The Racial Divide: NFL Edition

You just graduated from your undergrad degree, ready to make a name for yourself in the world. You want to be at the top of your career: CEO, head coach, elite athlete, layer, etc. Getting to the top is no easy task, it may take years of experience and hard work climbing the corporate ladder one step at a time. Some lucky people, however, have an elevator ride to the top and it’s no secret but only some hold the key. What is it you may ask? When competing for a top position the best quality for your resume is being a white man. This may come as a surprise for some, but, for many, it has been a reality for years.

The white man’s advantage is something the corporate world and the NFL have in common. When the Giants were in need of a coach, the colour of his skin seemed to be the deciding factor rather than actual experience. Joe Judge, a white man with no experience in a head coaching role, was chosen to fill this position because he simply had “a certain presence about him.” Of the 32 current head coaches in the NFL, 29 are white males.

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The NFL’s racial divide, in one chart (Source: Nikhil Sonnad)

This large presence of white coaches stands out in one of the richest sport organizations as 3/4 of its athletes are African American. With more than half of the players in the NFL it would seem fitting for black coaches to find success, but “In the past three years, 19 head-coaching positions were available, but just two black coaches filled those openings.” Like many organizations, the NFL has a rule to help with diversity and save face. This rule is known as the Rooney Rule; it requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head-coaching jobs and executive positions. However, with head decision makers being (you guessed it) largely white, the minority candidates don’t tend to make it much further than the interview process itself. The fact of the matter is that race issues are an ongoing battle for the NFL, but there would be no NFL without black players. The league needs to seriously reconsider it’s policy and who they stand with and realize that white is not always the best colour.


Feature Image: Joe Judge (source: ClutchPoints)

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