Saturday, July 22, 2006

Eddie Griffin - I'm sorry, did I disturb your concentration?

Somwhow we forgot to mention Eddie Griffin of the Timberwolves and his car accident. Keep BOTH hands on the wheel, buddy!

Just how white is your paper's sports desk?

Recently, Richard Lapchick, the brains behind the University of Central FloridaƂ’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, released his report on American newspapers'’ progress toward racial and gender diversification of the employees who produce sports sections. The Associated Press Sports Editors, a group that represents most of the country'’s daily newspapers, commissioned the study. David Aldridge of the Philadelphia Inquirer gives his breakdown and analysis:
Out of more than 300 newspapers surveyed, 288 - 90 percent - had white male sports editors.

Only 15 sports editors (4.7 percent) were white women.

Nine (2.8 percent) were Latino men.

Five (1.6 percent) were African American men.

Not one Asian man, African American woman or Latina woman.

Out of 513 assistant sports editors, 402 (78.4 percent) were white men. There were 44 white women assistant editors (8.6 percent), 22 African American men (4.3 percent), 15 Latino men (2.9 percent), 13 Latina women (2.5 percent), six Asian men (1.2 percent), five African American women (0.97 percent), and two Asian women (0.39 percent).

Of all sports reporters, 79 percent were white males, compared with 10.3 percent women.

And of 298 sports columnists - generally the most influential and desired writing positions in any section - 249 (83.6 percent) were white males, compared with 22 African American columnists (7.4 percent), 19 white women (6.4 percent), three Latino men (1 percent) and two Asian men (0.67 percent).

There was one African American woman...

No one is saying that all white men think the same, any more than all black men do. But the crushing lack of racial and gender diversity in and behind the sports pages makes it far less likely that you will have decisions on stories, and coverage of same, that reflect different backgrounds, and different points of view.

Who, for example, is more likely to communicate better with the almost 40 percent of baseball players in the majors who are Latino - a white male with little or no command of Spanish, or a reporter of Latino descent who is fluent in Spanish, and more familiar with Latino customs and history? (Yes, anyone can learn Spanish. How many do?)

Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star tackles the issue, too:
When I was in college, I was the only black person working at the school newspaper. The editors at the Ball State Daily News asked me to help them recruit other black students to write for the paper. I tried. We tried. We begged. We failed to entice anyone....

The solution to diversity in the sports world is twofold: 1. Minorities need to single-mindedly prepare for the opportunities that are available, because the opportunities are available; 2. The power structure and decision makers need to accept that true diversity is difficult, and they need to do a better job of cultivating, retaining and supporting the talented and passionate minority journalists they employ.

Don'’t expect an overnight success story. Black people have refused to confront and combat the destructive elements of the hip-hop culture, which has undermined our youth'’s willingness to prepare for the freedom we enjoy today.

And the white power structure has two obstacles: 1. It has grown comfortable with having high-profile, token minority employees; 2. It'’s reluctant to deal with the inevitable and healthy conflict created by diverse people expressing opinions passionately.

Wakefield on the DL. Who's that other pitcher they didn't need?

Tim Wakefield goes on the DL with a broken rib. Ouch. When I first viewed the article, it was right next to an ad featuring Bronson Arroyo of the Reds. Double Ouch. - P

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Zidane loses his head, France loses to Italy

Italy won its fourth World Cup, beating France in penalty kicks after a 1-all tie in regulation and two scoreless overtimes. Zidane, playing his last international match, was red-carded in the second overtime after head-butting Italian defender Marco Materazzi. Not sure whether Materazzi made reference to Zidane, his girlfriend/wife/other, his mother or his dog, but that's no excuse. Several adjectives were used to describe Zidane going into today's final: clever...crafty...wily. Add one more: stupid. France was not only a man down, but minus one of its best players.

Adding to France's misery was super striker Thierry Henry going down with cramps, and all of a sudden France was without two of its best penalty shooters once the second overtime ended.

Kudos to Italy, which played a good game and was not distracted once the penalty showdown arrived.