Sports mirroring life, ignoring vendor and economic diversity

Everett Glenn | 2/23/2015, 2:37 a.m.
They say that “sport mirrors life.” The latest example is the sick twist on the death of Eric Garner after ...
Everett L. Glenn, an attorney and former sports agent, was one of the first agents to represent multiple NFL and NBA first-round draft picks in the same year NNPA

(NNPA) – They say that “sport mirrors life.” The latest example is the sick twist on the death of Eric Garner after the deaths of NYPD officers Ralph Ramos and Wenjian Liu. One of the headlines read “NYPD Cops Assassinated, and the killings prompted police supporters to proudly sport hoodies with the words ‘I Can Breathe.’” In a clash with protestors, police supporters chanted “Don’t Resist Arrest” in response to “I Can’t Breathe.”

NYPD brass publicly condemned Mayor Bill de Blasio, Al Sharpton and President Barack Obama.

“There is blood on many hands tonight and that blood on the hands starts at City Hall in the office of the mayor,” stated Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association’s Patrick Lynch.

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani claimed that “the protests are being embraced, the protests are being encouraged. The protests, even the ones that don’t lead to violence – a lot of them lead to violence – all of them lead to a conclusion: The police are bad. The police are racist. That is completely wrong. Actually, the people who do the most for the Black community in America are the police.”

Actually, police departments have consistently been found guilty of discrimination against Blacks in hiring, promotion and workplace conditions, and responsible for the deaths of Black people nearly two times a week in the United States during a seven-year period ending in 2012 according to the most recent accounts of justifiable homicide reported to the FBI. What does the most for the Black community in America?

Sport does mirror life, and Giuliani’s belief is at the heart of the Intersection of Race, Sports & Money in America.

How else do you explain the fact that the same NBA owners who voted Donald Sterling out of their club remain silent about the lack of any meaningful diversity in NBA spending? Or the NFL Foundation’s $45 million commitment to the growth of football while ignoring the personal growth and development of Black boys who will one day dominate NFL rosters? Because “sport mirrors life,” the NFL’s “Business Connect” initiative, like the NBA’s diversity effort, is limited to Super Bowl spending which is actually focused on local businesses and not minority businesses. Despite the conspicuous consumption of NFL games and products by people of color according to Nielsen and the fact that Proposition 209 and similar anti-affirmative action laws do not apply to the NFL or the NBA.

Despite the record $2.6 billion per year the NBA will receive under its new television contract, a 186 percent increase over the current $930 million annually, the NBA’s diversity efforts center on public service announcements during Black History Month and “opportunities” for qualified minority-owned, woman-owned and other diverse supplies to participate in the NBA All-Star procurement process during NBA All-Star weekend. What about the rest of the year?

Instead of contributing robustly to the national economy, Black firms seeking to do business in the sports business industry generally remain on the sidelines of the value chain, generating little wealth, few jobs, low tax revenues and fiscal burdens. The deeper you look, the more sport mirrors society.