« Man-down debate continues | Main | Tough calls for Terps and Blue Jays »

A sport in need of more color

The sport of lacrosse is understandably giddy over the increased attention and notice it’s receiving after all these years. Though you still can’t get scores on SportsCenter or on the bottom line strip that runs on some programming, ESPN appears to be interested in the game, and more and more programs are sprouting up from coast to coast.

Indeed, US Lacrosse, the sport’s governing body, reports that more than 426,000 people, from youth leagues all the way up through post collegiate club and professional teams, participated in organized lacrosse, up nearly 12 percent from 2005.

In the course of taking their victory laps, those in charge of the sport would do well to step up their efforts to attract more minorities to lacrosse, a challenge made more difficult by the controversy generated by false accusations of rape made by an African-American stripper against members of the Duke men’s team.

While the three defendants -- David Evans, Reade Seligmann, and Collin Finnerty – were properly exonerated by the North Carolina Attorney General’s office, lacrosse’s reputation took a beating as a sport that does not welcome minorities.

There are plenty of people of goodwill of all colors who are trying to bring more diversity to the game, and their efforts should be applauded.

But those efforts should be redoubled, as there are far too many teams, representing colleges and universities, private and public high schools, city and suburban, with a nary a player of color on their roster. That’s hardly an advertisement for a sport that is looking to broaden its horizons.

It’s true that former football great Jim Brown is one of the great figures in lacrosse history, but he’s been out of the game for more than 40 years. It’s way past time that another iconic lacrosse player of color was discovered, developed, nurtured and celebrated.

Posted by Milton Kent at 8:14 PM | | Comments (4)


For those looking for ethnicities other than WASP, look inside the PUBLIC schools in the Baltimore metro area. It is a fair assumption that over 60% of all the boys and girls playing the game at the local public schools are not caucasian. To suggest specifically recruiting minority athletes reeks of racial quotas, and smacks of ignorance. If you want a universal sport, introduce it into the PE curricula statewide...oh I guess that would mean that we would actually need to realize that PE is a needed course.

Jim Brown was great way up North upstate at Syracuse more than 40 years ago, but just a couple of years ago, south of the Mason-Dixon Line, Kyle Harrison lit up Homewood field. And in response to Josh, I believe that at least two of the three Duke players named in the main post attended Catholic schools on LI and NJ. And Jesse Schwartzman, the MVP of the 2005 NCAAs, and Mark Greenberg, arguably the greatest Long Stick of all time, are both Jewish. Lots of non-WASPs.

Is this really an issue specific to lacrosse? Is it a problem that there are not more black kids playing ice hockey, golf, or tennis? A couple years ago there was a report showing how the percentage of African Americans in professional baseball has been declining over the past decade or so, mainly do to the influx of foreign born players. When I heard this report I wondered if the same people who were concerned over this trend, were also worried about the ever decreasing percentage of white players in the NFL or NBA over the past 50 years. To me - there doesn't seem to be a problem. The best athletes will rise to the top and play regardless of color. The number of black kids playing lacrosse will only continue to increase over the years. It is just a matter of time before today's expanded reach of youth lacrosse is reflected at the college level. US Lacrosse - the national governing body of the sport - has certainly made it a priority. over the last 15 years. Lacrosse is now being played in many communities that it was not 5 years ago. My neighborhood - South Baltimore - being one of them. It's common to see both white and black kids walking around with lacrosse sticks now. True diversity must happen naturally, and it will eventually. But racial disparity is certainly not unique to the sport of lacrosse.

Doesn't this guy remember Kyle Harrison?

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Please enter the letter "h" in the field below:
About Faceoff
Faceoff is The Baltimore Sun's blog devoted to college and high school lacrosse. Faceoff contributors include Sun reporters Edward Lee, Mike Preston and Katherine Dunn.

Most Recent Comments
Sign up for FREE local sports alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for local sports text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Photo galleries
Blog updates
Recent updates to sports blogs  Subscribe to this feed