Pulling Racism Out of a Helmet in the National Football League

by | Jan 9, 2003 | POLITICS, Racism

When the regular season of the National Football League concludes and coaches are fired and replaced, an annual tribalist ritual accompanies these activities. It involves advocates of “diversity” crying that there are too few black head coaches, and that more of them should be hired. Sport is one aspect of American culture where merit is […]

When the regular season of the National Football League concludes and coaches are fired and replaced, an annual tribalist ritual accompanies these activities. It involves advocates of “diversity” crying that there are too few black head coaches, and that more of them should be hired.

Sport is one aspect of American culture where merit is still upheld exclusively above all other factors. Each athlete, regardless of his race, earns a job with a team because his abilities are judged superior to those of his competitors. Based on this standard, over 60 percent of the athletes who have earned employment in the NFL are black.

Yet diversity-advocates exploit the fact that the NFL has two black head coaches out of 32 positions to imply the league, particularly the owners of the teams, practice racist policies. In recent years “diversity” crusaders have gained a stronghold in this area, as Jesse Jackson and Johnny Cochran threatened to sue the NFL on grounds of racial discrimination.

To avoid outright accusing any white owner as being a racist while still implying they all practice racism, the diversity-advocates simply point to the league’s paucity of black head coaches. Then, most importantly, they rely on people drawing their oversimplified implication based on their all-purpose premise: racism is an ingrained, inescapable part of the white American mentality. According to this irrationality, white owners, whether they know it or not, hold racial prejudices which make them unwilling or reluctant to hire blacks as head coaches.

Consider, however, that an owner’s goal is to win football games. To get his team to achieve the ultimate prize, a victory in the Super Bowl, he must assemble the best available athletes. Since each NFL owner has long hired a majority of black, talented athletes to win games for them, why wouldn’t they hire qualified blacks to coach their teams for the same purpose?

“Owners,” the diversity-advocates answer, “will hire blacks to do the athletic, physical work to win games, but they fear blacks aren’t smart enough for the more mentally challenging work of a head coach.”

Essentially, this answer holds that the owners’ (alleged) unwillingness or reluctance to hire blacks as head coaches derives from the racist premise that blacks inherently are intellectually inferior to whites.

As evidence that the motive behind the diversity-advocates NFL crusade is to smear the owners as racial supremacists, observe their response to the fact that there are virtually no black kickers or punters in the NFL. Curiously, they never cry for more blacks in these positions — which require minimal mental work. They once cried that there were too few blacks playing quarterback, football’s most mentally demanding position. Today, the league has many blacks who have earned the position of starting quarterback. But they were rewarded this status — not by any race-based affirmative action policies that the diversity-advocates are now demanding — but by demonstrating their outstanding abilities, particularly their ability to help win games.

As long as an athlete or coach helps his team win games, owners will hire or retain him despite his race if they deem him the best person available for the job. Often times, an available coach may not fit a team’s specialized system of play, or he may bypass a job offer because it doesn’t give him the personnel control he wants. These are just some of the relevant reasons qualified applicants, no matter their race, fail to become head coaches, reasons of which diversity-advocates pay little if any attention.

The racism involved in this fabricated issue is actually held by the diversity-advocates themselves. That they even care about the percentage of black head coaches — particularly in a league that has long practiced the American ideal of colorblindness — indicates that they are consumed by race to the detriment of individual merit. These diversity-advocates not only hold the racial prejudice that whites, at least to some degree, believe blacks are inherently their intellectual inferiors, they themselves accept this premise as true. It is the underlying cause of their crusade.

This past month the owners began to concede to these racist premises. They agreed to the Cochran-backed affirmative action demand that owners should interview at least one candidate of a “diverse racial group” for coaching positions.

By caving in to such a demand, the owners are abetting the efforts by diversity-advocates to make white racism appear endemic in America — even where it is nonexistent. Instead of their concessions, which in turn make themselves appear guilty of racial discrimination, the owners should be condemning these widespread diversity practices as racism par excellence.

Joseph Kellard is a journalist living in New York. To read more of Mr. Kellard's commentary, visit his website The American Individualist at americanindividualist.blogspot.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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