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The Color Barrier to the Ownership Box

April 22nd, 2013 No comments

By: *Christopher King

Blog Topic: Minorities in the Corporate World

The Color Barrier to the Ownership Box

There are 122 teams across the four major sports (32 NFL teams, 30 MLB teams, 30 NBA teams, and 30 NHL teams), but only one has an African American majority owner; the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats, owned by Michael Jordan;[1]  yes, that Michael Jordan![2]

In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, becoming the first African American player at the top level of professional sports in America.[3]   It was not, however, until December of 2002, when Robert Johnson was awarded the NBA’s new Charlotte franchise that the ownership ranks of the four major sports came to include an African American majority owner for the first time.[4]  In 2010, Johnson sold his controlling interest in the team to current owner, Michael Jordan.[5]

While Jordan remains the only African American majority owner of a major sports team, there are three other professional teams whose controlling interest is owned by a member of a minority group.  In the MLB, Arte Moreno, who is Mexican American, has been the majority owner of the Los Angeles Anaheim Angels since May of 2003.[6]   The New York Islanders of the NHL have been majority owned by Charles Wang since 2004.[7]   Wang was born in Shanghai, China and immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of eight.[8]  At the beginning of 2012, the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL was purchased by Shahid Khan, a Pakistani-born American.[9]   That’s a grand total of four teams, one in each of the four major sports with a majority owner who is member of a minority group.

The percentage of majority owners who are persons of color pales in comparison to the percentage of the players in those sports who are persons of color.  According to the latest data compiled by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida, at the start of the 2012 season, the total percentage of players of color in the MLB was 38.2 percent, including 8.8 percent who were African American.[10]   In the NFL, the total percentage of players of color was 72 percent, with 67 percent of all NFL players being African American.[11]   The NBA continued to have the most racially diverse group of players of the major professional sports.  People of color represented 82 percent of all players in the NBA, and 78 percent of all players were African American.[12]   Statistics were unavailable for players in the NHL.

It is evident that while minorities are leading the way in terms of numbers on the playing field, there is still a long way to go in terms of equality in the ownership box.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.

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*Christopher King is a member of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race. To learn more about Christopher  click here to visit his page.
[1] Jordan Purchase of Bobcats Approved, ESPN (March 17, 2010, 11:13 PM), http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5003048.
[2] Bobcats Executive Staff Bios, Michael Jordan, NBA.COM, http://www.nba.com/bobcats/executive-bios (last visited Mar. 23, 2013).
[3] Jackie Robinson Breaks Color Barrier, HISTORY, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/jackie-robinson-breaks-color-barrier (last visited Mar. 23, 2013).
[4] Johnson to be Named Owner of Expansion Charlotte Club, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (Dec. 17, 2002, 8:56 PM), http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/news/2002/12/17/johnson_charlotte_ap/.
[5] MJ to Buy Controlling Stake in Bobcats, ESPN (Feb. 27, 2010, 11:20 AM), http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4951410.
[6] Mark Saxson, Arte Moreno a Reluctant Pioneer, ESPN (Jan. 16, 2012 12:24 PM), http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/page/losangelesmlk/los-angeles-angels-arte-moreno-reluctant-pioneer.
[7] Brain Stubits, NHL Rumors: Charles Wang Looking to Sell Islanders, CBSSPORTS (Feb. 17, 2013), http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/blog/eye-on-hockey/21721586/nhl-rumors-charles-wang-looking-to-sell-islanders.
[8] Anthony Bianco et al., Software’s Tough Guy, BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK (Mar. 6, 2000), http://www.businessweek.com/2000/00_10/b3671001.htm.
[9] Brian Soloman, Shahid Khan: The New Face of the NFL and the American Dream, FORBES (Sept. 5, 2012), http://www.forbes.com/sites/briansolomon/2012/09/05/shahid-khan-the-new-face-of-the-nfl-and-the-american-dream/.
[10] RICHARD LAPCHICK ET AL., THE 2012 RACIAL AND GENDER REPORT CARD: MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL 3, (Univ. Cent. Fla. Inst. for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, 2012), available at http://www.tidesport.org/RGRC/2012/2012%20MLB%20RGRC.pdf
[11] RICHARD LAPCHICK ET AL., THE 2012 RACIAL AND GENDER REPORT CARD: NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE 4, (Univ. Cent. Fla. Inst. for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, 2012), available at http://www.tidesport.org/RGRC/2012/2012%20NFL%20RGRC.pdf.
[12] RICHARD LAPCHICK ET AL., THE 2012 RACIAL AND GENDER REPORT CARD: NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION 2, (Univ. Cent. Fla. Inst. for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, 2012), available at http://www.tidesport.org/RGRC/2012/2012_NBA_RGRC[1].pdf

