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NFL: The Necessity of The Rise Of Black Head Coaches

The number of black head coaches in the NFL is once again on the rise. The NFL, which has long strived for more diversity among its coaching ranks, will have as many minority coaches as it’s ever had in the upcoming 2017 season.

Although much of the NFL front offices and head coaching jobs are still predominantly white, minorities have been making strides into acquiring these coaching jobs. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, former NFL quarterback Michael Vick worked as a summer intern for Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid in hopes of pursuing a coaching career.

The NFL will have at least eight minority head coaches this season. This should be music to everyone’s ears because coaching diversity has been an issue in all American sports for decades. The same opportunities that are frequently given to white people over and over again, we don’t have the luxury of.

In 2003, the NFL instituted the Rooney Rule. The Rooney Rule requires NFL teams to interview minority candidates for vacant head coaching positions. When the rule was implemented, there was only one minority head coach. Over the next eight years, that number grew, peaking in 2011 at eight.

Although the number of minority coaches dropped to four in 2013 and raised concerns, the number is now again on the rise. Out of those eight minority coaches this season, seven of them are black.

Black coaches are so vital in the sports world – especially those comprised of mostly African Americans. They can play a key role with black players and black kids watching all around the world. Seeing someone that looks like them in that position can offer them ways to relate to them as an individual and know that those opportunities are out there for them. They can be role models to the little black boys who may love the sport but may not want to or can’t play it professionally. Coaching can be an alternative for them.

Now, although the number of minority coaches is as high as it’s ever been, it still isn’t enough. Especially when the number can plummet next year. We need more diversity in these front office and coaching jobs. Eight really isn’t that high of a number. It’s hard to ignore that the “best coach/guy available” for the job is almost always a white guy.

The league’s players are predominantly black. There should be no reason that there is a disconnect between the number of minorities playing and the number coaching them.

What do you think the disconnect is keeping the number of black coaches low in sports? Sound off in the comments below.

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About Shekera Clarke

My name is Shekera Clarke. I am currently a senior at the University at Albany majoring in journalism with a business minor. I grew up in Queens, NY. QGTM! My goals upon graduating include either writing for a pop culture magazine/blog or work for ESPN because of my love for sports - whether that's behind the scenes or on air.

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