ProFootballTalk.com has interesting posts more often than not, but this one is down right silly. I'll post it first, then respond to it:
WHISPERS OF REVERSE DISCRIMINATION CONTINUE
In the wake of the recent hiring of Tony Softli by the Rams and Don Gregory by the Panthers, there continue to be whispers in league circles that teams are more willing to grant permission to African-American front-office candidates than they are for white candidates.
Under NFL rules, the only promotion in a new city that a team cannot block is a promotion that gives the employee "final say" authority over the roster, the draft, and/or the coach. For any promotion short of one in which "final say" is involved, teams can block front-office employees who are currently under contract.
Some league insiders are troubled by the fact that white front-office employees have been barred from non-"final say" promotions. Most recently, Patriors exec Tom Dimitroff (who is white) was refused permission to interview for the Rams' V.P./Player Personnel gig, which ultimately went to Softli.
Meanwhile, guys like Softli, Gregory, and former Broncos assistant G.M. Rick Smith (all of whom are African-American) received permission to leave their former teams for jobs that did not entail "final say" authority in a new city.
But other league insiders dispute the notion that teams are applying a double standard when deciding who gets permission and who doesn't. In Softli's case, for example, the strong thinking is that he got permission to leave not so that the Panthers could curry favor with the Fritz Pollard Alliance, but because the team was ready to see him go after he had spent two years or more scampering for a bigger gig elsewhere.
Also, it's our understanding that the search resulting in the hiring of Gregory to replace Softli included at least one white scout from another team who received permission to interview for the job, even though he was still under contract.
But regardless of whether African-American candidates are or are not receiving preferential treatment when it comes to getting permission under circumstances where permission can be denied, the human-nature reality of the situation is that the NFL's efforts to place more minorities into high-profile positions will prompt the guys who feel they're getting the short end of the stick to say so privately.
Here's why that's totally silly. First, white front office candidates have been getting favorable treatment for over 100 years of pro football in America. During this time there were few complaints of discrimination. But in the 21st Century when a group of young, talented, professionally trained African Americans armed with experience and degrees -- in some cases Masters Degrees like me -- emerges and are considered for and get high-paying, high-profile front office jobs, some white candidates cry "reverse discrimination" and then go to ProFootballTalk.com, which publishes it.
I've seen ProFootballTalk.com show pictures of African Americans in ways that could be considered completely racist -- like the one where a photo of "Chef" from South Park was used to represent Raiders Head Coach Art Shell
(What's up with that?) -- but I've never seen that online publication point out racism or discrimination where it's active at any point in its coverage of the NFL.
Look, it's a new World, get with it. There are smart, young, professionally-trained black men who will more often than not be on someone's short list for an NFL job in the future, and in some cases get those jobs. ProFootballTalk.com should be applauding this development and not trying to make the world safe for anyone white and male who thinks an executive position in the league should be theirs because they're white and male.
In my case, at the 2003 Leigh Steinberg Super Bowl Party in Houston, Bucs Head Coach John Gruden and GM Bruce Allen paid me a great complement when they remarked that I would be a great front office person in the NFL -- and I'm not even looking for a job there! It was a totally unsolicited complement but one I take to heart as coming from two well-respected NFL men who do seek out talented African American, Latino, and generally people of color. That's a good thing.
We're out there: young, gifted, and black. Embrace us; don't fear us. Rejoyce in the continued elimination of racial barriers, don't whine because they no longer exist.
It's called competition. Call for more of it, not less.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Posted by Zennie Abraham at 9:46 AM
I'm watching Jeremy Shockey on the NFL Network and just cracking up. I love the passion Jeremy Shockey brings to the game; the way he catches passes and bulls his way for yardage as he did in his first game as a rookie, a preseason tilt against the Houston Texans. But today -- as a veteran -- he was on the NFL Network as a guest and to be totally frank, he acted like he was a bit -- "loose."
In all of the episodes of the NFL Network I've watched, I've never seen any guest talk while host Darren Horton was reading the teleprompter in the process of doing the show. Jeremy Shockey did this several times and even to the point where Horton finally gave in and said "This is the Jeremy Shockey Show."
It was hard to watch.
I'd like to be a fly on the walls of the NFL Network studio to learn what the producers thought of that performance.
They can't be slapping high-fives. But, then on the other hand, as it makes for good Internet chatter...
Hey, give Shockey his props, as he provided insightful and heartfelt comments on the late NY Giants Owner Wellington Mara, and his information on newly-hired LB Lavar Aarington, whom Shockey reports is ready to take on all challengers this season after a serious off-season workout program.
But what got me was the number of times Jeremy Shockey rubbed his nose with his left thumb. Check it out -- again and again and again. What's he flicking away? Does he normally do this? Again, he's a massive talent -- there he goes again with the thumb but with the right hand this time -- but what's the deal?
Maybe -- with the white suit (cool, it is) and the thumb act and the interruptions -- he's bucking for a role in Miami Vice II.
Regardless, Shockey has his fans, including me. One produced this cool video:
Posted by Zennie Abraham at 2:28 AM