Dallas Sports Powerhouse






Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Bowl Ignorance!

You may have seen Mr. Boswell's post earlier this week regarding the significance, or lack thereof, of Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith being the first African-American coaches in the Super Bowl.

Now to say the Big 12 was better this year in football than the SEC or to say Adrian Peterson is overrated I can laugh at as playful homerism. But this no laughing matter. This is absolute ignorance.

Scott says let's stop the bickering. I haven't heard any. Seems the NFL has been unanimous in its celebration of the achievement of these two men. Those coaches, who this year have been helped by the Rooney Rule in having opportunities for interviews they likely would not have had continue to sing the praises of the Rule. Dungy and Smith haven't panned it. Neither have he likes of Romeo Crennel or newly hired Mike Tomlin. They celebrate the Rule, though I think it is not quite strong enough. In fact, they have pointed out that even if they were first interviewed as a token candidate, those interviews led to legitimate interviews that led to their first head coaching gigs.

And to point at Mike Singletary's interview in Dallas as an example of how it creates a dog and pony show is misguided. To say that is to ignore the talk over the last year suggesting that NFL insiders believe he is about ready to be a head coach. It also ignores the fact Jerry Jones already interviewed African-American secondary coach Todd Bowles. Per the Rooney Rule, he would not have been required to interview Singletary. Or consider he is now reportedly going to interview minority candidates Jim Caldwell and Ron Rivera before making a final decision.

Is Jones clearly leaning toward Norv Turner? Yes. Hell, they were hanging out in Miami together yesterday waiting to find out if Michael Irvin was elected to the Hall of Fame. But that doesn't mean he's not legitimately taking his time to make sure his judgment isn't clouded by his friendship with Turner.

But those weren't not the worst of the arguments Mr. Boswell put forth. Take, for example, the thought that a big deal wasn't made when the Texas Rangers hired Ron Washington. Well, Washington is, by far, not the first African-American manager to be hired in Major League Baseball. Nor would he be the first to manager in or to win a World Series. Major League Baseball, for all its flaws, crossed this social barrier long ago. And this is with baseball having a relatively low percentage of African-American players.

But in football should it be a big deal. Basketball's been there. I believe the NHL can still count the number of its African-American players on one hand. But football, with a majority of African-American players, took the longest, other than the NHL, to have an African-American coach, let alone one who reached the pinnacle of the profession. And you can rest assured the pinnacled would have been reached much sooner if more opportunity had been presented.

And don't talk to us about the idiocy of no one caring if a white running back was in the Super Bowl. Show me the white athlete denied the opportunity to run the football today that had the skills to do so. Because, fact is, I can find a tome of names of coaches and quarterbacks who were denied that opportunity. Remember, it was Warren Moon who had to go to Canada and play QB in order to open the doors for African-American quarterbacks. The only shot he was offered in the NFL coming out of college was a wide receiver. And we were right to celebrate his induction to the Hall of Fame last year the way we did.

So, Scott, if you are going to decry people mixing sports and politics, be sure you know what you're talking about before committing the hypocrisy of doing so yourself.

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Blogger Scott Boswell said...

Wow, a lot of politics with no real substance.

There were 32 teams in the NFL this season. There were 6 black head coaches in the NFL. (Dennis Green in Arizona, Tony Dungy in Indianapolis, Lovie Smith in Chicago, Herm Edwards in Kansas City, Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati and Art Shell in Oakland) This constitutes to almost 17% of NFL head coaches being black. According to the 2000 United States census, 17% of Americans are from an African American background.

So, am I supposed to feel shamed as a white man that this is on par?

What about Hispanic, Asian and Middle Eastern backgrounds…should we revamp the system to include these too? To my knowledge, Norm Chow in Tennessee is the only member of this group to hold a place of coaching significance.

Should we introduce a minority rule for our athletes as well? I think that the job should go to the athletes most qualified instead of what ethnic group they belong to. “I’m sorry Mr. Aikman, but we have to let Mr. Hernandez take 51% of the snaps to abide by the new NFL policy.” That’s utter BS.

If our athletes are judged by who is most qualified, why are our coaches held to a different standard? It’s very hypocritical.

Personally, I’d rather just enjoy the game instead of worrying about which ethnic group(s) are thriving in a coaching capacity. I think you are overestimating the importance the Rooney Rule played in these hirings. While I do not see everything behind the scenes, I believe that these coaches were hired for their qualifications rather than a ploy for affirmative action.

