ESPN NFL reporter Sal Paolantonio spoke on Tuesday’s ESPN Radio show “Mike and Mike” about the situation with Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly being labeled a racist by former players LeSean McCoy and Brandon Boykin and former assistant coach Tra Thomas, as well as ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who has hinted multiple times that Kelly’s transactions are driven by race.
Paolantonio said in his 20 or more years covering the NFL he has never heard African-American players bring up racial tension between a coach and players and explained that what has happened over the last year between the police and African-Americans “over and over again all over the country” as what has changed the race dialogue in the United States.
“Here’s the third rail that never was heard before at this level over and over again, and that’s race. And it’s become such a big part of the dialogue within the country in the last year because of what’s happened between the police and the African-American community over and over again all over the country. The president of the United States talking about it. I watched Jeb Bush have a one-on-one interview with Lester Holt on NBC on Sunday night. It was all about race.”
He added, “Honestly in the 20 years I’ve been covering the league, 20 years-plus, I’ve never heard African-American players publicly bring up the word racism and race and differences over race between a coach and player multiple times. this, to me, feels different, and I don’t have the answer. I don’t know what’s going on.”
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