NFL: “A sport where player careers last only three and a half years is built on disposable black bodies, indifference to brain damage, and a country-club dismissal of black brain power.”

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Ladies and gentlemen, just about the only sports writer who genuinely matters, precisely because he doesn’t refrain from contextualizing tails that wag dogs.


The NFL Has Fired Almost All of Its Black Coaches
, by Dave Zirin (The Nation)

The firings reflect a league that is actively hostile to black progress.

The day after the end of the NFL season, when teams fire allegedly underperforming head coaches, is known as Black Monday. This year that nickname was a tad too “on the nose.” Of the seven NFL head coaches fired earlier this week, five are African American. That leaves the league with only two black head coaches, Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin and Los Angeles Charges coach Mike Lynn. In a league that is 70 percent African American, the number of black head coaches has never even hit 30 percent.

There are also of course still no black owners, and “the Rooney rule” that owners interview candidates of color is completely toothless. A sport where player careers last only three and a half years is built on disposable black bodies, indifference to brain damage, and a country-club dismissal of black brain power. It is this reality that compelled Michael Bennett of the Philadelphia Eagles to write in his 2018 book (which I co-wrote):

If the NFL were really integrated these [ownership, coaching and executive numbers] would be different. The NFL needed what’s called the Rooney Rule just to require owners to sit down with Black coaching candidates. They needed a rule just to talk to us. Not hire us. Talk to us…. We are integrated only on the level that people see on the field, yet all sports celebrate this half-view of integration. When Major League Baseball memorializes Jackie Robinson, they leave out that he wanted to be a manager or executive but they would not give him the opportunity.

But why should anyone be surprised that we’ve arrived at this point in 2019. This is a league whose owners gave upward of $8 million to the shady Trump Inauguration Committee. This is a league that is still signing quarterbacks who were terrible in college, let alone the NFL, while denying Colin Kaepernick employment because he dared to speak out for racial justice and against police violence. This is the league that has almost certainly been harassing Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid with repeated drug tests, for the crime of continuing to demand justice on behalf of his friend Kaepernick …

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