The University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport recently awarded the NBA with an “A” rating in racial and gender diversity.
The Boston Globe reports, “Thirty-six percent of the professional positions in the league office are held by people of color, while women held 42 percent of the professional positions. Thirty-three percent of the coaches and 26 percent of the GMs are people of color. All these categories are higher than in any other men’s professional league.”
Sorry to state what should be obvious, but that’s not nearly good enough.
There are eight general managers of color. One black owner (Michael Jordan). And zero female coaches.
In fact, the league’s visible female figures consist of (1) Jeannie Buss: daughter of Lakers owner Jerry Buss, famous for posing for Playboy and being more qualified than her brother, Jimmy, who will likely assume control of the team; and (2) Violet Palmer, a.k.a. “Queenie”: the NBA’s sole female referee.
I find it offensive that we’re talking about 30-40 percent numbers in this day and age, much less applauding them. Not to mention that women are still paid lackluster wages to dance in swimsuits during timeouts (Laker girls made $85 a game as of 2000).
Better than the other major leagues does not mean the job is done.
Asked why there have been no other female referees hired since 1997, Palmer once joked, “I guess I set the bar pretty high.”
We really could set it a lot higher.