Do you think white Texas fans give a shit that Vince Young was black? The title “National Champions” transcends all colors.

3:42 PM  
Blogger J D Allen said...

It's very Dittohead/Fox News of you to twist what I said and claim it lacks substance.

Yes, we do now have six black head coaches in the NFL. Only because the NFL now requires teams to interview minority coaches for vacancies. Ray Rhodes and Dennis Green were anomalies before the rule was instituted.

Did I say hire less qualified people? Claiming I said that is the BS. Either your twisting the truth to fit your argument or you have some deep belief that African-American people aren't as qualified to be head coaches.

Nor did I insinuate we have to have a coach of every ethnic background for this be right. Or a Hispanic QB that didn't earn a job. But if coaches, or quarterbacks, or anyone at any position who are of Hispanic, Asian, or other backgrounds are found to be passed over because of race, that needs to be set right.

And are athletes held to a different standard? Seems there are sports now where minorities hold the most roster spots. But, again, I urge you to show me the white athlete who was at one time denied a roster spot because he's white or because of some effort to be "politically correct". He doesn't exist.

It is also acknowledged by both Caucasians and African-Americans in the league that the Rooney Rule is why the NFL now has six qualified coaches. These were coaches who were not considered for interviews because they weren't part of the NFL's Good Ol' Boy network. They started as token interviews but then so impressed the teams they interviewed with that it led to other interviews and an eventual head coaching gig. No mere speculation. Well documented in print, television, and radio discussions on NFL coaching hires. And not by mere discussion by sports media "experts" but by the coaches and owners of the NFL teams themselves.

The tragic thing is the color of their skin had to be emphasized for these men to have a shot to be hired. Once they got that shot, low and behold, they were qualified and have risen to the top.

That's why special recognition is warranted for Dungy and Smith. They have overcome historical obstacles that stood in their sport longer than other sports and reached the top of their profession. It is my hope we no longer have to talk about skin color in this context, but that doesn't mean it wasn't significant tonight.

Finally, did I insinuate Texas fans care what color Vince Young is? No, but it is not because he won a title. It wasn't necessary because men like Warren Moon and Doug Williams overcame that barrier years ago.

So, because you disagree, you may say it lacks substance, but there it is. Spin away!

8:26 PM  
Blogger Jarred Dunn said...

Sports Illustrated's 1997 cover story "Whatever happened to the White Athlete," tried to answer the question of the racial disparity among athletes in the NFL.

One of its conclusions was that coaches in high school and college ranks tend to automatically put their players into preconceived "categories", such as African-American players as running backs, and Anglo players as quarterbacks, whether their strenghts fir these positions or not. It listed many white players who who excelled at their positions who underwent position changes in order to fit preconceived notions. So there has, in fact, been white players who have either been denied a spot on a roster. Check out the article - good stuff.

However, this so-called discrimination against white players PALES in comparison to discrimiation African-American players faced in pro football. There was REAL racism that needed to be addressed, and the Rooney rule is definitely a part of it.

Regardless, if the Rooney rule can fix some sort of disparity in black representation in the coaching ranks, then why not? It does seem illogical that it would apply only to certain minorities, but when has America ever used logic about race?

However, as Scott pointed out, the number of black coaches matches proportionally the African-American population. Does this mean it has succeeded and can be done away with - will coaches hiring now be truly color blind? I tend to think that in today's NFL, (especially when the good old boy's owners network passes away), it won't matter what color a coach is, as long as he (or she) can win a Super Bowl.

It will definitely be nice one day when there are no more "milestones" for African Americans - the day when they have passed them all. Here's hoping that day comes soon.

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there have been white players that were denied a roster spot or position because of pigeon-holing athletes because of race, then there were certainly minority athletes who were denied the same thing. If it's being said here that we shouldn't celebrate such a milestone just because we're in the 2000's and are so far beyond civil rights, that is ignorance. It should be celebrated as much, if not more, due to the fact that it took so long for the NFL to shed it's racism. It doesn't matter that there were 6 black head coaches this year. That is a weak excuse to not celebrate such a positive step forward. They're not celebrated as the first black coaches. They're celebrated for the fact that after finally being given the chance, they proved the ignorance of the NFL in taking so long to realize that someone other than a white guy can excel.

7:26 AM  

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