WNBA again earns top grades for gender and racial diversity


The WNBA has since its inception been the sports industry leader for racial and gender hiring practices. It recently got an A for its overall race, gender and combined grades for the 13th consecutive year from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES).

The league received five A-plus grades in five categories for gender, including head coaches, assistant coaches, general managers, head trainers and the WNBA League Office. “The WNBA continues to lead the way in terms of racial and gender diversity amongst all professional leagues,” wrote TIDES Director Richard Lapchick in the 2017 TIDES “Racial and Gender Report Card” that was released on November 15.

“The WNBA again received the highest number of A’s as well as the lowest number of grades below an A in all categories compared to men’s professional leagues,” the report says. However, this fact is constantly overlooked, ignored, or possibly both by the mainstream male sports media. Nonetheless, let’s look at the report highlights:

  • Nine people of color are WNBA franchise owners, including Earvin Johnson (Los Angeles) and Sheila Johnson (Washington).
  • The percentage of people of color “increased significantly” from 26 percent in 2016 to over 51 percent this year.
  • Two of four newly created front office positions held by former W players are Black females — Tamika Catchings (Indiana) and Swin Cash (New York), both as franchise development directors.
  • There was a two-person increase in Black head coaches in 2017. However, since the report’s release, two Black head coaches were dismissed and replaced by Whites.
  • The number of Black general managers in 2017 increased by one. Last week, Pokey Chatman was named Indiana GM and joins Amber Stocks (Chicago) as the league’s only Black female dual coach-GMs.
  • Assistant coaches of color increased from 47.8 percent in 2016 to a record 53.8 percent in 2017.
  • Black senior team administrators leaped from 12 percent to 20 percent.
(Twitter/Richard Lapchick)

This shows “the power of a truly inclusive organization,” Lapchick told the MSR. “I feel confident that the WNBA will sustain the powerful diversity of their league for years to come. The WNBA significantly distinguishes itself in its gender hiring practices.

“I am thankful that we have one organization composed of individuals who are not afraid to act on what they believe in and who serve as an example of the power of sport,” said the TIDES director.

Gophers volleyball reaches Sweet 16

The Minnesota volleyball team faces USC in the NCAA Sweet 16 in Gainesville, Florida this weekend. Last weekend the Gophers knocked off North Dakota and Northern Iowa at the Maturi Pavilion.

“It was a great night of volleyball — two teams going at it,” Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon told the media, including the MSR, after his squad’s 3-1 win over Northern Iowa to improve to 28-5. “It was one of our best performances of the year.”

Sophomore Alexis Hart had a game-high 20 kills. She was named All-Big Ten last week. “She’s a great player,” teammate Stephanie Samedy said of Hart. “She had a lot of confidence, and it really paid off.”

Samedy, the Clermont, Florida freshman, was a unanimous All-Big Ten selection and was also named to the conference All-Freshman team.  She told the MSR that the USC match will be played just a couple hours from her home.

“It’s kind of crazy,” Samedy admitted. “Now I go back as a different person, a different player, and have grown so much with this amazing team.”


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