Study: NFL Draws Best Grade for Diversity Hiring

CBS News, September 13, 2012

The NFL received its highest grade for diversity hiring practices but still has work to do.

The annual report by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport on Thursday gave the league its third consecutive A grade on racial hiring and its first C-plus for gender hiring—it drew C’s the past three years. The combined B score of 82.3 percent is tops for the NFL.

Richard Lapchick, the main author, attributes the improvement to what he sees as a push from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his key managers.

“I think that it’s definitely all the commissioner can really do in addition to encouraging inclusion on the teams,” Lapchick said. “He can’t influence their hiring or shape the specific direction of teams. But I think by bringing in diverse voices that is definitely his thinking in the league office.”

Last spring, the NFL launched the Women’s Interactive Network to help accelerate career advancement for women in the NFL. It joined the NFL Diversity Council (established in 2002) and six other programs aimed at fostering greater diversity.

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At the team level, the percentage of people of color with senior administrator positions remained constant in 2011 at 16 percent. {snip}

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On the field, half of last season’s playoff teams had either an African-American head coach or general manager.

The NFL is enjoying historic gains in racial diversity among its head coaches, with eight head coaches of color beginning the 2011 season—a league record. The number dipped to six to begin 2012, with Carolina’s Ron Rivera remaining the NFL’s only Latino head coach.

But those losses come as the number of African-American general managers increased from five in 2011 (16 percent) to six (19 percent) to begin 2012. {snip}

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Lapchick pointed to a milestone that may have important implications: Shahid Khan, a Pakistani-born American businessman, became the league’s first majority owner of color.

“Clearly, on the one level, it’s something a lot of people have been waiting for,” Lapchick said. “All these things are incredibly symbolic for the game. And people of color that have aspirations to be included definitely look at that as being very important.”

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