The NFL: Can Diversity Really Be Valued in the World’s Greatest Meritocracy?

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Wilder, Jacob
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
This study examines the mission and values of the NFL in relation to their diversity initiatives to answer the research question: Does the NFL and its primary stakeholders, being owners, coaches, players, and fans, value “embracing” and “celebrating diverse opinions and perspectives,” manage diversity for the sake of profit, or abide by minimal affirmative action standards, and does that make the NFL and its stakeholders a monocultural, transitional, or multicultural organization? After grouping the NFL’s key participants into five stakeholder groups, the researcher compared the NFL’s stakeholder groups to frameworks developed by Packinthan Chelladurai and found that while the league had made progress in diversifying certain stakeholder groups, other stakeholder groups are still lacking in diversity. The researcher suggests that the NFL needs to take intentional, planned steps to diversify the league so that the league can continue to thrive in future generations.
diversity, meritocracy, athletic stereotype confirmation, NFL, football, racial stereotyping, diversity initiatives, cultural structure