The Corner

Buried Wisdom in a Puff Piece

The sports section of today’s New York Times has a long puff piece on Richard Lapchick and how he pushes for “diversity” (that is, race-based hiring practices) in professional and amateur sports. But in the middle of the predictable pabulum is a bracing dissenting note from NBA commissioner David Stern:

Lapchick said he began receiving more cooperation in the years after Bud Selig and Roger Goodell became commissioners of M.L.B. and the N.F.L. But Commissioner David Stern, whose N.B.A. has historically received higher grades than the other leagues, argued that Lapchick’s good intentions — when carried to routine — missed the essential aim of fair-minded employment.

“If an enterprise is committed to getting the best work force, which means being an equal-opportunity employer and not limiting its potential talent pool,” Stern said, “then it shouldn’t be perceived as quote-unquote better if its [sic] increases its diversity/gender head count — for that matter if it decreases. If a job is open, and all candidates have a chance to compete, should the employer be praised or criticized based on the outcome of that search? I think not.”

He added: “I recognize the presumption that an organization that is not diverse has a job to do. But once you reach a certain critical distribution, the counting should stop.”

I would oppose the counting even before the “critical distribution” (whatever that means) is reached, but kudos to Stern anyhow for daring to speak up.