The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida puts out a series of annual racial and gender “report cards” on professional sports including basketball, baseball, football, and soccer (see a list here) and they’ve recently added a new racial and gender “report card” on sports writers. I’ve reported on their questionable reports before, see this post from April and this CD post from last summer.
Here’s one of the main findings from the institute’s most recent “2013 Racial and Gender Report Card for Major League Baseball (MLB)“:
For the category “Players” MLB gets a letter grade of A+ for player rosters by race in 2013 even though:
1. Black baseball players are significantly underrepresented in MLB (8.3% of total rosters) relative to their 13.1% share of the US population.
2. Latino baseball players are significantly overrepresented (28.2% of all players) relative to their 16.7% of the US population.
3. Asian players are significantly underrepresented in MLB (2.1%) relative to their 5% of the US population.
4. White players are slightly underrepresented in MLB (61.4%) relative to their 63.4% of the US population.
When you have three racial categories (blacks, Asians and whites) that are underrepresented and one race that is significantly overrepresented (Latinos), how does the institute arrive at a letter grade of A+ for race in MLB? Well, apparently, only by adding the percentages of black, Asian and Latino players together to get 38.7% minority representation in MLB, relative to their 34.8% of the general population.
So again, the grading “logic” for MLB’s racial composition seems rather twisted, especially when you consider that the NBA also gets a letter grade of A+ – even though Hispanic players make up only 3% of all NBA players (significantly underrepresented), blacks make up 78% (significantly overrepresented) and whites only 18% (significantly underrepresented). So here’s how I think the TIDES “logic” of racial grading must work – as long as whites are underrepresented in a professional sport, and minorities as a group (or some individually) are overrepresented, major league sports will get a letter grade of A+ for race for the racial composition of its rosters.
Bottom Line: Does this type of mechanistic, head counting of athletes by race/skin color, and then assigning letter grades for professional sports for race, really move us further in the direction of Martin Luther King’s vision of a colorblind society? I really can’t see how it does. Am I the only one who finds this “racial head counting” of pro athletes so simplistically childish and offensive?