Minnesota Timberwolves fans may notice something different about their team this year. In a league in which American-born black players made up 75 percent of roster spots in 2011, the Timberwolves will have an opening-day roster comprising just 33 percent black players (five out of 15).
Is that a problem?
Some civil rights leaders in Minneapolis think so. Tyrone Terrell, chairman of St. Paul's African American leadership council, told the Star-Tribune that he thinks the unbalanced roster could be seen as a ploy by the ownership to sell the team to a majority-white fan base.
Ron Edwards, a longtime Minneapolis civil rights advocate, told the Star-Tribune that it was "somewhat disturbing" when he saw a game last season in which Wes Johnson was the only black player on the floor for the Timberwolves. The composition of this season's roster has prompted Edwards to react even stronger.
"It raises some real questions to me about what's really intended," Edwards said. "I think, personally, that it was calculated. Is this an attempt to get fans back in the stands? Minnesota, after all, is a pretty white state.''