Diversity in sports simply means equal opportunities for every athlete irregardless of gender, color, race, or origin. This is what the true spirit of competition should be all about. Sports should not only involve the white race, Americans, or men but also other races and sex(Jackson 2007). Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. , in his report to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said that in recent years, diversity in sports has become very evident. In the world of American football, the Indianapolis Colts, coached by an African-American, won a Super Bowl.
In baseball, the Chicago White Sox, a multi-racial team managed by Ozzie Guillen, a Latino, and Ken Williams, an African-American, won the World Series in 2005. A year later, the New York Mets, who is managed by a Latino manager and an African-American general manager, almost duplicated the White Sox’ feat, losing only in Game 7 of the National League Championship. This goes to show that moves to diversify sports are moving forward(Jackson 2007). The National Basketball Association (NBA) has led the way in terms of sports diversity by opening its doors to other races.
Long ago, the NBA was dominated by Americans or Canadians. Recently, however, one can see the teams drafting players from Europe and recently Asia. The Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Football League (NFL) are likewise starting to provide opportunities for other races which is why spectators would get to see the likes of Alfonso Soriano and Sammy Sossa hitting homeruns here and there(Jackson 2007). Diversity in Sports 4 The NBA: Taking the Lead In Diversity Leading the way as far as diversity in professional sports is the National Basketball Association (NBA).
For more than twenty years, the NBA has become the leader in promoting equal opportunities to all races. Here are some NBA diversity facts and figures as reported by The Institute for Diversity in Ethics and Sports(Spears, 2007): 15% of team vice presidents in the NBA are held by colored people, which is the highest in all of professional sports. 79% of NBA players have colors. In 2007, the number of African-American players increased to 75% which is higher than the 73% recorded in 2006. Employment opportunities for colored people at the League offices were at 34 percent, which is 2% higher than the previous year.
39% of professional positions in the League Office are occupied by women. 12 teams in the NBA are handled by African-American coaches. The NBA’s total of 40% still tops all of professional sports. With 53 African-American head coaches, the NBA has more than doubled the number of colored head coaches in any other professional sports. Next in line is the MLB with 25 colored managers. 41% of assistant coaches in the NBA are colored which is the highest so far in the history of the league. Diversity in Sports 5
There are four African-American CEO/Presidents in the league and two other presidents of basketball operations. To date, they are the only people who have held such position in all of professional sports. In 2006, there were eight African-American general managers in the NBA, which tops other professional sports league. By the end of 2006-07, the NBA had 64 percent white referees, 32 percent African-American, 3 percent Latin Americans, and a single black referee in Violet Palmer. Diversity in College Sports
While professional sports is heading towards diversity, such is not the case in college sports. According to a report by the University of Central Florida, diversity has not been progressing in collegiate leagues. Here are the facts(Belew, 2006): In Division I schools, only 25. 2% of head coaches are African-American which is higher by 2% than the previous year. In Division IA, out of a total of 119 football head coaches, only six are African-American and zero percent are women. In college basketball, only 4. 1% of head coaches come from the minority group with 2.
6% being Latin Americans. The enforcement of Title IX did not help the cause of women in college sports as not a single one of them is represented. Diversity in Sports 6 In sports involving women, most Division I, II, and III coaching jobs are occupied by 89. 6%, 90. 9%, and 92. 9%, respectively. In the men’s division, the breakdown was 90. 6%, 89. 5%, and 93. 4%, respectively, served as head coaches. Diversity in the Olympics The Olympic Games is one of the many sporting competitions that practices diversity in sports.
Once every four years, athletes from various nations converge in one venue in order to have a shot at sports excellence(Guttmann, nd). There are two varieties of this international sporting event namely Winter and Summer Olympics. Contemporary Olympics started in Athens, Greece in 1896, a couple of years after Pierre de Coubertin proposed the holding of an Olympic Games to push for peace in the world. The inaugural Games only had about 300 athletes from less than 15 countries taking part in 43 events in nine disciplines.
When the Olympics returned to Athens in 2004, the number of participants had ballooned to 10,000 athletes representing 202 nations vying in 28 various sports(Guttmann, nd). Women In The Olympics During the inaugural Olympics, there were no female athletes who took part in the Games. Four years later, however, golf and tennis allowed the participation of women. In 1912, swimming and diving became available for women athletes as well. Sixteen years later during the 1928 Games, gymnastics and track and field had female athletes likewise. Since then, the number of women competing in the Olympics have considerably increased.
At present, fifty percent of all teams are comprised by women, with the exception of the Muslim countries, where female participation is minimal(Guttmann, nd). Diversity in Sports 7 The Paralympics Games In the true spirit of diversity in sports, disabled people can have an opportunity to experience competitive spirit and sports excellence with their own version of the Olympic Games. Introduced in 1960, in conjunction with the Olympic Games in Rome, the Paralympics, as it is called, highlights male and female athletes representing six various disability groups.
The emphasis of the Paralympics Games is not on the disability but on individual achievements. Since then, the growth of the event has become steady. From the initial 400 athletes that took part in 1960, a total of 3806 athletes representing 136 nations took part during the 2004 Athens Paralympics Games. Beijing, China will be the cite of the next Paralympics Games(International Paralympics Committee, nd). Conclusion When it comes to sports, not a single nation can dominate all the events.
While host nations of the Olympics choose the events where they have the advantage, chances are other nations will beat them in other fronts. This is what diversity in sports is all about. Fairness and equality in the light of competition.
Belew, B(2006 December 17). Diversity in College Sports – Coaching. The Biz of Knowledge. Retrieved July 14 2008 from http://www. thebizofknowledge. com/2006/12/diversity_in_college_sports_co_1. html Guttman, A(nd). Olympic Games. Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved July 14 2008 from http://www. encarta. msn. com
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