The NFL started the 2018 regular season with seven black head coaches, but, five firings later, ended the year with only two.
This has upset some in the media like ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, but sports talk host Mike Francesa, of New York’s WFAN, doesn’t understand why this is a big deal.
“Five of the head coaches who got fired this year were black. So? Why is that a story? When you have as many black coaches as we have now, aren’t we past that? They didn’t fire them because they were black, they fired them because they were bad,” Francesa said.
After Smith heard Francesa say this, he went apoplectic on his ESPN radio show.
“It’s easy for you to say,’I thought we were past that.’ But when were you a part of it? When did you have to worry about fairness? When did you have to worry about being prejudiced against? When did you have to worry about being pigeon-holed and minimized.” Smith said at the top of his voice.
Francesa believes the country should be “past” making a big deal about black coaches losing their jobs.
“I can’t believe we are still looking at coaches and what color they are,” Francesa said. “Who cares? If they can coach, who cares what color they are? Man, c’mon we’re past that now.”
Smith doesn’t believe Francesa is qualified to say “we’re past that now.”
“For folks out there in white America, for folks out there hosting their own radio show, television show and beyond, so quick to point out, ‘I thought we were beyond this.’ Can you do me a favor and be quiet? Can you do me that favor?”
Francesa thinks when it comes to coaches getting fired, their color should be irrelevant .
“Listen, when you hire black coaches, that means black coaches are going to get fired,” Francesa said. “When you have as many black head coaches as they have, isn’t the story that you have enough that you can fire five and it shouldn’t be a story that five got fired this year? To me, who cares what color they are?”
Smith thinks Francesa needs to quiet down on this subject.
“Be decent enough to understand that you don’t understand and shut the hell up,” Smith said. “You don’t understand. You don’t get it.”
The five black head coaches who lost their jobs were Todd Bowles (New York Jets), Steve Wilks (Arizona Cardinals), Vance Joseph (Denver Broncos), Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati Bengals) and Hue Jackson (Cleveland Browns).
The two black head coaches still employed are Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers) and Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers).
It remains to be seen if any black coaches will fill the current openings.