President Barack Obama probably would have had second thoughts if only he knew that the US national women’s football team that this week won the 2015 FIFA World Cup in Vancouver was all-white.
Whether he was even remotely aware of it apparently did not matter because he still heaped praises on Monday on the American eleven that had humiliated Japan, 5-2, in the final match on Sunday in Canada.
Obama then invited to the White House the champions, singling out in a tweet Carli Lloyd—who completed a hat trick in an unbelievable 16 minutes—for a “[g]reat game” and telling the rest, “Your country is so proud of all of you.”
It also probably was coincidence that there was no player of color among the 23 members of the US team but it arguably showed that striving for diversity in women’s football—at least in America—and other female spectator sports is wishful thinking.
(This corner is basing the statement on what the Internet has made available on the backgrounds of Lloyd and company, whose photos accompany the pieces of information about them.)
An all-race composition of the Vancouver victors should have been expected, the United States being a multi-racial society whose rise to the top of the economic, political and, yes, athletic pyramid had been made possible by various ethnic groups found in all 50 states of the country.
That mix, however, has been realized in the US men’s national football team, with five of its 23 members being men of color and the others either Caucasian or Hispanic.
In other battle sites for sporting glory, it is also too much to ask for diversity in tennis, for example, this time in the crowds that watch games at Paris (French Open) or New York (US Open).
Scan the TV screen showing Grand Slams and you, most likely, will be treated to the sight of nearly all-white Federer or Sharapova fans—too few Asian and Hispanic rooters, if at all they are in the bleachers or wherever.
Maybe, it is too expensive for non-white immigrants to get inside Roland Garros or Flushing Meadows.
Perhaps, tennis does not appeal to Asians or Latinos as does football to them any time of day.
It should to African-Americans, partly because Serena Williams has been making a sporting, if not overachieving, case for them for almost two decades.
Yet, and again, monitor your small screen and seldom would you see in the stands Serena groupies made up of fellow African-Americans, in contrast to the now blow-hot, blow-cold Eugenie Bouchard who, at the 2014 Australian Open, was wildly supported by “Eugenie’s Army”—and she has not won any major crown yet.
Tennis, especially at Wimbledon, apparently rubs people the wrong way because organizers require all-white attire for players, both men and women.
Just last week, those behind the grass-court tournament called the attention of a female player who unknowingly, apparently, wore a bra with black straps.
The message seems to be that black is not beautiful, and so why should young African-American women care about the game that Carli Lloyd plays?