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Study: NFL, union grade high in racial diversity

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 24, 2005) -- Racial diversity within NFL coaching staffs and front offices is improving while its players' union continued to excel, according to a University of Central Florida study.

Richard Lapchick of UCF's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport gave the NFL grades of B for race and a D-plus for gender, although the league has a higher percentage of woman executives at the very top than the other major men's sports leagues. Two years ago, those grades were B-minus and D-minus.

The NFLPA maintained A-pluses for race and gender, the best among the professional players unions reviewed. Almost two-thirds of the positions on the NFLPA's board were occupied by blacks, led by executive director Gene Upshaw.

That figure is in line with the racial makeup of league's players, 69 percent of whom are black.

In 2002, the NFL enacted a policy requiring teams searching for a head coach to interview at least one minority candidate. The next year the Detroit Lions were fined $200,000 for failing to comply before hiring Steve Mariucci.

At the time there were two black head coaches. There are now six.

The NFL got an A-plus at the assistant-coach level.

Last season, 30 percent of the league's assistants were black, with 12 black coordinators. Three teams had women serving as president/chief executive officer. At 9 percent, that led pro sports. AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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