The Conscience Of NewsCorp, Phil Mushnick, in today’s New York Post, congratulating Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy.
The media at large have already made it clear – and will make it clear many more times in the coming week – that two black head coaches in this year’s Super Bowl constitutes a big, BIG story.
Yet, the bigger story may be that many-to-most football fans don’t think it’s a big story because they don’t think it’s a big deal. That might be the bigger story and the better story. And, upon reflection (or further review), that should make us feel pretty good.
Most of those I’ve canvassed about this year’s Super Bowl being coached by two African-Americans regard that as a non-issue. They couldn’t care less. That’s right, the skin color of the head coaches in this year’s Super Bowl means nothing to a lot of people.
And that’s a huge story, no? Or is it the kind that should be dismissed as insignificant?
It seemed that a bigger race-based story was provided by the NHL on Jan. 11, when Kevin Weekes, black goalie, played for the Rangers against Ottawa’s Ray Emery (above), black goalie, in Madison Square Garden. Neat stuff.
But it wasn’t a big story, so what do I know?
Though I’ve been under the impression there were other storylines surround the pending Colts/Bears clash that were receiving bigger play (Peyton gunning for his first title, is Rex G.-the-shittiest-conference-champ-QB ever?, etc.) there remain perfectly legit, non-pandering reasons for the press to harp on the black coach angle. Whether or not the Rooney Rule can be considered a good thing (and giving someone a foot in the door can hardly be considered tokenism), the dichotomy between the racial makeup of the NFL workforce and that of management is always going to be under scrutiny, and rightly so. When you consider the paucity of non-white coaches in Division I college football, it is the height of folly to call this a non-issue. While that situation cannot be blamed on the NFL, if Phil doesn’t think there are institutional barriers that make climbing the career ladder tougher for a black coach than an equally talented white coach, he’s totally nuts.
I can’t deny the Weekes/Emery matchup was a story worthy of comment, and I was negligent in not mentioning it. Had it made the back page of that day’s New York Post, I might’ve thought about it a bit more.