Stephen A. Smith Thinks Rooney Rule Is Hurting African American Coaches
Stephen A. Smith vehemently injects race into his hot takes just to get some attention from the internet. We know this about him. But you've got to give the guy credit because sometimes, every so often, he makes an interesting point about the systems that --unintentionally or not -- maintain racial inequality.
Thursday morning, it seemed as if he was gearing up to make Lovie Smith's firing as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers about [drumroll] race (read: he was fired because he isn't white). After one season with a rookie quarterback, Smith managed to win four more games than his predecessor, so the case could be made that his departure was a bit premature, but it'd be hard to argue that the Bucs' front office didn't have legitimate reasons to let him go, as well. After all, he lost five of his last six games. That's certainly a disappointing finish after a five and five start.
Stephen A. Smith made Lovie Smith's firing out to be symptom of black NFL coaches' reliance on other black coaches and/or hall of fame coaches for job security -- a problem white coaches do not have to contend with because owners give them more credit (or something).
"think about the pattern that we're talking here. the few black coordinators that you do have have a head coach on the same side of the ball. which means essentially that you're not necessarily leading. now there are exceptions. the one exception or the two exceptions would be hue jackson, who runs the offense in cincinnati. hired by a black coach in marvin lewis. all right? and he's allowed to do his own thing. and you've got romeo crennel who's a lifer, who worked under bill parcells and bill belichick. so either you got to have a brother giving a brother the opportunity to run his own show, or you have to be an elite hall of fame coach, secured in your stature that's ordered to hire an african-american to lead. outside of that, every other african-american coordinator basically has a head coach on the same side of the ball, so you're essentially leading the way even though that's the job of a head coach, to be fair. the reality is that it's given the impression and the interpretation that black men can't lead."
Smith's less contentious point came later in his six-minute rant, when he argued that "The Rooney Rule" -- which requires NFL franchises to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs -- may actually work against the interests of black coaching candidates.
it's not going to surprise me at all if in a year or two we don't see an african-american head coach in the game. because it's one of those situations where rooney rule has been instituted, it's been implemented and still the nonsense takes place. we're going to have herm edwards on the show. he came on my radio show yesterday, skip, and made a very, very valid point. we've got to a point where african-american coaches need to be careful about actually accepting interviews. because if the case of a duce staley, for example, you had to do the interview because you were working for the philadelphia eagles all of these years. but the react is this. if you are an african-american and you get called for an interview because they're not serious about the interview, because we all know that tampa bay is going through the process because they already know who they want to give the job to...they know who they're going to hire. so you're going to go through the old standard of honoring the rooney rule and interviewing candidates just to say you interviewed, but herm edwards pointed out that the owners will see that and say, 'well, they've already been interviewed two or three times and they didn't get those jobs so evidently they weren't that impressive so why give them this job?' what we're seeing is us taking steps back, not steps forward. i'm sorry if folks believe that's race baiting. it just happens to be factual, but if that's where you want to take it, i don't give a damn.
The full clip, below...
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