As the regular season wrapped up, NFL teams who didn’t make the playoffs must immediately re-evaluate every aspect of their team. They try to find any possible way to improve the organization’s chances of making the playoffs next year.
Many NFL organizations take the route of changing the roster, while others make the decision to fire their head coach and start from square one.
When the 2018 NFL regular season kicked off, there were seven African American head coaches. When the 2018 regular season came to a close, only two black coaches remained secure in their jobs. Naturally, this predominately normal firing process created a fire storm between people with different outlooks on the situation. Some believe that the coaches were fired firmly based on the color of their skin, while others believe that head coach firings are simply predicated off their performance, not their race.
ESPN’s TV and radio personality, Stephen A. Smith, sounded off about the firing of black NFL head coaches. Smith is pushing the narrative that the firing of these coaches was because they were black. On the contrary, sports talk show host, Mike Francesa of New York’s WFAN, made it clear he doesn’t understand why people are making such a big deal about these NFL head coach firings.
“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,” Mike Francesa said.
Once Stephen A. Smith caught wind of Francesa’s comments on the situation, he immediately fired back with the standard defensive and triggered response, lacking logic and fact, with his answer clearly being based in his feelings.
“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 shouted.
Mike Francesa falls into a large category of people who believe the country is and should be “past” making decisions (especially in sports) based simply on an individual’s skin tone.
“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.”
ESPN’s Smith thinks Mike Francesa is out of place and unqualified to say the phrase “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?” Stephen A. Smith exclaimed.
Stephen A. Smith blew a gasket, making his main point about “you just don’t get it because you’re not black so shut up.” Mike Francesa, however, talked about how he thinks the skin color of NFL coaches is completely 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?” said Francesa.
The more Smith learned about Francesa’s take on the situation the more upset he grew. Eventually he just told Francesa to shut up about the 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).