Thursday, November 3, 2022

Are Sports Diverse Enough?

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For the last handful of years, maybe longer, the NHL has been on a crusade to will into existence the reality that "Hockey Is For Everyone." 

Now this seems to be from a purely marketing / fan base standpoint. There are Pride Nights and, in different markets, there are theme nights that include, for example, things like Celebración del Día de Muertos (a Beanie giveaway) by the Anaheim Ducks a couple of weeks ago and Mexican Heritage Poncho Night here in DFW next March to encourage and entice people of Hispanic / Mexican descent to attend a game.

A couple of teams acknowledge Lunar New Year, but call it that instead of Chinese New Year--which, I guess, considering what's been going on in the world. But I don't know if that's gonna draw in the Asian Americans that way... But maybe?

I researched a handful of other teams, but honestly couldn't come up with too many other themes directed at people other than white people.

A few teams are acknowledging mental health, which is great. Many have military and fan appreciation nights. Also nice. But that's not what we're talking about.

Last year, I'd watch the in game promo video about being a fan. Every person depicted in last year's video was white. In a metroplex that is only 50% white... 

Hmm... I emailed my season ticket rep last year and asked her to pass along my suggestion that they include more people of color... And, surprise, surprise...they did.


"Hockey is for everyone"--it's not a reality at all. On any level. Not on the surface and certainly not behind the scenes. Not at any level...

The idea for this post was sparked when I saw that the NHL had commissioned and released a report regarding the diversity within the League--from players to management. The result--hockey is still a predominantly white sport.

You wanna know why?

In my opinion there are three main reasons--the order is debatable:

1) hockey is tremendously expensive to play

2) there's not enough ice

3) and if you want the ugly--and hockey's had a LOT of ugly lately--racist white people are the gatekeepers

Too many accounts of derogatory remarks aimed at players of color have come to light in recent years, and only now in 2020/2021/2022 are coaches and other players being held accountable (to a degree).

That's utterly ridiculous and downright shameful.

The other thing that disgusts me about some of that name-calling--I've read articles over the years that include accounts of parents of white players in the children's leagues are saying these things to young impressionable players of color in front of the kids. IN THE CHILDREN'S LEAGUES.

Excuse me, what?? That's appalling and disgusting and so so so sad.

* * * * *

On the other hand, I read an article about that report regarding the diverse make-up of the NHL...and there was a specific point that I have often thought myself when the topic of hiring more diverse people comes up...

Namely: does skin color matter more than a person being right (or not) for the job?

If three white people and two POCs apply for a given job, and a white person is far and away the most qualified--then hire him or her. If it's a dead heat, well, there are other factors to consider.

Another point the author of this article made, which can be found here, is that the NBA doesn't claim it's not diverse because it's 73% Black...

If POC aren't applying for these jobs, what are leagues or businesses supposed to do?

I realize that POC may not be applying because they aren't qualified because they couldn't get those qualifications because of...being POCs. It's a vicious cycle and one that needs to be broken.

* * * * *

I know, a fraught topic this week, but it's been on my mind, both from my hockey fandom perspective, as well as from my writers group perspective.

Anyway...have a great weekend and I'll try to have something more fun and/or lighthearted on Monday.

Take care.

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