Every victory in life should be celebrated, but parades are reserved for special occasions. And while this recent hiring cycle for black head coaches in the NFL was progressive, anyone who has already poured champagne is a fool.
As of January 30th, Raheem Morris (Atlanta), Antonio Pierce (Las Vegas), and Jerod Mayo (New England) are among the black head coaches in the NFL, alongside Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh), Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay), and DeMeco Ryans (Houston) who have all made it to the playoffs this season. Ryans is a favorite for the Coach of the Year award in his first season.
Looking for the name of the Miami Dolphins head coach, Mike McDaniel, will yield no results. You can’t enjoy the glory if you choose not to bear the burden.
„I identify as a human, and my father is black,“ he infamously said. Cool, Mike. Stay in the „human“ category.
No matter what the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Commanders do with their openings, the last few weeks have already proven to be a step in the right direction. In the last five hiring cycles before this, only five black coaches were hired out of 33 open positions, with no interim candidates in the mix.
Morris was hired in Atlanta after a long tenure as a former head coach for the Buccaneers. The second chance he’s being given in Atlanta is rare for men like him. Pierce was hired in Las Vegas after serving as the Raiders‘ interim coach. For decades, the interim title has been a death sentence for black coaches. And in Foxboro, Mayo was the waiting coach after Bill Belichick stepped down due to his contract, making him the first black head coach in Patriots history.
But as great as these strides are, they are not huge leaps. This is the same league soon to be in court due to allegations of racial practices in hiring black coaches within the NFL. The league is also trying to dismiss Jim Trotter’s discrimination lawsuit against them because he questioned Roger Goodell on the league’s diversity.
Not familiar with the situation, but the Tennessee Titans franchise should be kept an eye on due to the way Brian Callahan’s hiring failed. The Titans interviewed David Shaw – who didn’t coach last season – Pierce, and former Panthers offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, ensuring they exceeded their Rooney Rule quota.
In 2008, millions of people made the shortsighted mistake of believing that America was a post-racial society because Barack Obama was elected president. In the past 16 years, black America has grappled with the effects of this election, whether it’s the Birther movement, Donald Trump, Charlottesville, George Floyd, January 6th, or a Republican presidential candidate who had to change her name because she falsely claimed that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery because she believes that America „was never a racist country.“ Don’t make the same mistake when it comes to NFL owners just because a few black coaches have been hired. The undeniable fact about American history is that this country has always shown us that progress can be undone even faster than it happened.