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Whitlock: ‘Inspire Change’ commercial campaign hints at the ‘well-intentioned’ liberal racism hurting black NFL coaches

Op-ed
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The biggest mistake you can make in modern American media is to give black people, particularly black men, the information, context, and advice they need to make successful life decisions.

Nothing sparks corporate and social media derision quicker than a well-intentioned black person passing along or promoting a worldview that leads to self-sufficiency and achievement.

It’s the equivalent of teaching a black slave to read in 1821. It’s borderline unlawful, a threat to disrupt a long-established natural order of white Americans as the primary providers and caregivers for black people. It’s as innate as a dog lover feeding his golden retriever and taking him for a poop 30 minutes later. It’s the way things are meant to be.

This natural order explains the yearly media discourse around NFL head coaching vacancies, a discussion we’re about to have now that six head coaches have been canned. The overwhelming majority of the conversation focuses on shaping NFL owners into well-intentioned providers and caregivers or, as they’re affectionately known now, “allies” and “comrades.”

According to conventional media wisdom, the road to opportunity and success for aspiring black NFL head coaches is to train Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft, Jim Irsay, Dean Spanos, etc. into being better pet owners. It’s the same strategy being advocated across corporate America. Black progress cannot be achieved until white people are taught to love and trust black dogs.

Rational black men do not see themselves as pets in need of a home. We see ourselves as men capable of providing for ourselves and competing against our peers, regardless of color.

Explain the rules of the game and then let us compete. That’s all we ask.

This is at the root of my frustration with corporate sports media. Journalists and pundits refuse to properly educate aspiring black coaches about the rules that govern high-profile leadership positions, such as NFL head coach. The media love to tell you about the outdated rules, the ones from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s that clearly implied black men need not apply. But those rules have been significantly relaxed and/or abandoned.

If journalists had a legitimate interest in the advancement of black NFL assistant coaches, they wouldn’t focus on the Rooney Rule, which demands that NFL owners interview a set quota of black candidates. They would educate the public and assistant coaches on the Lombardi Profile.

Legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi established the preferred profile of a successful NFL head coach. Lombardi retired from the NFL in 1970. For the past 50 years, NFL owners have been trying to hire the next Vince Lombardi.

Lombardi was a Christian authoritarian who attended mass every day. He married at age 27, fathered two kids, devoted his life to coaching football, and became the Packers’ head coach at age 46. He was a conservative, boot-strap patriarch.

This morning, I researched the 20 most successful NFL coaches over the past 50 years, since the establishment of the Lombardi Profile. Here’s who made my list:

Bill Belichick, Don Shula, Bill Walsh, Joe Gibbs, Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, Bill Parcells, John Madden, Bud Grant, Andy Reid, Tony Dungy, Dick Vermeil, Bill Cowher, Mike Tomlin, Sean Payton, Marv Levy, John Harbaugh, Jon Gruden, Pete Carroll, and Bruce Arians.

Every one of them – except Marv Levy – married young and had children. Levy did not marry until age 68. All of them sustained marriages for at least 20 years, including Levy.

In general, successful NFL coaches have a conservative worldview, profess religious faith, and build and maintain long marriages. They adopt basic Western civilization values.

They’re not leftist revolutionaries with communist leanings. They believe in the nuclear family and the American dream.

Does black, matriarchal, liberal culture prepare young black men to fit the Lombardi Profile, the profile NFL owners have desired for 50 years? Does the culture prepare black men for leadership of any kind?

Liberal culture is secular. It’s feminine. It wants to disrupt the nuclear family. It sees men as the root of evil. It teaches black men to see themselves as victims.

Through their “Inspire Change” initiative, black NFL players have been releasing national TV commercials – “Where I Come From” – that promote a liberal worldview and paint black people as victims. This past weekend, Bears safety Eddie Jackson narrated a 30-second spot that had a black boy state: “When I get a job, I’ll make $10,000 less than white people with the same skills.”

Earlier in the season, Lions linebacker Trey Flowers starred in one with an older black woman stating: “If you look like me, you’re overpoliced, overcharged, and over-incarcerated.”

The commercials are Twitter-deep and illogical. They’re designed to trigger and emote. The actor dancing in the background says all you need to know about the depth of the message.

The commercials call into question the seriousness of the people paying for them. Do they represent the mindset of the typical black man? If so, are these men leaders? What percentage of black NFL assistant coaches fit the Lombardi Profile?

Black men marry at a lower rate than white men, divorce at a higher rate than white men, and father illegitimate children at a higher rate than white men. That’s a lethal combination that undermines black leadership. Instability at home and baby-mama drama impact work performance.

Marriage is just as much a business decision as a heart decision. Does corporate media explain that when discussing the racial disparity among NFL head coaches? Is our candidate pool sabotaged by a culture that pulls us the opposite direction from the preferred profile?

Victims aren’t great leaders. Neither are men trapped in family dysfunction. Maybe our adoption of liberal culture is the real systemic racism blocking our path forward.
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