November 17, 1987: Free Press releases analysis of racial diversity in sports

On this day in 1987, seven months after Al Campanis, a Los Angeles Dodgers front office executive, states publicly that African-Americans lack the “essentials” to work as sports franchise administrators, the Detroit Free Press analyzes local and out-of-state organizations to determine their level of ethnic and racial diversity:

The Detroit Tigers, for example, have three front office and on the field managers: Michael Wilson, comptroller; Vada Pinson, batting instructor; and Chuck Stone, minor league instructor.

The Detroit Pistons have only three front office staff in their organization of about 30: Will Robinson; assistant to the executive; Donna Dean, accounting manager; and Grover McCants, account representative.

The Detroit Lions, similarly, have only three African-Americans among their 39-person front office and coaching staff: Willie Shaw, assistant coach; Otis Canty, office supervisor; and Charlie Sanders, broadcast analyst.


Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman, the author of On this Day: African-American Life in Detroit, is a native Detroiter and former news reporter. He served on the Detroit Charter Revision Commission. He lives in Detroit with his wife, Kim Trent, and their son, Jackson Coleman.