The National Football League (NFL) has a massive fanbase in the United States, with millions of viewers tuning in to games every season. It’s an undisputed leader in American sports, from viewership to ticket sales to merchandise, and sets a benchmark for other sports leagues worldwide with events like game sales, draft, playoffs, championship, Hall of Fame, award shows, and schedule releases.
However, despite its overwhelming success, the NFL falls behind another major American sports league, the National Basketball Association (NBA), in two crucial areas: diversity in the newsroom and support of diverse opinions.
The NBA takes a proactive approach to promoting diversity and inclusion by hiring voices of different races and genders to cover the league. The league partners with organizations like the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to provide scholarships to students at historically black colleges and universities. Meanwhile, the NFL has been criticized for its lack of diversity in coaching ranks and front offices, although there has been some progress made in recent years.
The NBA also stands out in its support of diverse opinions, with players and coaches openly speaking out on social and political issues such as police brutality, systemic racism, and LGBTQ+ rights. This has created an environment where athletes feel safe to express their views, sparking important conversations and facilitating meaningful change. On the other hand, the NFL has been criticized for its inconsistent response to players who express their views on social and political issues, with some players facing backlash for kneeling during the national anthem.
Despite these criticisms, the NFL is taking steps to address these issues. In 2019, the league launched the Inspire Change initiative, which aims to improve social justice outcomes in communities across the country. This includes a commitment to providing resources and opportunities to underrepresented communities and a pledge to support organizations focusing on criminal justice reform, education, economic advancement, and community-police relations.
While the NFL remains the king of American sports, it still falls short of the NBA in areas like diversity in the newsroom and support of diverse opinions. The NFL is making strides towards addressing these issues, but there is still much work to be done before the league can claim to have achieved true inclusivity and diversity. Through meaningful action, the NFL can help build a better future for all athletes and fans alike.