Richard Lapchick is a business school professor and diversity consultant who for decades has been the media’s go-to guy on furnishing the numbers on there aren’t enough black people in pro sports due to white racism.
“Huh?” you might say. “Last I looked, there were a lot of black guys in pro sports.”
But that’s Lapchick’s point, there should be as many blacks working in white collar jobs in the front office as there are blacks on the playing field. Why are, say, most of the Moneyball nerds running regressions in their cubicles either white or Asian? White supremacy, that’s why.
Lapchick makes decent money charging sports leagues for his “report cards” on how their diversity stats stack up. During the “racial reckoning” his standard speaking fee has reached $15,000.
A core part of his sales pitch for himself is his story of how as an obscure Vanderbilt professor in 1978 who was protesting against apartheid South Africa’s participation in the Davis Cup tennis tournament, he was attacked by two white American racists late at night in the Vanderbilt library who carved on his abdomen the name of a Sahelian country.
From Ethan Strauss’s House of Strauss Substack:
Richard Lapchick is the Robin DiAngelo of sports, with a backstory that reminds of Jussie Smollett
7 hr ago
… He is celebrated as a saint by mainstream publications like ESPN.com and Sports Business Journal, both of which he writes for. His local paper covers him with an almost-childlike awe.
His message is mostly a heroic biography, by his own repeated telling. The tale is literally unbelievable, but no matter. It’s a good story. Whether it’s true is besides the point. It’s part of a “truth to power” shtick that so appeals to the powerful.
“Diversity is a business,” says “racial conscience of sport”
The alleged 1978 assault on him was the making of Lapchick’s lucrative career:
… Just like that, the young professor had gone from relatively anonymous “Va. Activist” to someone on the minds of Kurt Vonnegut and Harry Belafonte. From there, Lapchick was off and running as a public figure, eventually attending Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as a personal guest of the president. Some would call such support earned, given what Lapchick purportedly suffered.
The problem with the story Lapchick’s retailed for years is that back in 1978, the authorities commissioned with investigating this incident didn’t believe it to be true. Their doubts were not hidden, and were well-represented in the local media at the time, even if the current media has totally lost track of this aspect when repeating Lapchick’s version.
Dr. Faruk B. Presswalla, the chief medical examiner for the Tidewater area, openly argued against Lipchack’s version of events.
You can’t get much more white supremacist a name than Faruk B. Presswalla (i.e., presumably Parsi).
… Presswalla’s assessment kicked off a round of skeptical Lapchick coverage in the local press. Ironically, I’d be mostly unaware of such coverage if not for Lapchick’s own Broken Promises: Racism in American Sports, a 1984 work that, for about half its pages, dwelt on the incident and its aftermath. If not for that book, I’d be ignorant of the degree to which police disbelieved Lapchick, and I’d be clueless as to how he made strong skeptics of the local media.
Overall, Lapchick’s impassioned defense against these doubters has the opposite of its intended effect. He may be fortunate that so few people read it.