The Measure of Diversity That Only One U.S. Pro Sport Meets

By Chris Hoenig


There is only one professional sports league in the United States in which at least 50 percent of the players are not of a single race or ethnicity. And no, it’s not one of the so-called “Big Four.”

It’s Major League Soccer.

In every other major sports league, at least half of the players are a single race or ethnicity: More than three-quarters of NBA players, 70 percent of WNBA players and 65 percent of NFL players are Black. Major League Baseball is the only other sport close to that measure of diversity: 60 percent of MLB players are white. (The study did not look at the National Hockey League, which is almost entirely white.)

Major League Soccer also leads in another measurement of diversity, known as the Simpson Index, which uses mathematical formulas to determine the likelihood that two players selected at random from the same league will be of the same race or ethnicity.

If two MLS players were selected at random, there’s only a 32 percent chance that they would be of the same race or ethnicity. If you did the same with two Major League Baseball players, you’d have a roughly 46 percent chance that they are the same race or ethnicity.

That likelihood skyrockets to 66 percent with the NBA, including a 58 percent chance that both players would be Black.

With the exception of Asians, Major League Soccer demonstrates the most diversity across each of the racial and ethnic groups measured: white, African-American, Asian, Latino or other. About 48 percent of MLS players are white, 25 percent Latino, 10 percent Black and nearly 20 percent are identified as “other.” The high proportion of “other” stems from the number of Black players who were previously identified as African-American but who now are identified as being from other parts of the world.

In addition to the 60 percent of MLB players who are white, almost 30 percent are Latino and 10 percent are Black. The NBA and NFL are both made up of almost entirely white or Black athletes—at least 95 percent of the players in each league.

A study reported by The Washington Post in June showed the benefits of diversity on the playing field, or pitch as it’s known in soccer. A look at the major European soccer leagues showed a direct correlation between player diversity and team results in competition.

Simply put, diversity produces success.

Latest News

TIAA Survey Reveals Saving for Retirement is the No. 1 Contributor to Feeling Financially Resilient for Working Individuals, but 60% of People are Falling Behind Goals

Originally published on TIAA.com. The global COVID-19 pandemic not only presents a tremendous threat to people’s health and lives, but is also challenging the financial security of families across the nation. According to new research released today by TIAA, a leading financial services provider, nearly 60 percent of adults say…

domestic, violence, awareness

October: Domestic Violence Awareness Month Resources

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month takes place in October to raise awareness about this critical social and public health issue. One out of every four women and one out of every 10 men will experience sexual violence, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime according to…

Thousands of Vets Missing Out on Key Benefits; Sesame Street Tackles Racism; and More

Thousands of veterans with “less-than-honorable” discharges missing out on government benefits; facing unnecessary challenges in employment. Being dishonorably discharged from the military can wreak havoc on a veteran’s career. Whether it was the result of alcohol or drug abuse, insubordination, fighting or being LGBTQ+ or disabled (areas that were not…

Comcast Offers Thousands of Grants, Equipment, Marketing and Tech Resources to Small Businesses Hardest Hit by COVID

Originally published on Comcast.com Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA) today launched Comcast RISE, an initiative created to help strengthen and empower small businesses hard hit by COVID-19. The Comcast RISE program will help thousands of small businesses over the next three years. The multi-faceted program offers grants, marketing and technology upgrades,…

Cigna

Keith Barnes Named Market President for Cigna’s Commercial Business in North Texas and Oklahoma

Originally published on Cigna.com Cigna (NYSE:CI) has named Keith Barnes as market president for its commercial health care and related benefits plans in North Texas and Oklahoma. In this role, his responsibilities include driving market growth by creating customer value and ensuring that the local market strategy, product and network offerings meet evolving customer and…

Southern Company Signs the Hispanic Promise

Earlier this month, Southern Company signed the Hispanic Promise, an initiative of the We Are All Human Foundation. The Promise is the first-of-its-kind national pledge to hire, promote, retain and celebrate Hispanics in the workplace. Launched at the World Economic Forum in 2019, the Hispanic Promise is a non-legally binding sign…