BLACK MONDAY 2018
Gary Norris Gray-BASN- Staff Reporter
At the end of the season the coaching carousel began to turn with 32 teams with only one Black General Manager and two surviving Black head coaches, Pittsburgh Steeler Mike Tomlin and Los Angeles Chargers Anthony Lynn . Successful and prominent African American coaches and executives are looking in from the outside, AGAIN.
Hue Jackson-Cleveland Browns, Mike McCarthy- Green Bay Packers, Dirk Koetter-Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Todd Bowles-New York Jets were let go before Black Monday. Monday morning the firings continued with Vance Joseph-Denver Broncos never had a chance with impatient General Manager John Elway, Adam Gase-Miami Dolphins, Marvin Lewis-Cincinnati Bengals the second longest tenured coach in NFL at 16 years, and one and done Steve Wilks-Arizona Cardinals. That leaves two African American head coaches. National Football League teams are once again skirting around the Rooney Rule (2003) which was put in place so minority coaches and general managers would get a chance with an interview. In the past teams like the Detroit Lions-2003, San Francisco 49ers pre-determined their head coach by taking on discussions with a future white head coach, this year it’s the University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, without meeting any Black coach in college or NFL, which breaks the spirit of the Rooney Rule. Harbaugh might get a second chance with the New York Jets after his stint in San Francisco with the 49ers and his well-documented battle between quarterbacks Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick. This is tampering, or collusion, either way it is wrong. Last week the league sent an internal office memo to all 32 teams to cease these actions and warned the New York Jets.
The ROONEY RULE:- Requires each team to interview at least one minority candidate for a senior executive job. The San Francisco 49ers-Detroit Lions found ways around this rule and both teams were fined but now other teams like the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets continue this disturbing trend.
Last year Black General Managers numbers continue to drop from six to two with the loss of Martin Mayhew-Detroit Lions, Doug Whaley-Buffalo Bills, Rick Smith-Houston Texans, and Jerry Reese- New York Football Giants. In 2018 The Oakland Raiders fired Reggie McKenzie in December leaving Ozzie Newsome of the Baltimore Ravens the Lone Ranger. The Ravens have had one losing season in 11 years. The Ozzie Newsome Show has been running since 1996 with no signs of slowing down. The Last Black General Manager and nobody talking about this or asking WHY? Remember who makes most of the personnel decisions, the General Manager, power and control. In Oakland Jon Gruden flexed his muscle and McKenzie was showed the door. Gruden dismantled the Raiders to fit his image.
Behind the scenes the President of the United States, Donald J Trump is walking around the White House clapping his hands in approval. His ranting against the NFL and Colin Kaepernick the past two years might have something to do with these numbers.
FUTURE HEAD COACHES
Jim Harbaugh should not be near any NFL team because of his personality and his past play calling. Just as current UCLA Bruin head coach Chip Kelly who blew up the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers. Let an African American head coach act like Kelly or Harbaugh he would be escorted out the team’s front door at light speed never to be seen again.
Last year the Oakland Raiders hired Jon Gruden, with a foregone conclusion that Chucky would be wearing Black and Silver, this should never happen under the Rooney Rules. Gruden is currently doing a cheap Chip Kelly impression in the Bay Area. Gruden like Kelly either traded or released all of the Black active team leaders, Raider kicker Marqette King went to Denver, wide receiver Amari Cooper to Dallas, and defensive lineman Khalil Mack to Chicago. Have you noticed Running Back Marshawn Lynch has not carried the ball since October 22? That covered every team in Oakland except the defensive backs, stripping any resistance to Chucky’s rule.
Haven’t we’ve seen this movie before in Santa Clara, California and Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia. How did that turn out?
Five (AFC) American Football Conference Black head coaches and one (NFC) National Football Conference head coach could hear the knocking on the door with pink slips in hand this New Year’s Eve. Since the inception of the Rooney Rule in 2003, 18 minority head coaches have been hired, 25 in NFL history from Fritz Pollard-Akron Pros 1921 to Steve Wilks-Arizona Cardinals 2018 progress maybe, but work still needs to be done when 80% of the players on the field are African American.
