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.