Photo of football players in an article by LTC Allen West on the Old School Patriot

Skin Color or Skin in the Game?

In Culture, Front Page by Allen West

While many of you were enjoying your New Year celebrations, the leftists in America were hard at work stoking racial dissension in America. That latest emerged this past Monday, New Year’s Eve when many were not paying attention. Well, I was.

As reported by the Washington Post:

“The NFL’s recent efforts to strengthen its minority hiring practices by bolstering enforcement of its longstanding Rooney Rule have been followed by a firing cycle that has disproportionately affected the league’s African-American head coaches, significantly dwindling their ranks. 

Five of the eight coaches fired leaguewide since midway through the regular season are African American. That has left only three minority coaches in the NFL as the carousel spins anew to replace those coaches just fired. 

The sport continues to grapple with its minority-hiring issues 16 years after team owners, under the threat of litigation, enacted the Rooney Rule in December 2002. The rule is named for late Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, the former chairman of the NFL’s workplace diversity committee, and it requires each team with a head coaching vacancy to interview at least one minority candidate. It has been tweaked and strengthened over the years, most recently at the owners’ meeting in Dallas nearly three weeks ago. 

Leaders of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, the diversity group that works closely with the NFL on its minority hiring practices, said Monday they are watching the current firing-and-hiring cycle closely and are not overly alarmed or concerned at this point about the number of African-American coaches being dismissed. But the decreased number of African-American head coaches does reinforce the need for ongoing efforts to ensure that fair opportunities exist for minority coaches, they said. 

“We all know it’s win or go home,” John Wooten, the chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, said in a phone interview. “We’ll work at it and go on. We’ll keep looking at it and push forward for the next opportunities.” 

Of the minority coaches fired, Hue Jackson was dismissed by the Cleveland Browns during the season. The New York Jets’ Todd Bowles, the Denver Broncos’ Vance Joseph, the Arizona Cardinals’ Steve Wilks and the Cincinnati Bengals’ Marvin Lewis were ousted since Sunday’s conclusion of the regular season. The Bengals called Lewis’s departure a mutual decision and Lewis said at a news conference that both he and owner Mike Brown believed it was time to part ways after 16 seasons. 

Fritz Pollard Alliance leaders have said over the years they are focused on ensuring that the interviewing and hiring process is fair, not on attempting to dictate which coaches are hired and fired by teams.”

I found the headline of the WaPo article to be rather interesting, “This NFL firing cycle is disproportionately affecting minority head coaches.” There were eight NFL head coaches that were fired this cycle, and we all know that is what happens after the last game of the season. This has nothing to do with the color of skin, but rather the ability to win. Now, some may argue that Steve Wilks, 3-13 in his first season with the Arizona Cardinals, should get one to two more seasons. As well, Vance Joseph, 11-21 in two seasons with the Denver Broncos, should get one more season. Well, businesses are not run based on diversity statistics, they are run on success. On the other hand, you have Anthony Lynn of the LA Chargers. In his first season, he went 12-4 and is in the playoffs.

I wonder if the author of this article is insinuating that quotas are more important than results? There is not much hoopla about the three white coaches who were fired from Tampa Bay, Miami, or even earlier in the season when Green Bay let go Mike McCarthy. If there is one thing I despise about the progressive socialist left it is their “soft bigotry of low expectations.”

Does this author not realize that there may have been critical coaching decisions that proved unwise during this football season? In Cincinnati, Marvin Lewis has been there 16 seasons, and in the playoffs, he is 0-7 and has not made the playoffs in the last three seasons. People come out to see a winning team, and coaches do have an important part to play in the achievement of that goal.

Those of you who know me, know that I am a serious Atlanta Falcons fan. On Monday, even after beating Tampa Bay, the Falcons fired the offensive and defensive coordinators. Look, if you are a military commander, regardless of race or gender, if you cannot successfully lead and create a winning command climate, your efficiency report will reflect such, and you will not advance, be promoted. It is not a case of skin color but rather or not you can lead, exhibit care for your troops, and gain their trust and confidence.

Sadly, all the progressive socialist left sees is identity, not competence, and ability. Being a successful player in the NFL does not guarantee success as a coach. Amazingly, if all eight of the fired NFL coaches were white, there would have been no WaPo story. As it is, there shouldn’t have been a story anyway.

As the saying goes, there are two types of coaches, those who are fired, and those waiting to be fired. You coach at the behest of the owners, and the fans, both of whom want wins. After all, folks do not pay all that money for tickets, hot dogs, a drink, and whatever . . .  sitting out in rough weather, just to watch a losing team. Everyone wants a winner, and for these coaches who have lost their positions, there is an opportunity to grow from this experience. Just like when a player gets benched for poor performance, no one laments their skin color.

Once again I share with you this simple maxim, “America is about equality of opportunity, not equality of outcomes.” The former is reflective of our free market system, the latter, socialism. There is no place for socialism in sports competitions. We do not redistribute points and victories.