When it comes to the career of athletes opportunities can come thick and fast. From branding deals, to other media opportunities, a lot of these are very hard to refuse. No one should be critical of someone for getting paid, however, when there is a pattern on who is getting paid it should give people food for thought, especially in the top jobs in football and how it pertains to race.
So how often do black people get the coaching jobs or bigger contracts that they work hard for?
Out of the 92 clubs in the English Football League, only 7 managers are from a BAME background. Out of the 7 only one of them, Nuno Espirito Santo, is managing a premier league club: Wolverhampton Wanderers. Chris Hughton is Nottingham Forest manager, Valerien Ismael is the Barnsely head coach, Jobi Mcanuff is the Leyton Orient interim manager, Keith Curle only got the Oldham Athletic job on the 8th of March, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has returned to his first coaching job in Burton Albion in January. Also, Darren Moore who is now the manager of Sheffield Wednesday struggling in The Championship was managing West Brom in the championship and was in a comfortable position in the playoff places on a good run of form and still got the sack. He hasn’t been able to get a job at a club higher than league one since his departure.
Whereas Frank Lampard who only had a full season as a manager at Derby County lost the playoff final and still managed to get a job at Chelsea FC. Sol Campbell’s first job was at Macclesfield Town. There are also talks of John Terry getting the manager’s job at Bournemouth.
Ethnic minorities in English football clearly have to prove that they are capable of coaching at an elite level.
John Terry getting this position is a problem, because this is a man that had been in trouble with the FA for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand and had a lot of controversy off the field and still got the opportunity to get a job at a high level in football. Whereas someone like Andy Cole has to stick to the assistant managers job at Southend united. It is almost as if the personal life of a coach is completely irrelevant for some and important for others.
Furthermore, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who is manager of Manchester United has a relegation with Cardiff City in his CV and his other job was working at Molde in the Norwegian league. And Patrick Vieira can’t get the Arsenal job over Mikel Arteta who hasn’t managed ever in his career before Arsenal.
Let’s move over to the United States. In the NFL it is more of an issue as it was the first professional sport to introduce the ‘Rooney Rule’. The Rule was introduced in 2003 and was named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney which requires teams to interview ethnic minorities. This had been brought to attention when Tony Dungy lost his job at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002 despite not having a losing season during his 6 seasons there. Also, the Minnesota Vikings released coach Dennis Green when he had his first losing season in ten years. This shows the double standards in the sport when the Dallas Cowboys had kept head coach Jason Garret for 10 seasons only appearing in the playoffs 3 times, keeping the job due to the fact he kept the job based on his relationship with the owner and general manager Jerry Jones.
Another example of the NFL having unconscious decision making based on white privilege is the Las Vegas Raiders hiring Mike Mayock as their general manager. This is a man who had been working in the media for decades working for the NFL Network with brilliant analysis of the game, a true savant got the job because of his relationship with the head coach Jon Gruden who won the super bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Not because he can do the job because he never even did the job. If hiring members of the media with jobs as executives in the NFL, why isn’t Stephen A Smith an executive for an NBA or NFL team since people in the media are being recruited?
Negotiating contracts is a big thing in the NFL also particularly with the current situation with the Dallas Cowboys. The Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable organisation in all of sports and they haven’t appeared in a super bowl since 1995. They have been allergic to prosperity but one player who was the epitome of the lack of success was former Quarterback Tony Romo. Romo in his 9 years as a starter for the Cowboys only won 2 playoff games in that span and got $108 million with 55 million guaranteed.
He got that contract despite having numerous injury problems and underperforming in the big games. Now there is Dak Prescott who is the current starting quarterback for the cowboys achieved what Romo has, it has taken over 3 years for Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to get him a contract he deserved. At the end of the day, white privilege is all over sports and it can easily be forgotten about and even not recognised but it needs to be addressed that even with the Rooney Rule in place it does not guarantee an equal opportunity to people who look like me.