Very Trendy: MLB And NBA Hire New Chief Inclusion Officers

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By Doyin Oladipo

  • The NBA received an F rating overall in racial hiring, the MLB received an A-
  • In the 2019 season both the NBA and MLB had at least a $500M increase from the season prior

As sports leagues across the country hit pause on their season to combat social justice issues, the MLB and NBA hired Black Chief Diversity executives to oversee new social inclusion strategies. Michele Meyer-Shipp will run MLB’s human resources and establish its diversity and inclusion initiatives, for a league that grossed $10.7 billion in revenue for the 2019 season. The NBA’s combined revenue increased by $750 million from $8.76 billion during the 2018-2019 season, and Oris Stuart will oversee diversity and inclusion strategies for the league’s brands.

Why This Matters: Chief Diversity Officers may be the first step to addressing the many issues Black people face in the workplace. Meyer-Shipp told Yahoo Finance in June that there are “high levels of engagement around diversity inclusion in organizations” at levels she’s never experienced following George Floyd’s death. Could the “high levels of engagement” just be performative without proper recruiting and retention programs for Black employees across the leagues?

Meyer-Shipp will establish MLB’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, for a league that  grossed $10.7B in revenue for the 2019 season

Although the NBA appears to be inclusive given that nearly 80% of NBA players are Black, head coaches and presidents remain in the single digits. The MLB is more diverse, as 41% players are people of color. However, only 8.4% of the players on the league’s 2018 Opening Day rosters were African-American. Not to mention that the NBA received an F rating overall in racial hiring, the MLB received an A-.

Situational Awareness: Following the murder of George Floyd, the NBA and WNBA stated that social justice would be the focal point of the season, with “Black Lives Matter” painted on courts and players stitching Breonna Taylor’s name on their jerseys. The MLB and its players are discussing how they can incorporate social justice elements into the sport for the shortened 2020 season. However, it took 9 days for the corporation to come out with an official statement following Floyd’s death.

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