Kassandra Garcia, the Latina fighting for representation in the NFL
Mexican-American Kassandra Garcia is making history in the NFL and in the sports world as a football management analyst.
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Kassandra Garcia is a first-generation Mexican-American who is making history in a male-dominated world. At just 27 years old, Garcia is the highest-ranking Latina in the NFL as a football management analyst for the Los Angeles Rams. She joins Natalia Dorantes, who was named the NFL's first female chief of staff earlier this year.
The world of sports, even at the administrative level, is predominantly male. However, some Latinas, like Kassandra Garcia have arrived to diversify the industry.
Garcia's rise began at the University of Arizona, where she pursued her degree in business administration and was a recruiting intern for the Wildcats. Her skills helped her become an analyst, and as she explained, the influence her family and culture played an important role in her career.
García atributes her accomplishments to her grandmother and mother, as they are the ones who gave her the strength to pursue her dreams. Garcia's grandparents were second-generation Mexican-Americans, leaving Mexico with three children and no English.
Despite everything going against them, and with a lot of hard work, they managed to build thriving Mexican restaurants in Tuscon, Arizona. It was this example that inspired Garcia to build her own career.
She admits that becoming the highest-ranking Latina in the NFL didn't happen by accident. Garcia has always been very rebellious and it has helped her pursue goals she thought impossible.
"I'm very stubborn. When someone tells me I can't do something, it's game over. The fire inside me burns to prove them wrong. I don't know if that's being stubborn, narcissism, ego — and I think about this all the time – but it's gotten me this far," García told USA Today Sports.
According to the NFL's 2021 Diversity and Inclusion report, as of February 2021, there have only been four Latino (male) coaches. In addition, it noted that only 2.7% of all team vice presidents were women of color.
On the other hand, women in administrative positions in sports declined from 35.9% in 2019 to 32.3% in 2020, according to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports (TIDES) of the DeVos Sports Management Program at UCF. Of those, only 7% of women in all professional management positions were non-white women.
It is inspiring and hopeful to see that women like Garcia are blazing a trail for other Latinas who dream of having a career on the business side of professional sports.
However, it's no secret that her story is an exception. According to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, only 7% of professional management positions in the NFL are women of color. So while Kassandra Garcia may be an anomaly in 2021, here's to hoping she will be one of the many Latinas working in the NFL in the coming years.