This summer, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Miami Heat to win their fifth NBA championship in team history. Yet this accomplishment seems to fall below the outstanding feat they reached, yesterday. Becky Hammon, current WNBA player, was hired to join the Spurs coaching staff beginning next season.
Hammon will be the first female assistant coach in NBA history, but more importantly, she will be breaking down barriers within the professional sports world that is primarily ruled by men. When looking at the three major sports leagues in the United States (NBA, NFL, and MLB), there are zero women working as head coaches or assistant coaches.
And, in another case of possible female discrimination, the NFL recently ruled that Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice would only serve a 2-game suspension for a domestic violence incident he had with his then fiancé, now wife, drawing questions about the NFL’s value of their female fan base.
So, are sports leagues and possibly their teams discriminating against women a fair question to ask? I believe so and this is why.
There are certain rules and processes put in place in these major sports leagues that requires teams to interview a diverse group of candidates for open coaching positions. For example, in the NFL there is the Rooney Rule where teams are required to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs. This has given minority coaches an opportunity to have an opportunity, though it has also been highly criticized for its practices.
Therefore, why can’t professional sports leagues include women in these processes? There are plenty of qualified and talented female professional coaches that are capable of doing the same job these men are doing. Come on boys it’s 2014, lets diversify a little.
But considering that in this country the list of Fortune 500 companies in 2014 consist of 24 female Chief Executive Officer’s (CEO) and 99 of the 535 seats available in Congress belong to women, we shouldn’t be too shocked about this disparity also happening in sports.
We at Latino Giant Sports tip our caps to the San Antonio Spurs for not only giving Becky Hammon an opportunity to showcase her coaching talents on the biggest stage possible, but for stepping up and setting an example for the rest of the professional sports leagues and teams in this country to reconsider their approach in hiring coaches.
Roberto Valdez is the Marketing Director of Latino Giant and Executive Director of Latino Giant Sports. Roberto graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Communications with a minor in Media Analysis. Mr. Valdez is a marketing, public/media relations and social media consultant for numerous organizations in the Washington DC area and Arizona. He is also a sports strategist for high school, college and professional level teams.