What happened to the intelligent coaches in college like Stanford’s – David Shaw, Willie Taggart-University of Oregon, Kevin Sumlin-University of Arizona and Charlie Strong-University of South Florida with the current longest winning streak in division one. One cannot dismiss the ten other Black head coaches in the NCAA which the NFL seems to have done. Then what about the many great (HBCU’s) Historically Black College and University head coaches? Can you imagine the great Hall of Fame Grambling University Tiger Head Coach Eddie Robinson walking the sidelines leading an NFL team with his football knowledge?
This is the life of any coach in any sport, getting hired to be fired is part of the job, this is a reality but African American coaches are held to a different and higher standard, they are on a shorter time frame just as Black quarterbacks. Is it fair? Is it right? No, but it’s a reality.
Black Head Coaches at the end of 2018 Football Season
Anthony Lynn- Los Angeles Chargers* (12-4)
Mike Tomlin- Pittsburgh Steelers (9-6-1)
Marvin Lewis- Cincinnati Bengals (6-10)
Vance Joseph- Denver Broncos (6-10)
Todd Bowles- New York Jets (4-12)
Steve Wilks- Arizona Cardinals (3-13)
* means job safe the last week of the season
COACH OF THE YEAR
Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers should be coach of the year in 2018. Lynn has turned around the mediocre quarterback Phillip Rivers and guided the Bolts to the battle for the (AFC) American Football Conference west division title against the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs played the Oakland Raiders while the Chargers played the Broncos in Denver Sunday afternoon late games to end the season for the west title.
The League pushed back against Black leadership-fearing the Colin Kaepernick-San Francisco quarterback protest experience. The seven random-(not random) drug testing of Eric Reid of the Carolina Panthers, nobody in the league had to be subjected to this. Reid was a supporter of Colin Kaepernick and a teammate in San Francisco. Just another warning shot at Black leadership in the National Football League, shut up and play. The huge fine for Pittsburgh Steeler head coach, Mike Tomlin after protesting calls on the field, shut up and coach. The awful and dreadful referee calls (holding and off sides on third downs) against the Steelers, Jets, and Broncos informs the football fans who is really in charge. Strange calls (illegal procedure and holding on third downs) against Black quarterbacks Kansas City Patrick Mahomes and the Field General Russell Wilson just reinforces this notion the league abhors Black leadership. If a team’s line of scrimmage is on the 40 yard line with a third down and three. The play call for the head coach and quarterback is simple a running play or a short pass but when a holding, illegal procedure, or off sides are called by the officials it creates a different play called and a longer distance for a first down changing the dynamic and momentum of the team.
Classic example years ago when the Seattle Seahawks were on the one yard line with a first and ten at the end of the Super Bowl. The Hawks had the best quarterback (Wilson) and the best running back (Marshawn Lynch). Wilson threw a cross pass pattern into the middle of the field for an interception and a New England Patriot championship. Now just think if Lynch was given the ball to score the winning touchdown the officials would have called it back for holding, off sides, illegal procedure, or whatever Seattle would have had to replay the down. This is the power of the referees changing the game.
Black quarterbacks and Black coaches cannot be American heroes until they are safe by conservative American standards and Wilson would have won back to back Super Bowls against two of the best NFL quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Wilson would have been the first African American quarterback to do that. The Kaepernick protest and backlash turned many African Americans away from the game. The NFL hiring procedures do not help either.
If the Dallas Cowboys meet the New England Patriots for this year’s Super Bowl it makes it clear to the world who is really in charge of the National Football League. Two of the most conservative teams in the league telling the other owners and head coaches get in line or get out. These two teams have been inconsistent all year long on the field in their weak eastern divisions, yet they are in the playoffs again. HMMMMM!!!!
So if you are African American and still watching the National Football League the question should be asked, WHY?, When it is very clear the league really is not interested in you. When you have an owner that has a team name that is not pleasing to Native Americans, WHY? When there is only one Black general manager and 2 head coaches out of 32 teams, WHY?
This is complete power and complete control something many people do not want to hear but this is the proof and the evidence.
Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian, Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston, Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email Glcgray@gmail.com
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