15 Stan. L. & Pol'y Rev. 189 (2004)
Minority Issues in Contemporary Sports

handle is hein.journals/stanlp15 and id is 195 raw text is: MINORITY ISSUES IN CONTEMPORARY
SPORTS
Kenneth L. Shropshire*
INTRODUCTION
The year 2003 was remarkable for minorities in the business of
professional sports.1 Both the National Basketball Association (NBA) and
Major League Baseball (MLB) emerged with their first owners of color with
controlling ownership interests.2 Robert Johnson started things off in December
of 2002 by becoming the first African American to gain a majority ownership
in major league professional sports. With approval from the NBA's Board of
Directors in 2003, Johnson purchased the Charlotte franchise of the NBA,
. David W. Hauck Professor at the Wharton School and Chair, Legal Studies Department,
University of Pennsylvania. J.D. 1980, Columbia University School of Law; A.B. 1977,
Stanford University. A draft of this Article was originally presented at the 2003 Stanford
Law School & Athletics Department Sports Law Conference. Thanks to the panelists and
attendees for their comments, which have assisted me in the preparation of this final version.
Thanks also to Stephanie A. Tryce, Esq., for her valuable assistance with both this Article
and the Stanford presentation. Finally, thanks also to the attendees at my presentation of the
earliest draft of this Article to the Wharton Legal Studies Research Program.
I should note that it is with reluctance that I am sticking with the title of this Article. I
could be a stickler, but the word minority does stir in the mind the appropriate parties-
blacks, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, and women. It also captures the international cast
of athletes that I will make reference to in the discussion below. But globally, domestically,
and in the business of sports, arguably, the traditional minority is now the majority, at least
on the field of play.
1 There has been much more limited success at the collegiate level, with the hiring of African
American Tyrone Willingham as the first black head coach at Notre Dame and his first-year
success. And one could even say there has been a backsliding at the Olympic levels, with the
departure of African American Lloyd Ward as the head of the United States Olympic
Committee.
2 Murray Chass, With Quick Approval, Moreno Buys Angels from Disney, N.Y. TIMES, May
16, 2003, at D3; William C. Rhoden, Finally, A Member of the Club, N.Y. TIMES, Dec. 19,
2002, at Dl. Over the years, there have been a number of people of color with minority
interests in sports franchises and some with controlling interests in major league franchises.
See generally KENNETH L. SHROPSHIRE, IN BLACK AND WHITE: RACE AND SPORTS IN
AMERICA (1996).

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