The CEOs of AT&T and T-Mobile don't often agree on much. But today Randall Stephenson of AT&T and John Legere of T-Mobile both defended the concepts behind "Black Lives Matter"—that there is a "real need for change" in how black people are treated in America.
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According to the Washington Post, Stephenson's eyes were opened by the stories of a black friend of his, a doctor and a veteran who has experienced widespread discrimination.
"When a person struggling with what's been broadcast on our airwaves says, 'black lives matter,' we should not say 'all lives matter' to justify ignoring the real need for change," the Post quotes him as saying. "If this is a dialogue that's to begin at AT&T, I feel like it probably ought to start with me."
Asked later on Twitter, Legere voiced support for his rival CEO's comments.
Underscoring the difference between tech and wireless on this issue, AT&T was ranked No. 4 of 1,800 companies surveyed this year by trade publication DiversityInc. The magazine points out that AT&T scored "51.3 percent higher than [all] US companies" on having non-white senior managers, and that it ranks No. 1 in diverse recruitment and supplier diversity.
T-Mobile posts its diversity statistics online, saying that it has 61 percent ethnic minority employees and 57 percent minority customers. The company's low-cost position, especially with its prepaid subsidiary MetroPCS, has historically appealed to lower-income, inner-city consumers.
We asked Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure and a representative for Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam about the issue, and will update if they respond.