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As the NFL season approaches its finale next month, an annual tradition has already begun. Each season around this time of year (ominously dubbed Black Monday) teams make difficult decisions in order to stay competitive in a cutthroat league where winning is the only thing that matters.
As we currently sit, Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Tomlin is the only Black Head Coach in the NFL… again.
The NFL – America’s most profitable sport by far – often replicates the very nature of modern and traditional corporate hiring practices. Like many Fortune 500s, the turnover in the NFL operates like a revolving door for Blacks and an impenetrable vault sealed for whites.
Put your money where your mouth is
Black coaches are often smeared with dismissive labels such as “doesn’t interview well” to the point that many coaches feel the hiring practice is more smoke than mirrors, understanding they are interviewed as a mere formality.
It is a fact that most Black coaches have more experience on average as assistant, offensive and defensive or special teams coaches and couldn’t be more qualified for Head Coach positions, however, ‘working twice as hard to get half as much’ isn’t always a guarantee.
Meanwhile, the NFL’s 32 teams stamped helmets and painted end zones with generic-at-best and pandering-at-worst slogans like “It Takes All of Us” and “End Racism”. Yet, the simple fact is its individual owners do not practice what’s collectively preached. Much like politicians who use Dr. King for their individual purpose, the NFL is all about aesthetics while responding a day late and dollar short to historically evidenced internal racial hiring disparities.
With the 2021 season coming to a close, there are eight open vacancies for head coaching opportunities and a plethora of over qualified and under-utilized Black coaches who have earned the right to lead. Now it’s the NFL’s turn.