The Great Sports Mirage

In sports, seeing isn’t always believing. Despite the high number of African Americans on the professional sports playing fields, the number of minorities in the upper echelon of management or ownership positions actually decreased last year, according to a recent study conducted by Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society. The annual study tracks the racial composition of players, coaches and front office employees in the National Basketball Association, National Football League and Major League Baseball. The NBA is the only league in which minorities hold the title of chairman of the board, president or CEO, with 7% of top management being African American. The other two leagues–the NFL and MLB–have no minority representation at the CEO level.

Majority Owners 1996

 

NBA

NFL

MLB

White

100%

100%

97%

Black

0

0

0

Latino

0

0

0

Asian American

0

0

0*

*Hiroshi Yamauchi, the majority owner of the Seattle Mariners, is a resident of Japan
Source: The 1996 Racial Report Card, Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society, Boston

Racial Composition of Players

  NBA NFL MLB

(1995-96)

Black

805

67%

17%

White

20

31

62

Latino

0

0

20

Other

<1

1

<1

Source: The 1996 Racial Report Card, Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society, Boston
Chairman of the Board, President, CEO
 

NBA

NFL

MLB

 

1996

1995

1996

White

93%

100%

100%

Black

7

0

0

Latino

0

0

0

Asian American

0

0

0

Source: The 1996 Racial Report Card, Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society, Boston
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