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The MLB Racial and Gender Report Card

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There is nothing that better signals the end of a bitter winter and the beginning of spring like the start of another Major League Baseball season. Baseball has a special place on the mantel of American history. It gained its lore in the Roaring ’20s with the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Rogers Hornsby. It survived to help heal the nation after the Great Depression and two World Wars. It helped push America through the Civil Rights Era when Jackie Robinson became the first African-American player to play in an MLB game. Robinson paved the way for other players of color such as Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Fernando Valenzuela and Hideo Nomo. We now see MLB including women on its coaching staffs and becoming an inclusive leader within the LGBTQ community.

I keep hearing there is nothing more American than baseball and apple pie. I might debate the claim that apple pie is representative of America, but I want baseball to be representative of America’s greatest strength, our rich diversity. On Jackie Robinson Day, The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida released its annual Major League Baseball Racial and Gender Report Card (RGRC). Compared to the 2018 report card, it shows a slight increase in racial hiring practices and a slight decrease in gender hiring practices. MLB earned an A- on the issue of racial hiring, a C for gender hiring practices, and an overall grade of B- on the 2019 RGRC.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Professional baseball used to be one of the most segregated sports in history, with a separate Negro League. The game is now one of the most diverse sports, on and off the field. In 2019, the Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros opened their respective seasons with rosters that included players of Venezuelan, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Vietnamese, South Korean, Dominican and Italian descent. Across MLB, 41 percent of the players on 2018 Opening Day rosters were from a diverse background (African-American, African-Canadian, Latino, Asian or Pacific Islander). This is certainly representative of the America that I love and am grateful to live and work in every day.4

As the TIDES team went deeper into the numbers, we continue to find that the professional league offices lead the way with racial and gender hiring practices with much better results than the league’s teams. The MLB Central Office is no exception, as its professional staff is comprised of 33.3 percent people of color, and 37.3 percent of the directors and managers were people of color. However, the representation of people of color at the senior executive level dropped from 24.6 percent at the end of 2017 to 23.2 percent at the end of 2018.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

I am concerned that MLB Central Office has the lowest gender grade among its counterparts in the NFL, NBA, WNBA and MLS. The professional staff is comprised of only 30.8 percent women, down from 31.8 percent in 2017. Women in director and managerial positions also declined from 33.6 percent in 2017 to 30.1 percent in 2018. Improvement was evident with the increase of women in senior executive level positions from 24.6 percent in 2017 to 26.8 percent in 2018. MLB will need to build a broad and sustainable pipeline to continue improving these numbers.

Like the other leagues, MLB has a poor record of diversity among its team owners. The same is true for general managers, who are among the key decision-makers for their respective teams and are recognized leaders in their communities and across MLB. They have considerable influence on the development of these communities and the future of baseball. It is imperative to have diverse thought, experience and opinions at the highest levels.

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