Sports in Society

Black Sports Professionals relaunching during NFL Draft weekend

By Mike Boylan

The National Society of Black Sports Professionals (BSP) today is relaunching with an announcement of new strategic initiatives at the Cleveland Power of Sports Summit taking place during NFL Draft weekend. The goal of the relaunch for BSP is to become the leading advocate and talent pipeline for Black professionals within sports business, and to act as a career accelerant for diverse sports execs. Cavaliers VP/Diversity, Inclusion & Community Engagement Kevin Clayton said the “new structure will provide BSP a unique capability to make a greater contribution to equity, fairness and equality in sports, and we saw the beginning of that increased potential last year, and it has carried into this year.” The relaunch includes partnerships with organizations Color of Sports and Diverse Representation to enact two new initiatives furthering BSP’s goals. Both initiatives also are in collaboration with the Minorities in Sports Business Network. With Color of Sports, BSP is launching the “Black Experience in Sports” Research Initiative, an industry-wide survey, taking place from May 24-June 19, that will quantify and profile Black professionals’ experiences within the sports business industry. Color of Sports Founder and Legends VP & Head of HR Quashan Lockett: "We are at a critical crossroads in our history, where people of all races, ethnicities, genders and identities are standing up, saying enough is enough, and are furthering the important conversations surrounding inequality and injustice across the various systems of our society. We must drive strategies, actions and accountability for change.”

NEW PROGRAM FOR YOUNG PROFESSIONALS: With Diverse Representation, BSP is launching the Sports Executive Pipeline Program, providing mentorship and coaching in an effort to increase diversity in team and league leadership. Ten people will be accepted into the program, slated to run June-September ’21. Diverse Representation Founder Jaia Thomas said the aim of the program is to “equip professionals of color with the tools and skillsets to succeed as executives in the sports industry.” Thomas: “Our goal is to ensure that the diversity on the court and on the field is properly reflected in the front offices and C-suite.” BSP National VP Nicole Britenriker: “The excuse given that there aren’t places to go to find diverse candidates for the business of sports is no longer acceptable because we represent a vast and deep pipeline of sports professionals and students from all sectors of the sports industry.” BSP Cleveland also is announcing a new partnership with the Browns and the Marcus Graham Project. In addition to these initiatives, BSP continues to build its national network, which currently includes 17 active chapters and 11 chapters in development.

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