Race Relations Theories: Implications for Sport Management

in Journal of Sport Management
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There have been many discussions about diversity and the value that it brings to the workplace (Ely & Thomas, 2001). Although sport has been deemed a model of diversity, where people of different races and ethnicities comingle as participants and spectators, there is a serious disconnect between perceptions of this diversity and the reality that defines the lack of racial diversity in the management (i.e., coaching and leadership) of sport. The purpose of this essay is to provide an exploration and analysis of the varied ways in which race may influence sport management experiences and opportunities. We frame this analysis through race relation theory, symbolic racism theory, social distance theory, and the concepts of segregation and power. The inferences and implications of our essay are centered on the undercurrent of the status of African American men in sport leadership, who are severely under-represented despite their prominent contribution to the financial vitality of the sport industry as players. The essay concludes with several policies and practices for improving racial diversity in sport management.

Smith and Hattery are with the Dept. of Sociology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27109.

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