Comparing corporations to athletics can get a bit tricky. When these comparisons are made, most look to basketball or football to express their views. In basketball, everyone has an opportunity to make a team. In the end, the best players that fit a coach’s scheme are selected and played accordingly. Race is not a factor. In football, the same issues are raised, just with more players to account for. In essence if you are the most qualified for a position, you are selected. This analogy is used alot when arguing against corporate diversity.
However this is wrong. The most comparable sport to corporate America is actually hockey.
Hockey is the perfect example because of one reason. Cost to play. The reason basketball and football are able to create an opportunity for so many athletes is because it is cheap to play and thus, accessible by the majority of individuals. If you have the money for a basketball, you can find an open gym for free and train yourself to be a great player. Football is a bit different as the cost is higher, but there are organizations that help keep costs down as much as possible. In football the biggest winning component is heart. If you’re willing to put in the work, train, are somewhat athletic, and aren’t afraid to get hit, you have a decent shot at college. Because both sports are easily accessible, they are horrible examples of corporate hiring.
Hockey however is different. You need money to pay for equipment including skates, padding, hockey stick, helmets, pucks, an ice arena, and nets. With these expenses, not many people are granted the ability to play the game. What corporate diversity is looking to do is expand the opportunity to play hockey to everyone.
For some you’re probably thinking, “well if someone doesn’t know how to skate, they can’t play hockey. So why are we allowing them on the team?” Well, the thing is, in this analogy, other people do know how to skate and play the game. And they’re good at it to. They just haven’t been allowed to play a formal hockey game much due to their experiences and opportunities. Allowing them to play increases competition, and increases revenue.
Let’s face it, not many people watch hockey. If you want your sport / company to stay relevant you have to be able to reach out to a country of diverse people. If not your corporation is in serious trouble of being passed up by Soccer as America’s 4th most popular sport.