Race and Pathways to Power in the National Football League

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12 Scopus citations


Recent studies have found that African American managers and executives tend to have relatively few opportunities to exercise higher order and reward-relevant job functions such as job authority, job autonomy, and substantive complexity of work. Most of this research has focused on minority access to job authority in mainstream corporate America. The authors focus on a very specific industry-the National Football League (NFL)-to examine minority access to job authority. Using data collected on all active coaches in the NFL between the 2000 and 2006 seasons, this study examines the influence of race on the attainment of job authority in the NFL. Logistic regression analyses reveal significant direct effects of race on being (a) assigned to coach central positions, (b) appointed as offensive or defensive coordinators, and (c) hired as head coaches, net of measured objective qualifications, including experience, leadership, and performance. Thus, race appears to have both direct and indirect effects on access to managerial authority in the NFL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-727
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2012


  • management
  • race
  • sports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)


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