“The NBA remains the industry leader among men’s sports for racial hiring practices,” states TIDES Director Richard Lapchick of his latest RGRC released July 14 that gives the league an A-plus. “The NBA more than understands that diversity and inclusion are business imperatives.”
Using our Steve Harvey voice, this year’s RGRC survey highlights says:
- 19 Black male and eight Black female vice-presidents at the league level
- One Black team owner and 23 Black minority owners (20 males, three females)
- 55 Black team vice-presidents, 21 of them Black females
- Almost a four percent increase in people of color in team senior roles and professional administration positions from 2014-15 to 2015-16
However, there were some down sides in the report: Eight Black head coaches began the 2015-16 season, and four were hired during the season. But six were fired at season’s end, including Sam Mitchell in Minnesota, and two Blacks were hired before the end of the 2016 playoffs.
Speaking of 600 Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis, the local NBA franchise once again gets an ‘NB’ grade (none or barely) for its consistently dismal racial hiring. Seemingly the “diversity and inclusion” understanding that Lapchick earlier referred to has yet to reach the Wolves organization. This past spring they took out their diversity broom and swept out what little color they had with the firings of Mitchell and general manager Milt Newton, among others.
“There were notable declines for people of color, especially among head coaches and general managers,” noted Lapchick.
The RGRC’s main purpose, according to Lapchick, is “to indicate areas of improvement, stagnation and regression in the racial and gender composition of professional and college sports personnel.” We share this purpose as well, which explains why the Wolves over the years have yet to receive from this columnist a high letter grade as we have consistently tracked the team’s see-saw diversity hiring practices.
It’s 2016 after all, and Lapchick’s annual reports have existed for nearly two decades. There’s really no excuse for the Wolves organization’s diversity hiring record having been so dismal, save for occasional blips.
Their ‘one-step-forward, eight-steps-back” approach to hiring Blacks in key front office positions should be called out. Even as the new persons in charge at the Wolves have their right to hire who they want, why is it that whenever there is a change, they can’t find anyone of color, especially someone Black, that they want in their organization who isn’t a player?
Lapchick announced that a first-ever “women in leadership positions” report card in international sport will be released August 1, as well as annual NFL, WNBA, Major League Soccer, and college sport RGRCs forthcoming in the weeks ahead. Will the other local pro and college teams show more improvement than their fellow Timberwolves, or will it be the same old story?
To quote Harvey, “The survey says…”
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to email@example.com.
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.