But teams lag behind
The NFL’s racial hiring score went down from last year’s but its gender hiring score went up, according to the latest Racial and Gender Report Card (RGRC) recently issued by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES).
In last year’s report, the NFL got an 88.5% score for race, but this year it is 85%, 3.5 points lower. But its gender score “increased significantly to 81.4%, 6.4 percentage points higher than last year’s score of 75.0 percent,” said the RGRC executive summary. The 2022 grades: racial hiring (B+), gender hiring (B), and B for its overall grade.
Among the report card highlights:
- Four of the six full-time women coaches are women of color, two are Black—Jennifer King (Washington) and Autumn Lockwood (Philadelphia).
- The total number of NFL head coaches of color is up 3.2% from last season.
- Seven of eight POC GMs are Black, including Minnesota’s Kwesi Adofo-Mensah in his first season.
- Blacks held almost 15% of team professional staff roles, an NFL RGRC high.
Only three times in the TIDES annual reports (2011, 2017, 2018) were there eight head coaches of color, and there are seven in 2022, three of them Black. But despite this positive outlook, which includes four Black general managers and one team president of business operations, this is far below the number of Black NFL players, which is 56%.
And there still are no Black majority owners in pro football.
TIDES Director Richard Lapchick told the MSR that the NFL League Office is doing a better job in diversity than at the team level. “I think the NFL diversity and inclusion office is really making a difference,” he pointed out.
However, the league teams as a whole aren’t keeping pace diversity-wise, added Lapchick. “That’s the issue, that the NFL League Office seems to do well but teams lag behind that.”
Diminishing diversity at the W
Now that WNBA star Brittney Griner is safely back in the U.S. after nearly a year in a Russian prison, we can now refocus on a sad current fact:
All five WNBA head coaches’ openings after the 2022 season were filled by Whites. As a result, James Wade (Chicago), Noelle Quinn (Seattle) and Tanisha Wright (Atlanta) have become the league’s only Black HCs in a league where its majority of players are Black.
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.