Half of the coaches in the NBA are Black — The NFL doesn’t have an excuse anymore

Mike Tomlin and Lovie Smith met as head coaches in 2014.

Mike Tomlin and Lovie Smith met as head coaches in 2014.
Image: Getty Images

With less than 100 days before the 2022 season kicks off and a week after the NFL hosted a “diversity summit” for Black coaches, the NBA has shown us just how useless those summits are when you operate a league where the best person is hired for the job.

When the Los Angeles Lakers hired Darvin Ham — the pride of Saginaw, Michigan — last week, it meant that half of the coaches in a Black league like the NBA are…Black. Imagine that. A league where the bosses (coaches) somewhat mirror the workforce (players).



The NBA, a league that’s over 70 percent Black, has 15 Black coaches, while the NFL, a league that’s over 70 percent Black has 3 Black coaches. Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel does not count, as he doesn’t identify as Black.

“I identify as a human being and my dad is Black,” McDaniel declared at his introductory press conference.

One of the many frustrating things about racism is that deniers of it always want some type of “proof,” as if hate is quantifiable. But, sometimes it is. And in the case of the continual lack of Black coaches in the NFL, the NBA now has produced a statistic that proves just how racist the hiring practices in the NFL are.

Since 2000, only 26 Black men — sans McDaniel — have been hired to be head coaches in the NFL. And most of the time, they are brought in to clean up impossible messes and aren’t given the same amount of time to turn things around like their white counterparts are. And once they’re out of the door, it’s back to being a coordinator, becauseas Black coaches rarely get a second chance at being the head man in the facility.

Think about it, have you ever seen the Black version of Jeff Fisher in the NFL?

Nope. We’re not allowed to go 8-8 every season and still be respected, beloved, and always in consideration when jobs become available.

The pinnacle of Black coaching in the NFL occurred in 2007, when Lovie Smith (Bears) and Tony Dungy (Colts) met in the Super Bowl. I, as it’s still the only time two Black coaches have met in the biggest sporting event on the planet. Since 2000, there have only been five Black coaches in the Super Bowl, and the last one to make it was Mike Tomlin, which happened over a decade ago in 2011.

This is the part where I remind you that the new version of the XFL, which will start in 2023, already has more Black coaches than the NFL, as Hines Ward, Terrell Buckley, Reggie Barlow, and Rod Woodson will make up four of the league’s eight head coaches. They will be joined by Wade Phillips, Bob Stoops, Anthony Becht, and Jim Haslett.

Over in the NBA, Black coaches have made the Finals the last two seasons. And since 2000, 11 Black coaches have been in the final series of the playoffs.

Funny how one Black league can find Black talented coaches, but the other majority-Black league needs annual workshops and summits just to collect resumes. Loretta Lynch should probably tell her clients — the NFL — to settle the Brian Flores lawsuit sooner than later, because how do you explain this when the NBA just proved that racism is a choice? And an expensive one at that. 

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