 

 

The Olympics & Gabby’s Hair

December 3rd, 2012 No comments

By: *Staci Pesin

Blog Category: Race & Economics in the Media

I would consider myself quite the expert in pop culture.  My weekly subscriptions to Us Weekly and People magazine would not normally lend to a professional blog topic, but in this case I had the perfect source.  US weekly featured an article in the “Beauty” Section that focused on Gabby Douglas, two time Olympic gold medalist.   However, this article was not published to praise the sixteen year old on her accomplishments as a world champion.

 

During the 2012 Summer Olympics, Douglas was a hot topic in the media for her athletic accomplishments and surprisingly for her personal appearance.  The controversy specifically centered on the African American community criticizing Douglas for her hairstyle during the Olympics.  Douglas was seen throughout the Olympics wearing her hair in a ponytail with barrettes and gel. Her hair was chemically-straightened.  Douglas, according to critics, did not properly represent her culture with this hairstyle.

 

Gabby Douglas is a gymnast, an Olympic champion, a world class athlete, and most importantly, a role model to young girls. She was competing in the Olympics, not a beauty pageant.  The fact that Douglas needs to worry about responding, and in some essence defending herself, for wearing her hair a certain way while competing is “disrespectful and ignorant,” according to Douglas.  I agree with her.  Anything that people say to make headlines seems to be the trend.

 

Actress Gabrielle Union and Olympic athlete Serena Williams have defended Douglas on Twitter.  Hey, if people are “tweeting” you have to be pretty popular.  For Douglas, the negative publicity seems to have subsided, however, the good thing is that she is still making headlines for her athletic accomplishments.

 

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.

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*Staci Pesin is currently the Senior Managing Editor on the Widener Journal of Law, Economics and Race. To learn more about Staci Pesin, click the link to view her page: Staci Pesin

To read more about this topic visit the following website: http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-beauty/news/gabby-douglas-on-hair-critics-they-have-no-idea-what-theyre-talking-about-201298

 

Categories: Headline, Media, Sports Tags: , , ,

Dean’s Leadership Forum: “Diversity and Sports: The History, The Challenges, and The Future”

April 1st, 2009 No comments

This year’s theme brought scholars and experts from around the country to the Widener Law Harrisburg campus to address a myriad of issues related to minority participation in sports and the public eye. Symposium organizers chose the subject matter based on the recognized place of sports in culture and society.

To watch some of the presentations, follow the links below:
Daniel Frankl, Ph.D., California State University Los Angeles and Marie Hardin, Ph.D. Penn State John Curley Center for Sports Journalism

Dean’s Leadership Forum on Diversity and Sports: Marie Hardin, “Sports, Minorities and the Media” panel

March 27th, 2009 No comments

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Marie Hardin, Ph.D., associate professor and associate director at the Penn State John Curley Center for Sports discusses the case of Oscar Pistorius, a South African sprinter and double-amputee, and the IAAF’s declaration that Mr. Pistorius’ flex-step prosthetics gave him an unfair advantage in races. The IAAF announcement came shortly before the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

 Diversity and Sports Home

Categories: Diversity, Headline, Media, Sports Tags:

Dean’s Leadership Forum on Diversity and Sports: Daniel Frankl, “Sports, Minorities and the Media” panel

March 27th, 2009 No comments

Read the text of Dr. Frankl’s remarks: diversitysymposium-sport-media-3-31-091.doc

Daniel Frankl, Ph.D., School of Kinesiology & Nutritional Science, California State University Los Angeles, speaks to the audience about inequalities among minority groups within sports.

Diversity and Sports Home

Symposium: “Diversity and Sports: The History, The Challenges, and The Future”

March 13th, 2009 No comments

Harrisburg — The Widener School of Law Harrisburg Campus will be the site for the Dean’s Leadership Forum on Diversity on Monday, March 16, 2009 from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Administration Building.

Read more