It hasn’t been a sweet 16 months for Floyd Mayweather Jr. since his resounding win over an over-matched “Sugar” Shane Mosely in May 2010. Before long, his life became consumed by a furious combination of civil suits, domestic disturbances and criminal complaints. He’s the defendant in six civil and criminal cases and the most serious — a multiple felony case involving his ex-girlfriend, Josie Harris — could land him in jail for 34 years.
And at 34, Mayweather is in the twilight of his career. But what remains about as indisputable as his 25 knock outs is his status as the preeminent draw in all of boxing. Even with his personal life on the ropes, he is at once one of the sports most respected and reviled figures, an unlikely torchbearer in a sport giving way in terms of popularity and growth potential to mixed martial arts and the mammoth Ultimate Fighting Championship. While boxing certainly has young talent coming after him, he is, perhaps, the sport’s last great personality. Mayweather’s seven HBO PPV fights have generated 7 million pay-per-view buys.
The Racial and Gender Report Card (RGRC) is the definitive assessment of hiring practices of women and people of color in most of the leading professional and amateur sports and sporting organizations in the United States. The report considers the composition – assessed by racial and gender makeup – of players, coaches and front office/athletic department employees in our country’s leading sports organizations, including the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS) and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), as well as in collegiate athletic departments.
The National Football League matched last year’s best-ever grades by scoring its second consecutive A grade on racial hiring practices and its second consecutive C on gender hiring practices. This gave the NFL a combined B grade.
Here are some of highlights of the report:
- The percentage of white players increased slightly from 30 percent in 2009 to 31 percent in 2010, while the percentage of African-American players remained at 67 percent.
- In the League Office, as a result of both hiring and promotions, the total number of diverse employees at or above the VP level increased by 30 percent, from 20 in 2010 to 26 in 2011. The number of female employees at or above the VP level increased by 36 percent, from 11 in 2010 to 15 in 2011. The number of ethnically diverse employees at or above the VP level increased by 44 percent, from nine in 2010 to 13 in 2011.
- League Office initiatives included the creation of a Women’s Network, Diversity Accountabilities and Diversity Training.
- Overall, the percentage of professional staff in the League Office who were people of color increased from 24.7 percent to 25.2 percent. Women made up 27.6 percent of the professionals, up slightly from 27.5 percent in 2010.
- No person of color has ever held majority ownership of an NFL team.
- Amy Trask of the Oakland Raiders remains the only female president/CEO of a team in the NFL, a position she has held since 2005. There has never been a person of color serving as president or CEO of a team in the history of the NFL.
- There were eight people of color as head coaches at the start of the 2011 NFL season. That is an all-time record for the NFL. Five of the six African-American head coaches in 2010 remained in their capacity at the start of the 2011 season. Mike Singletary was fired by the San Francisco 49ers at the end of the 2010 season. For the 2011 season, the Oakland Raiders hired African-American head coach Hue Jackson, while the Minnesota Vikings hired African-American head coach Leslie Frazier. Also, the Carolina Panthers hired the NFL’s only Latino head coach, Ron Rivera.
- The NFL started the 2011 season with five African-American general managers for the fifth consecutive season. One of the five, Jerry Reese, became the first African-American general manager to win a Super Bowl when the New York Giants won in 2008.
- When Pittsburgh won the 2009 Super Bowl, Mike Tomlin became the second African-American head coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl championship in three years. Tony Dungy coached the Indianapolis Colts to a victory in the 2007 Super Bowl.
- Seven out of the last 10 Super Bowl teams have had either an African-American head coach or general manager: coaches Tony Dungy (Colts), Lovie Smith (Bears), Mike Tomlin (Steelers, twice) and Jim Caldwell (Colts) and GMs Jerry Reese (Giants) and Rod Graves (Cardinals).
- The number of female vice presidents on NFL teams remained at 25. Pamela Browner-White of the Philadelphia Eagles remains the only woman of color to hold a vice president position on an NFL team.
- People of color held 16 percent of senior administrator positions on NFL teams in 2010, compared to 17 percent in 2009. The percentage of the total senior administrator positions on NFL teams held by women increased to 21 percent in 2010 from 17 percent in 2009.
- The percentage of women in professional administrative positions increased 1 percentage point to 29 percent in 2010, marking the third consecutive year it was recorded below 30 percent.
- Latino and African-American radio and television broadcasters both decreased for the second consecutive year. Latinos decreased from 16 percent to 13 percent, while African-Americans decreased from 11 percent to 8 percent.
The Racial and Gender Report Card is issued sport-by-sport. The National Football League Racial and Gender Report Card follows the Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and Women’s National Basketball Association studies and is the fourth report issued in 2011. The NFL Report Card will be followed by Report Cards on Major League Soccer and College Sport. The complete Racial and Gender Report Card will be issued thereafter.
“My brother died on 9/11, but Sept. 10 stands out because I don’t remember it at all”
By Shaun Powell
ESPN New York
My daughter Victoria awakened early that Tuesday morning and put on a rose dress, the color of her mood. She was eager and also nervous, because it was her first day of pre-kindergarten, Christmas in September for a 3-year-old. Let’s go, daddy, she said. Can’t be late. She took me by the thumb, dragged me out of the house, pulled me into the gorgeous and, as it turned out, deceitful sunshine that kissed us on the doorstep.
The school was less than a quarter-mile from our New Jersey home. I walked. She skipped. She was too short to notice the view from the road, a panoramic snapshot of the tip of Lower Manhattan, 14 miles away. It was a speck in the distance except for the Twin Towers, permanently aligned together like a middle and index finger. The peace sign.
She didn’t want me to return home. At that age, kids are clingy, and she stayed tattooed to my right calf in the schoolyard for five minutes. Then 10. I suddenly knew how Alonzo Mourning felt years ago, trying to shake his shin free of Jeff Van Gundy. It will be OK, I gently assured Victoria, before she reluctantly released, allowing my blood to resume circulation. That’s all I thought about on the way home, laughing at her terrified reaction, totally oblivious to the updated view of the Towers, the peace sign suddenly transformed into a pair of matchsticks.
Poured a glass of juice, turned on the radio for two seconds, then rushed out of the house, back to the street, to the curb to look eastward at the charcoal New York sky. Then ran back into the house just in time to hear the Pentagon was hit, too. The Pentagon! That’s where my younger brother Scott works.
“He hasn’t called yet, but don’t worry,” my mother assured me from Washington, D.C. “The phone lines are down. Your brother will call. He always does.”
NABJ Member Roy S. Johnson comments on ESPN.com on how Tim Tebow joins the ranks of plenty of black quarterbacks who have faced the same questions and criticisms as the Broncos’ youngster.
Tim Tebow ought to go out and get a big ole tattoo. And have his ear pierced while he’s at it. (Better yet, some other much more intriguing body part.)
Heck, he might as well do something a few NFL owners (or at least one) seem to believe is associated with some fan-unfriendly aspect of black culture. Because the way he’s been talked about in recent weeks, you’d think the Denver Broncos’ third-string (or 2.5-string) quarterback was black.
“He can’t play. He can’t throw. … What [former Broncos coach] Josh McDaniels saw in him God only knows. Maybe God does know — because the rest of us don’t.” –Former NFL QB and current radio host Boomer Esiason