December 6, 2023

Mike Greer
picture: AP

During the NBA draft, the number of prospects who were children of former WNBA or NBA stars highlighted a very clear trend. An increasing number of professional athletes are descendants of professional athletes with the resources and inside knowledge to pass on what they know and who they know. Who do you know applies more specifically to smashing front doors to front desks across major American sports.

It’s not often that blacks take advantage of our blood ties to advance within the executive lanes of billion-dollar franchises. On Tuesday, the San Jose Sharks named Mike Greer as their next general manager. Greer’s appointment makes him the first African-American general manager in NHL history, which is not surprising given the history of the monochromatic NHL.

Furthermore, Greer is also the brother of Miami Dolphins GM Chris Grier and the son of longtime NFL team man Bobby Greer. Bobby is the Senior Senior Player Affairs Officer. In the late 1990s, Greer had a face-to-face with Bill Parcells over choosing Ohio receiver Terry Glenn, which led to the infamous “Parcells” groceries“Saronic. Owner Bob Kraft has stood up for Grier, which is another rare thing in the NFL. The Griers accomplish what very few black families in the sport have been able to do.

Look around the front offices of professional sports league offices and you’ll find them strewn with the offspring of white NFL directors. Elliot Wolff, son of legendary Packers general manager Ron Wolfe, is the Boy Scouting Director of the New England Patriots. During the previous hiring cycle, Elliott was a candidate for general manager positions for the Vikings and Chicago Bears. In time, he will lead the NFL franchise.

In coaching circles, family ties are integral to getting a fast track through coaching classes. Only 24 of the 521 coaches in NFL history were of African descent.

In 2019, Mike Zimmer appointed his son as the Joint Offensive Coordinator as he co-branded with 59-year-old Minnesota coach Andre Patterson, who is Black. The small sample size of the Black NFL coaches has deterred them from even being able to keep a foot in the door for their kids.

Wayne Embry began the migration of black athletes to the front office in 1972 when he took the reins of the Milwaukee Bucks. In 1979, Bill Lucas broke the racial barrier in MLB as the general manager of the Atlanta Braves. The NFL didn’t get over this Rubicon until Ozzie Newsome was promoted from the inside by the Baltimore Ravens in 2002, six years after he took on most of the duties associated with being general manager and two years after becoming the CEO of the NFL. year.

This does not mean that Mike or Chris Greer are ineligible. They were undoubtedly given the scheme by their father Bobby. Chris spent four years as a scout for the New England Patriots before accepting a position with the Dolphins and working his way up the executive ladder. Mike Greer retired from the NHL in 2011 and has worked in a variety of character roles with the Blackhawks, Devils, and Rangers. But having Bobby to help them move up the corporate ladder helped even if he wasn’t able to make that final leap to become one of the premier grocery shoppers in the NFL.

It’s fairly obvious that there really is one black family across professional sports that spans multiple generations. There are a variety of black NBA coaches whose sons have followed in their footsteps, but the front desks have been the hardest to slip through even in the NBA. None of this is necessarily nepotism. An example is Vivek Ranadive recently naming his ineligible daughter Assistant General Manager of the Sacramento Kings G-League Series.

The closest thing to the Griers in MLB is the aforementioned Bill Lucas, whose sister was married to Hank Aaron from 1953 to 1971.

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