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After 21 years in Fox’s commentary booth, Troy Aikman is on his way to ESPN’s Monday Night Football in a deal reportedly worth $90 million over the next five years.
Football is America’s most popular sport and its commentators are obviously paid handsomely for it. Earlier this month, Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay won the Super Bowl over the Cincinnati Bengals. In his short 5-year head coaching career, it was McVay’s first Super Bowl win, and shortly after, he was rumored to be a candidate for broadcasting for Amazon which would’ve reported paid $100 million.
Troy Aikman is what the NFL has always looked and sounded like. So is Sean McVay.
Sean McVay is white. The head coach he defeated in the Super Bowl was white also. The NFL’s plantation mentality to keep the Blacks working while Whites oversee the operation has historically and presently benefitted men like Aikmen and McVay. Even disgraced NFL Coach Jon Gruden was offered $100 million for 10 years from the Oakland Raiders after spending years commentating for ESPN.
Old school NFL fans share memories of John Madden and Pat Summerall call games back in the day, and fans today know the voices of Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth well. Even though Blacks have historically comprised 55-70% of all NFL players, there has always been a lacking Black presence in the broadcast booth.
Not said in words, but in deeds, the NFL believes that Blacks can play a game, but can’t understand it – can’t translate it. It’s the same reason they wouldn’t allow a Black man to play Quarterback or middle linebacker for decades, positions thought to require a higher intelligence than others.
The NFL’s racism comes in many forms, they even paid out less to retired Black players for head injuries suffered. The league compared a given player’s cognitive test scores with the supposed norm for his demographic group. Under their methodology, Black players were assumed to possess a lower level of cognitive function than the average white player. This was the case until 2021.
Given the NFL’s past and present Good Ol’ Boy system, the fact that Troy Aikman leaving his coveted Fox broadcast for ESPN should open the door for a former Black player to lend a voice to the game his people have dominated.
While individual networks hire broadcasters, the NFL’s culture influences CBS to hire Jim Nantz and Tony Romo as they reflect all 32 teams’ organizational and managerial positions. While Brian Flores sues the NFL for hiring discrimination in coaching, these networks’ lack of on-air Black talent is just as pervasive.