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Richard Lapchick, the current director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida, released the 2014 Racial and Gender Report Card indicating that the National Basketball Association continues to remain the leader of professional sports for diversity in sports business.
Since diversity is a product of racial, gender and ethnic differences, the NBA continually aims to develop the league’s reputation for leading and achieving diversity in professional sports. To continue to enhance promotion of diversity, the NBA aims to set a great example for other sports leagues to follow.
According to a recent report by TIDES, the annual Racial and Gender Report confirmed that the NBA received an A-plus for racial hiring and B-plus for gender hiring. Overall, the league received an A for the grade. This has been the NBA’s sixth consecutive league received A for the overall grade.
USA Today reported last Tuesday that the league received 96.6 points for racial hiring and 85.5 points for gender hiring, and yet the league received 91 points for the overall hiring grade. Although the NBA maintained a strong racial diversity, the league still needs to seek on improving gender hiring.
“The NBA remains the industry leader among men’s sports for racial hiring practices,” Lapchick said. “While they do well overall for gender, especially in the League Office, women are still not well represented at the senior team levels. Nonetheless, no other men’s league reaches the same points for race, gender, or combined score.”
There are no other major professional sports organizations in diversity better than the NBA, however, as Lapchick wrote on the Sports Business Journal, “the MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell are passionate about issues of diversity and inclusion and it shows in the recent improvement in the records of their leagues.”
Despite the fact that women are participating in the male dominated sports industries, unlike the NBA, the gender hiring of the MLB and NFL is moderately decent. Averagely, these leagues received a C for the grade of gender hiring. Clearly, the lack of hiring women for the senior level position in professional sports has been extremely unsatisfactory.
The sports world may not realize that being a female executive plays a significant role in leading and motivating not only the team but the league as well. In order to improve gender diversity, commissioners need to be strongly emboldened to seek and discover talented women for the position of senior management.
Since the increasing diversity has driven the NBA into one of the leading organizations in professional sports, the commissioners from the MLB, NFL, or other sports leagues should be able to follow the NBA for the best interest to learn how to create an environment where all workforces of a variety of racial, gender, and ethnic backgrounds can prosper in the sports business.
According to USA Today, the NBA has women who held 40.9 percent of all professional sports in the NBA league office. Additionally, the NBA has two women (Matina Kolokotronis of the Sacramento Kings and Jeanie Buss of the Los Angeles Lakers) who held the significant role of president for a NBA franchise.
Having owners of color in professional sports is a rarity, however the NBA has two owners of color: Michael Jordan of the Charlotte Hornets and Vivek Ranadive of the Sacramento Kings. It may be a small number of sports organizations that has owners of color but having owners of color in professional sports is crucial to develop diversity.
General diversity can enhance workforce performance on jobs, access to resources, and relationship with customers. Although racial diversity in professional sports is extremely optimistic, gender hiring is moderately floundering. The commissioners need to seek and discover great benefits of racial and gender diversity for personnel in professional sports.
Continuing to keep diversity in professional sports can be difficult to achieve in sports business, but commissioners can use the NBA’s examples of how to create racial and gender diversity so the other sports leagues can follow and obtain some ideas on how to develop numerous diversity strategies effectively.
“One of the things for me that is encouraging as I look at racial and gender issues across society is that there is a league like the NBA that you can look to, not only in sport, but in corporate America…to be a welcoming environment,” Lapchick said. “They’ve changed the numbers, but they changed the culture as well.”
[Photo Credit: AP/Bill Haber]