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How many latino players are there in the NFL?

The handful of Hispanic players in the NFL is a clear indication that more can be done, to increase the number of players on teams’ rosters in the league.

How many latino players are there in the NFL?
Rey Del RioAFP

As the issue of diversity in the work place continues to become a bigger talking point, professional sports are no exception and with that, the NFL has been forced to take a look in the mirror where Hispanics are concerned.

The NFL need to have a look at Latino representation

Whether you’re a casual fan of American Football, or one who’s got a betting strategy mapped out right through to Week 16, you might have noticed that the NFL doesn’t have a whole lot of Latin American representation among its ranks. While there have been some improvements in recruitment, the harsh reality is that when it comes to diversity, the league is not necessarily the best example out there in 2022. If we go with the numbers of a 2017 study, only 2% of all NFL players are Latino. When we consider the fact that 17.3% of the American population is Latino, that’s not good enough.

It doesn’t stop there either. Data collected in 2019 by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport showed that only eight of the 1657 players in the league were Hispanic or Latino. To be clear that’s just 0.5% of the total. Yet, it’s important to note that this is not necessarily based on a bias or bad intent. There are of course a number of variables in play such as cultural preferences in sport - soccer often carries greater importance as does baseball - as well as access to the sport itself.

What notable Latino players are in the NFL?

Though information regarding the Hispanic and Latino makeup of the NFL continues to be most difficult to uncover, we do know more or less the percentage of players who identify as Hispanic or Latino in the league. As for who some of the bigger names are, we’ve got the likes of Green Bay Packers linebacker Blake Martinez who continues to be an essential part of the Packers’ defense today. There’s also Kiko Alonso of the Miami Dolphins, though it must be said his minutes are not consistent. Alejandro Villanueva recently retired after seven years in the league. Of course, we can’t forget Will Hernandez of the New York Giants, but alas, perhaps the most notable of the group is Matt Moore, who recently covered for the injured Patrick Mahomes of the Cardinals.

What’s the NFL doing about the problem?

If you visit the NFL’s website, you will find a page that pays tribute to Hispanic players throughout the NFL - dated though it is. While some such as Victor Cruz, Tony Romo and Mark Sanchez will be immediately recognizable, it doesn’t take long to realize that the large majority of them are now retired. This is to say, that while it’s evident that the league is concerned about Hispanic representation, it is still severely lacking when it comes to one of the country’s largest minority groups. Ultimately, the celebration of Hispanic Heritage month is a step in the right direction, but it will do little to stop this issue from becoming systemic if the league doesn’t start to proactively move past the traditional idea of diversity being a black vs white issue.


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