The Bulls picked Arturas Karnisovas as their new executive vice president of basketball operations.
But not before drawing criticism for a search that produced eight known candidates – seven of whom were white and none of whom were black.
Karnisovas plans to hire a person of color to be the franchise’s general manager, a league source told Yahoo Sports.
COO Michael Reinsdorf, the son of Jerry Reinsdorf, spearheaded the hiring of Karnisovas, and the Bulls asked for permission to interview Oklahoma City Thunder vice president of basketball operations Troy Weaver, an African-American, but were denied by the Thunder, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
It’s difficult to assess racial bias on a case-by-case basis. Previously unreported consideration of Weaver is one example why. We don’t know everything the Bulls did during this search, let alone what they were thinking.
But in a macro sense, it’s more clear black people get unfavorable treatment in front-office hiring. It’s just unfathomable that, if treated fairly, black people would hold so few executive positions.
The Bulls are clearly trying to change the narrative around them. But the box-checking is disturbing.
Does Karnisovas already have a general manager lined up? If so, it seems cheap to leak his or her identity as only a “person of color.”
Or is Karnisovas narrowing his search to only people of color? If so, that doesn’t address the root of the problem.
The Bulls should hire the best person for the job. They should do their best to eliminate bias in the search process. Without actively taking that difficult step, they won’t actually give themselves the best chance of finding the best person.
If all teams did that, there’d be more black executives. There’d be more women executives. There’d be more diverse executives by any reasonable measure.
A system-wide problem demands a more-holistic solution than a narrowed search in the other direction.