ESPN’s Outside the Lines reports that for the upcoming 2016 MLB season, there is the possibility that there will not be any African American managers. The Washington Nationals are said to be in pursuit of a manager and their list has boiled down to two candidates: veteran skippers Bud Black and Dusty Baker. Currently, there is only one minority manager (skipper Fredi Gonzalez of the Atlanta Braves) out of all 30 teams.
Commissioner Rob Manfred has expressed concern over this issue and believes that the solution to this problem is to have more minority candidates hired at entry-level positions.
“I think it starts with respect to entry-level jobs,” Manfred said Tuesday on Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio. “We’ve been engaging with the clubs as they go through the fall and begin to rebuild front offices — there’s various people moving around and get promoted — that there needs to be significant minority representation at entry-level jobs.”
“And the reason I think those entry-level jobs are so important is it helps us build a pipeline of qualified diversity candidates — male, female, African-American, Latino — who are available to interview for top jobs. I don’t think you can just start at the top.”
If the projections for the upcoming season come true, it would be the first time in nearly 30 years since there weren’t any African-American managers managing a team.
Thoughts on Diversity in Sports
The “Selig rule” (dubbed by Commissioner Manfred) – a rule that gives minorities more opportunities at obtaining managerial positions – is absolutely necessary for the MLB and is necessary for all sports. Similar to the NFL’s Rooney Rule, it gives minorities a chance at leading an organization, which every qualified person for a job deserves: a chance. However, both of these rules only guarantee minorities an interview for a job in these positions, not the job themselves (as it should be, otherwise there would be racial discrimination against Caucasians).
Although it is hard to believe that there is currently only one minority manager in the MLB, it is not the end of the world and it doesn’t mean that the MLB is discriminating against minority candidates. If anything, all teams (in any sport) should be focused on hiring people based on their ability to actually do a job and not the skin color they were born with but such is the world we live in. It is undeniable that sports are microcosms of society, so as long as racial discrimination (and racism for that matter) exist in society, it will continue to exist in sports by default.
The MLB’s scramble to find minority candidates for teams and Commissioner Manfred coming out and saying that there needs to be more minority representation amongst teams are pretty ridiculous. Who knows, maybe teams are just fine with the people they currently have or maybe there just aren’t many qualified minority candidates out there. Both possibilities could exist so there isn’t any reason to get your pitchforks and torches and to start yelling “racism.” We have to remember that the world doesn’t owe anyone a job, so as Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers once said when everyone thought he and his team were done one season: “relax.” Instead of being paranoid about racial discrimination, we should be focusing on that thing called the World Series because so far, it looks like it is going to be really good.