Former pro soccer coach sues MLS, USL, clubs for racial discrimination – Sports Business Journal

Former pro soccer coach Ricky Hill sued MLS, the USL and various clubs, including Atlanta United and Charlotte FC for “racial discrimination against Black coaches,” according to Brent Schrotenboer of USA TODAY. Hill’s lawsuit, filed in federal court in Chicago, said that the clubs “hired white or other non-Black candidates who were ‘objectively less qualified’ than Hill after he applied for the same jobs.” The lawsuit against MLS “in many ways mirrors” former Dolphins coach Brian Flores’ lawsuit against the NFL for “related reasons” in February. Both lawsuits “accuse the top American pro leagues in their sports of failing to produce meaningful progress in hiring Black coaches” despite “diversity hiring initiatives implemented by each league in the past 20 years.” Both leagues also have “considerable common ownership,” with seven of the 28 teams in MLS majority-owned and run by NFL team owners. MLS has had only eight non-interim Black head coaches in its 27-year history and currently has three in a 28-team league where “about 25% of its players in recent years have been Black.” MLS noted that it has the “highest percentage of coaches of color in U.S. men’s pro sports — 43% minorities, mostly Hispanic or Latino.” But the league last year acknowledged that it “needed to improve with Black candidates.” It hired its first-ever chief diversity officer last year and last December approved a policy requiring that clubs “consider at least two non-white candidates as finalists for open sporting positions, including at least one Black candidate” (USA TODAY, 8/7).
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