Dr Positivity wrote:If there was same proportion of black coaches as black people in the US, there'd be like 3? I don't see the issue.
Shouldn't it be proportionate to the amount of black football players? Otherwise, there should be a lot more black coaches in the NHL
So there's an ugly truth here that is hard to talk about. I'm going to talk about it, but I do want people to realize up front that I don't believe in any significant difference in mental ability based on actual differences in genes. I'm not saying that out of assertion that there could not be, I just think so much of this stuff is about societal background.
The starting assumption is that playing a sport is necessary to coach/GM the sport. Leaving aside rare exceptions to the rule, there is a question:
How good do you have to be as a player to be a good coach/GM?
I think what we're finding is that it's generally a handicap if you don't play on the college (or the equivalent) level. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that if you played age 18-22, you generally got to play for a serious coach, and you were devoted to that sport in a way that most high school players are not.
How beneficial is it to play beyond college? I mean, in the NFL, I don't think it's ever been seen as necessary and in fact playing a long NFL career gets in the way of you working your way up the ranks learning the trade of coaching.
So then, if we look at the proportion of college players - in all divisions - who are black or white, it's probably going to be more white dominant than in the pros, right? That's part of the issue here when we think that the proportion of NFL players to coaches/GMs should be the same.
But of course that's not the ugly part. The ugly part is the idea that the really smart guys are disproportionately white. Where does that come from? Racial bias is part of it, and that's ugly by definition, but the truly nasty thing here is that in general your average black student growing up is not as supported as your average white student, and thus you're probably more likely to be prepared analytically to be "the smart guy" if you're a white kid that comes from a more privileged background.
I'll take in a related but perhaps unexpected direction: I teach at a strong high school magnet. It's dominated by Asian-American kids. It's not the case, in my opinion, that Asian-American kids are smarter than the average white kid (or any other kid), but they are prepared to excel in highly rigorous academics in a way that your average white kid is not. (The contrast between my experience growing up as a middle class white kid who would become a first generation college student compared to what my students experience with their parents is astonishing, and while there are things I worry about with these kids, there's zero doubt that it's an advantage in terms of not just GPA/SATs but discipline and work ethic.)
Last I'll pivot to basketball because I think the really ugly truth here is that basketball may see a more dramatic shift away from black coaches/GMs than football. Because the tendency to reach for NBA players as head coaches is WAY stronger than in the NFL, and analytics is transforming the game of basketball so thoroughly now. The people in basketball are more progressive than in football and in general want non-whites to succeed as coach/GM more than folks in the NFL (which has a lot of pro-Trump white people)...but the truth is that someone like Mark Jackson shouldn't be given a head coaching job without paying his dues and diligently learning from others, and as more franchises realize this, this is going to kill the short cut the NBA had which allowed a more diverse space.
Once a more general form on intellectual tools are necessary for managing athletes, the focus on getting the best athletes to make it work naturally goes down, and makes the potential for a race gap even worse.
2 last notes:
1. I can't imagine an actual hire-an-African-American, get a higher draft pick policy having the desired effect. Leaving aside the specifics, Affirmative Action has driven a lot of white people crazy, and this will bring more of that. (Tangent: I always shake my head at this because if you get rid of Affirmative Action and really try to go by GPA/SAT, you're going to see my Asian-American students take over Harvard and nativist folks will like that even less.)
2. I can't tell you how glad I am that Masai Ujiri is killing it like he is. One guy succeeding doesn't make "everything okay", but racist tendencies get STFU when you have examples that make clear things could be otherwise.