The National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People announced Wednesday a national campaign to pressure professional sports franchises to hire more blacks in management, and promised “massive demonstrations” against any that refuse.
“We have millions of black young people who need to see blacks in these front offices. . . . Most newspapers devote more space to sports than to business,” said Benjamin Hooks, NAACP executive director.
Hooks said local branches of his organization will seek meetings with their nearest teams, starting with baseball and then extending their efforts to football and basketball franchises and to college sports.
They will first seek information about the teams’ minority hiring, then will try to work with each team to develop affirmative action programs. In addition to field managers and executives, the NAACP will look at hiring of vendors, ushers, receptionists and all other employees.
Hooks said if the teams refuse to cooperate--a possibility that Hooks said is remote, because “I expect they are embarrassed” by the lack of blacks they employ--protests will follow.
“We will demonstrate on the inside and on the outside” of sports arenas, he said. “We will do whatever is necessary.”
Among the possible tactics, Hooks said, are boycotts. He said it is possible athletes would be asked to take part.
Hooks made his remarks at a news conference a little more than a week after Al Campanis, a vice president of the Dodgers, set off a furor by telling a national television audience that blacks “may not have some of the necessities” to become managers or general managers.
In an initial look, the NAACP found that:
--In baseball, 25% of the players are black, but only 17 of the 879 administrative positions are held by blacks and 13 by Hispanics and Asians. Also, 15 of the 26 teams have no minorities in management positions.
--In the NFL, more than 40% of the players are black, but only 5 blacks are employed in the league office and there has never been a black head coach.
--In the NBA, where nearly 80% of the players are black, 25 of the 85 employees of the league office are black and the coaches of 4 of the 23 teams are black.