents.

— Dan Reed as NBA Development League president joins WNBA President Laurel Richie as two Blacks holding high-level positions.

— Listed by the teams as owners are 13 Blacks, including four entertainers (Cornell “Nelly” Haynes, Jr., Will Smith and Jada Pinckett-Smith, and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter); two Black females and one Black majority owner; 27 Black male team vice presidents; seven female Black team vice presidents; four Black team presidents and two Black CEOs.

— Black NBA referees went up 4.6 percent to 45.9 percent of all referees; this includes Violet Palmer, who currently is the only female referee in the league.

However, as in physics, for whatever goes up there must also be some downs. Such as:

— The percentage of Black players is down almost two percent from a season ago.

— Six of the 13 Black head coaches are no longer on their jobs.

— Two of the five Black top player personnel executives (GMs, player personnel director, basketball operations president) are no longer on their jobs.

As for the local NBA club’s front-office diversity, the bottom-up smell test analysis still applies: new report, same old story. The Minnesota Timberwolves still are stinky bad:  no Blacks in ownership, no Blacks in executive management (president, vice-president, and senior administration); no Black athletic trainers. Sadly, the Wolves constantly stay far behind the rest of the NBA in nearly every key category Lapchick and his three co-authors annually grade.

However, we can report a couple of plusses in the Wolves’ favor: Fifty percent of the team’s assistant coaches are Black, five percent better than the league average. And, by having a single Black female in any radio and television broadcasting role, albeit not in the booth, they helped push the NBA average of women in such roles to five percent.

But when 76 percent of the NBA players are Black compared to only three percent in Minnesota, this appears to be diversity in reverse.

Lapchick and this columnist share the same belief that diversity on and off the court is both a moral imperative and a business imperative. TIDES later this year will release RGRCs for the NFL, WNBA and college sport. Based on previous reports, it’s a safe bet that the local franchises once again will score low grades.


Twins treading? 

After their first two months of sub-.500 ball, the Minnesota Twins finished June with a 13-13 record and their best team hitting average (.261) and earned run average (3.78) since the season began. The month-long stretch was fifth among American League clubs.

Samuel Deduno’s 2.61 June ERA was tied for seventh best in the AL. He is the Twins’ only Black pitcher.

However, playing .500 ball won’t move the team into AL Central contention, because the Twins are now a half-game farther from the top (six games) than in May (five and a half games) and April (then only three games out).


Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman@spokesman-recorder.com.


To see more stories by Charles Hallman click HERE