Scoring on the Expansion Teams: Blacks Named to Key Positions with Newly Formed Professional Sports Clubs

By Chappell, Kevin | Ebony, January 1996 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Scoring on the Expansion Teams: Blacks Named to Key Positions with Newly Formed Professional Sports Clubs

Chappell, Kevin, Ebony

STEP into the front office of many professional sports teams and it's easy to see a new day is dawning. African-Americans, once considered only good at running, catching, hitting and dunking, now occupy many high-ranking management positions where they can use their brain instead of brawn and handle money instead of the ball.

Nowhere is this trend more evident than in professional sports' six newest teams: the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League; the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies in Major League Baseball, and the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies of the National Basketball Association.

Charles Wadell, assistant director of business operations for the Carolina Panthers, says expansion created conditions that made it possible for the new teams to hire the optimal workforce, a dream-team staff with a good mix of women, Blacks and other minorities. "The opportunity is there to address the issue," says Wadell, who is in charge of generating revenue by marketing the team to corporate sponsors. "With existing teams, you only have a chance to address diversity when positions become available. But with expansion teams, you're starting from square one with an opportunity to obtain diversity."

In 1994, 17 Blacks were hired for front office positions in the NFL alone, and two African-Americans, Isiah L. Thomas and Stu Jackson, became vice presidents math the two new NBA franchises.

And more Blacks, like Carolina Panthers partner Bill Simms, are moving into ownership roles. "I think that the opportunities for African-Americans are there," says Simms, a corporate president in Charlotte, N.C. "It's been proven over and over again that the winning teams are the ones with diversity. There are many African-Americans with enough money to invest in a team. We just haven't let it be known that we are available."

Jonathan Mariner, vice president of finance and administration for baseball's Florida Marlins, says although there is a push for diversity among the expansion sports teams, it may take longer for the established teams to join in. "Basketball appears to have better numbers, but baseball's trying and the focus is there," says Mariner, who is responsible for player payroll and budgets for the Florida club. "Progress with other teams will be slower because there is a slow turnover in these jobs. These are great jobs and people don't just walk away from them."

African-American women are also assuming front-office positions. B.J. Waymer is director of community relations and family programs for the Carolina Panthers. The former television reporter recognizes that by being a Black female she is a trailblazer. "Anytime an African-American woman is given a position in an organization such as a professional football team, she is going to automatically be watched and challenged," Waymer says. "But with that also comes the responsibility you have to do a good job and, in the process, open doors for other women of color."

Toronto Raptors' Isiah Thomas is probably the most widely known participant in the expansion sports teams. The former Detroit Pistons star is calling the shots north of the border as vice president of basketball operations and part owner of Canada's first NBA franchise, the Toronto Raptors. He oversees all basketball-related matters. He believes his role is a result of the growing number of teams. "Without question, whenever the sport expands, it creates more opportunities," he says.

Vancouver Grizzlies' Stu Jackson is executive vice-president of basketball operations and general manager for the team. The former New York Knicks bead coach has been responsible for building the club since the NBA selected the Canadian city.

Noah E. Croom, 29, assistant general manager and legal counsel for the Vancouver Grizzlies, is one of the youngest executives in the NBA. In his position, he works closely with Stu Jackson in negotiating player contracts, administering the salary cap and managing relations with the league.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Scoring on the Expansion Teams: Blacks Named to Key Positions with Newly Formed Professional Sports Clubs


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?