Redskins

MLS sets record in player racial diversity

MLS sets record in player racial diversity

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Major League Soccer set a record for the fifth consecutive year for the racial diversity of its players, according to a study released Thursday by the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.

MLS earned a combined grade of a B-plus in racial and gender hiring practices with 84.55 points, up from a B with 83 points in 2011. Its grade for gender hiring practices rose from a C-plus to a B, scoring 80.5 points. It scored a B-plus/A-minus for racial hiring, dropping from 90 points to 88.6 this year.

Fifty-one percent of MLS's players are minorities, the first time the minority percentage is greater than that of white players. MLS also had the largest percentage of international player in league history at 48 percent.

Primary study author Richard Lapchick called the scores encouraging, but said the challenge - as for all professional leagues - is attracting diverse voices at the executive level.

``I think that is something the league office has to continue to do, which they have been doing and continue to emphasis,'' Lapchick said. ``They said a long time ago that they wanted this sport to look like America. To achieve that they need that leadership at the top to let (the teams) know it's a priority in the league. And let them know they're doing well, but can continue to do better.''

To that end, the MLS league office remained the standard bearer for the entire league with minorities holding 40 percent of all professional positions, and women 42 percent. The latter is the highest percentage for women as professionals since the 2008 season.

Team vice presidents experienced the greatest growth of all positions in both racial and gender hiring practices. Minorities now represent 14 percent of all team vice presidents, up from 9 percent in 2011. During the 2012 season women held 13 percent of all vice president positions, an increase from 6 percent in 2011.

Lapchick said the increase of minority players is another big step as MLS tries to keep pace with its larger professional peers.

``Both the NFL and NBA has more players of color as well,'' he said. ``I think for MLS it's partially in reaction to the slow spread of soccer. ... I think in the last 10 years its popularity, especially in urban areas, has grown. It's also grown with more popularity among African-Americans and Latinos and that has helped change those numbers. I think that will probably increase in the future.''

Lapchick said that confidence comes from the league's diversity initiatives, which also received an A-plus in the report.

Along with significant racial and gender minority presence in its internship program, MLS is also on pace to set an attendance record in 2012 during its 10th anniversary year for MLS !Futbolito! The program is the largest touring Hispanic grassroots initiative of its kind hosted by a professional sports league, with more than 90 percent of its participants of Hispanic descent.

---

Online:http://www.tidesport.org/

---

Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter athttp://www.twitter.com/khightower

Quick Links

Comparing the 2015 playoff Redskins to this year's team

reed_catch_vs_phil_usat.png
USA Today Sports Images

Comparing the 2015 playoff Redskins to this year's team

We don’t know if there will be major changes on the Redskins if they don’t make the playoffs this year but getting into the postseason and getting a win when they get there would make a decision to keep going in this direction very easy.

Yes, a lot of the pressure lies on the shoulders of Jay Gruden but winning games usually comes down to the players on the field. How do the players the Redskins have today compare to those on the last team that made the playoffs?

Here are the players who started in the last playoff game that involved the Redskins, a 35-20 Wild Card round home loss to the Packers, side-by-side with the anticipated starting lineup for the 2018 season with some unscientific comparison of the quality of the two teams.

Offensive line

Position—2015 starter, 2018 starter
LT—Trent Williams, Williams
LG—Spencer Long, Shawn Lauvao
C—Kory Lichtensteiger, Chase Roullier
RG—Brandon Scherff, Scherff
RT—Morgan Moses, Moses

How do the 2018 versions of Williams, Moses, and Scherff compare to the ones who started the playoff game? They’ll be about three years older but they have gained valuable experience. Remember that Lichtensteiger was activated off of injured reserve the week before the playoff game after missing 11 games with a neck injury so he was not close to 100 percent against the Packers. Josh LeRibeus was center for most of the year. Roullier is at least a good as he was. Long is no All-Pro but he is better than Lauvao. Comparison: Even

Offensive backs and receivers

Position—2015 starter, 2018 starter
QB—Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith
RB—Alfred Morris, Derrius Guice
WR—Jamison Crowder, Crowder
WR—Pierre Garçon, Josh Doctson
WR—DeSean Jackson, Paul Richardson
TE—Jordan Reed, Jordan Reed

We can debate Smith vs. Cousins all day but we really won’t know until they start playing games. Guice has the potential to be better than the 2015 version of Morris, who averaged 3.7 yards per carry while gaining 751 yards. Reed has his best season in 2015 with 87 receptions for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was arguably the best tight end in the game in 2015. Reed has to demonstrate that he can be that guy again. Crowder will be better than he was as a rookie but there are clear downgrades at the wide receiver positions. Comparison: Edge to 2015

Defensive front

Position—2015 starter, 2018 starter
DE—Chris Baker, Matt Ioannidis
NT—Terrance Knighton, Daron Payne
DE—Jason Hatcher, Jonathan Allen
ILB—Mason Foster, Foster
ILB—Will Compton, Zach Brown
OLB—Ryan Kerrigan, Kerrigan
OLB—Trent Murphy, Preston Smith

I don’t think we need to go into much discussion here to sort out which team has the better front seven. The interior line plus Brown makes this year’s front clearly superior. Comparison: Solid edge to 2018

Secondary

Position—2015 starter, 2018 starter
CB—Will Blackmon, Josh Norman
CB—Bashaud Breeland, Quinton Dunbar
SS—DeAngelo Hall, Montae Nicholson
FS—Dashon Goldson, D.J. Swearinger

Breeland was very good in 2015, tallying two interceptions, three forced fumbles, and two recoveries. Dunbar could be a downgrade but I don’t think he’ll be a significant one. This year’s team is clearly better off at the other three positions. Comparison: Solid edge to 2018

If defense wins championships then you have to give the overall edge to this year’s team. But the offense will be important and Smith, Guice, and the wide receivers will need to come through if the Redskins are going to play a game in January of 2019.

More 2018 Redskins

- The secondary: What's the outlook in the secondary?
- Tandler’s Take: The pressure's on Gruden and he knows it

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler.

 

Quick Links

Wizards' assistant Sidney Lowe leaves to join Dwane Casey's staff with Detroit Pistons

ap_17300849478161.jpg
Associated Press

Wizards' assistant Sidney Lowe leaves to join Dwane Casey's staff with Detroit Pistons

The Washington Wizards have an opening on their coaching staff, as assistant Sidney Lowe has left the team to join the Detroit Pistons.

Lowe, according to ESPN, will be the top assistant on new Pistons coach Dwane Casey's staff. 

Lowe spent two seasons under head coach Scott Brooks in Washington. A D.C. native, Lowe starred at DeMatha High School before playing at NC State and then in the NBA.

Lowe was the head coach at his alma mater for five years from 2006 through 2011, but has otherwise been an NBA lifer. He served as head coach of the Timberwolves in 1993-94 and head coach of the Grizzlies from 2000 to 2002.

The Wizards have several coaching hires to make now. They have a new G-League team set to take the court in the fall and will need to hire a staff sometime this summer. 

With Lowe gone, they could choose to promote from within or go outside the organization.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!