For two weeks I have been avoid writing about a certain topic that has just been annoying me to no end. Today it reached its boiling point thanks to something from the political sphere. Just before the Conference Championships there was a mention, on one of the sports show that I listen to or maybe it was one of the pre-game shows, that if both the Bears and the Colts were to win not only would it be the first time an African-American head coach would take a team to the Super Bowl. It would also be the first time two African-American head coaches would face each other in the Super Bowl. My first reaction to this was surprise that there hadn’t already been a black head coach in the Super Bowl, I guess I was thinking Art Shell had accomplished this feat. Anyways at this point I got the feeling this was a semi-historic moment deserving of the recondition it was getting. But then the Colts and Bears did win and the flood gates opened, and every ESPN analyst and their mother was talking about it. They brought on Marcus Allen, Doug Williams, Warren Moon, and every black athlete that was a guest on any of these show were asked by these analyst the same inane questions about its significance. Now I am your typical Caucasian/European mix but I found this terribly offensive as if it was a surprise that these coaches made it this far. These are two of the best coaches in football. It was only a matter of time until one of them, or if not them Marvin Lewis, would make it to the Super Bowl. Quite frankly Dungy should have been there a while ago but he was scammed out of it when Tampa Bay let him go and he had to watch Gruden take his team to the promise land. What as Gruden done with that team since. Now at this point I had had it but then I listen to an interview with Doug Williams. He brought up whether this issue was getting to much attention, let me stress he brought it up the analyst just followed the same typical line of questioning. He talked about his experience coming through Grambling and compared that to Warren Moon’s experiences, in reference to a collaboration session they had with the creators of the book “Third and a Mile.” Basically, I saw his point of view, decided (internal dialogue): “what does this white kid know anyways,” and pushed the thought to the back of my brain. Watched the Super Bowl, as die hard Marino fan, was happy to see Peyton get his Super Bowl. Victory was great the moment had past.
Yesterday on the The Big Show though, Dan Patrick decided to stick his nose in the goings on of the political scene, as he often does with Keith Oberman. The issue was senator Joe Biden’s failed attempt to compliment his competition, senator Barack Obama. Basically they were talking about the different words that we use when talking about different races and how a normal complimentary word comes out as condescending. The fact Biden called Obama “clean” as if expecting something different from a person in his position; when was the last time you heard someone describe a white politician as clean. While that was the extreme example of this, it was the same feeling I got when they were talking about Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy and grilling every black athlete that came on the different shows.
I agree this was a significant moment but, the way the media was beating it over the head, I felt was highly disrespectful and just furthers the racial gap. We need to look to the future and congratulate these coaches for what they have accomplished as coaches not keep tying us to the past by magnifying a difference which should be looked upon no different than the color of their eyes. While this maybe a very optimistic stance pessimism will never get us there. We have to create a culture where there isn’t differences otherwise the next generation will grow up with the same preconceived ideas.