Huddle Up For Diversity
Convivium, 27 August 2018
With the Canadian Football League busily promoting the goal of diversity, Father Raymond de Souza notes the distinct absence of height-challenged 140-pound players on the field.
Diversity concerns have been front and centre in recent days. The prime minister characterized a woman’s view as “racist” after she heckled him; Maxime Bernier criticized “extreme multiculturalism” before he left the Conservative Party to set up his own.
Rhetoric about diversity can be both heated and so routine as to be boilerplate, obscuring clear thinking about diversity. And if thinking about diversity is muddled, our common life together will suffer.
I offer as an example the Canadian Football League’s “Diversity is Strength” campaign. It was launched in 2017 as the CFL’s contribution to Canada 150. In fact, the launch of the program, the most visible element of which is players and coaches wearing “Diversity is Strength” T-shirts, was moved up several weeks in response to the racist rally held in Charlottesville last summer.
In 2018, the campaign continues, and was especially highlighted this past weekend. Herewith the CFL’s promotion of its initiative:
This League, like this country, prides itself on its diverse makeup. We know that our strength comes from diversity - be that of heritage, orientation, religion, ability, thought, and so much more. This League has a longstanding tradition of welcoming players, people, from all types of backgrounds; from signing the first black quarterback to the first openly gay player, we consider diversity to be an integral part of who we are. This is why we're thrilled to celebrate our diverse country, players, and fans this season during Weeks 10 and 11 across the country.
Routine enough, as it goes. But why does “ability” appear in the list of “our strength comes from diversity?” Can it be honestly said that a professional sports league features diversity in ability? Is the league made stronger by including slower receivers as well as faster ones, smaller lineman as well as larger ones, weaker players as well as stronger ones?
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