Sunday, December 14, 2008
It's been whispered about and hinted at behind closed doors and on blogs, but ESPN's Mark Schlabach let the cat out of the bag today on ESPN's Outside the Lines.
When coaching spots opened up in the SEC, it wasn't long before the names of top black coaching prospects Turner Gill and Charlie Strong popped up. If you believe the positive buzz, these guys are among the best and brightest coaching prospects in the country. Yet, there were some who doubted whether these guys really had a shot at getting these coaching jobs. Why? Because they are black men married to white women.
Given the low number of black coaches in college football, it wasn't much of a shock to watch these guys get passed up for others, including two gentlemen who have failed miserably at previous coaching destinations.
It was a shock for me to hear Mark Schlabach reveal that a couple of coaches informed him that Gill would NEVER get the job at Auburn because he is married to a white woman. It was also refreshing.
The problem for black people is that no matter how racist something may be, you know you will face an immediate backlash if you speak on it. Your statements and concerned are dismissed as playing the race card. The entire conversation focuses in so hard on whether the act was racist that you never even get to discuss the act itself. Even worse, the person walks off looking worse than they had before.
So having a white journalist at ESPN speak on blatant discrimination was nice. The thought that these guys are being passed on because of who they married is beyond upsetting. Turner Gill took an absolutely horrible Buffalo program and has completely turned them around. Gene Chizik has taken a team that went to bowl games 5 of the last 6 seasons and won 5 games in two years with them. Chizik is not even as good a coach as the guy Auburn let go.
Yet, Chizik will be the new coach at Auburn and Turner Gill and all the other qualified black coaches wait for the next opportunity.
Welcome to post-racial America.