Stephen A. Smith says hiring of biracial head coach doesn’t fix NFL’s alleged racism 

At issue, Smith says, "is the scarcity of Black men who have been given opportunities to be head coaches in the National Football League."

On his ESPN show First Take, Stephen A. Smith addressed the long-standing lack of diversity among head coaches in the National Football League. 

Smith specifically noted that the hiring of Mike McDaniel — who identifies as multiracial — does not fix the issue. 

Ever-opinionated commentator Stephen A. Smith addressed the lack of diversity among head coaches in the NFL on his ESPN show, “First Take.” (Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

McDaniel, an offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, was hired Sunday night to replace Brian Flores as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. 

“What I’m saying is the conversation last week, pertaining to the Brian Flores situation, is the scarcity of Black men who have been given opportunities to be head coaches in the National Football League,” Smith said on Monday, according to Mediaite

“The Rooney Rule was implemented in 2003,” Smith said. “At the time it was implemented, there were three Black head coaches. It is now 2022, and it’s one.” He noted that in the 100-plus years of the NFL, the New York Giants is one of six teams to have never hired a Black head coach, while owner John Mara is a member of the diversity committee. Smith argued that there are “people associated with the National Football League that are famous for giving lip service.” 

Smith also sounded off opposite former NFL player Michael Irvin about reports that quarterback Josh McCown was being considered for a head-coaching role leading the Houston Texans against Lovie Smith, who is Black; the latter got the job. The veteran ESPN host noted that McCown had never coached in the NFL or at college level, while Smith is a veteran coach who’s been to the Super Bowl twice.

“If that ain’t an insult to Black coaches everywhere,” Smith wondered aloud, “what the hell is?”

Mara was one of the people named in the class-action lawsuit filed against the league by Flores last week. The Rooney Rule requires that teams consider a diverse group of candidates, but most often, teams continue to hire white men. 

“This isn’t about me. This is bigger than football,” Flores told ESPN last Wednesday morning. “This is about equal opportunity for qualified Black candidates, not just in football, but everywhere, in all industries.”

As previously reported, the 58-page complaint filed in a New York federal court last Tuesday accuses the NFL of being “rife with racism,” and blasts team administrators for not doing more to hire and retain Black head coaches, coordinators and general managers.

“It’s certainly something I’m aware of,” Mara said last week when NJ Advance Media asked him about the Giants’ historical failure to hire a Black head coach. “At the end of the day, we want to get the right person. I think we have a good, diverse group of candidates right now, and will make a decision based on who we think will be the best person to lead us in the future. But it was very important that we have a diverse group of candidates.”

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