Second in a multi-part series
The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) suggests that workforce diversity in sport should at least match the percentages of the Black players they have, and at best reflect their communities’ Black populations.
Do the significant decision-making positions in our local teams represent or underrepresent Minnesota’s Black population (nearly 7%) or the nation’s Black population (13%)? TIDES collects data from the respective pro leagues for analysis. We aren’t that scientific—we examine, if available, team media guides and count the Black faces in the front office photos.
Major League Soccer (MLS) got an A on TIDES’ latest Racial and Gender Report Card, and an A for its league’s central office racial hiring, but team senior staff positions (over five percent of color) needs improving.
We found one Black scout’s photo in the St. Paul-based Minnesota United soccer team’s media guide. “As a private company, we do not share our employee demographics,” a spokesperson told us. “However, we are an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified individuals are encouraged to apply to open positions.”
Major League Baseball (MLB) got an overall B-minus grade, but an A-minus for racial hiring. Blacks make up nearly 10% of the MLB Central Office, but the percentages are lower at virtually every team level, including players (8.4%), presidents (0%), GMs (6.7%), VPs (6.3%), senior administrators (5.3%) and professional staff (6%).
Of nearly 120 persons in the Minnesota Twins front office, 8% (10) are Black. Five departments have zero Blacks, and baseball operations (14%), broadcasting (12%) and brand marketing (10%) all have Blacks in double-digit percentages.
”We have been extremely diverse in our hiring on the baseball operations, particularly at the intern level and the junior level,” Executive VP and Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey told us. “It is a real important thing for us in baseball operations and also organizational-wide.”
Falvey’s 35-person baseball operations department has two Black special assistants, two Blacks in security, and a Black analyst. “The key for us is making sure that we get pipelines created into all kinds of different communities,” he explained.
“Baseball isn’t the easiest sport to work in, especially in our PR department,” said Dustin Morse, the Twins’ senior director of its all-White communications department.
Twins President Dave St. Peter added, “We’ve gone through an organization-wide journey around diversity and inclusion, and included a new inclusion statement… I feel real good about where we are at.”
“We are trying to cast a wider net” to become more diverse, Morse said. “We try to find the best candidates in the PR department each year from all over, both educational and experience-wise.”
“We are really struggling finding adequate numbers of candidates, people of color in our pipelines. We have a lot of work to do,” St. Peter concluded.
Next: The Minnesota Vikings and the NFL
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.