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Monday, January 22, 2007

At War With The Raider Nation Over Lane Kiffin and The Raiders' Affirmative Action For Young White Men

Upon the annoucement that the Oakland Raiders hired Lane Kiffin as their new head coach, it can be said that I went balistic. Why? Well, look at his background:

-- Two years as USC Offensive Coordinator, not six as reported on Raiderfans.net (Hey, did someone clear this with Norm Chow? I thought he was the USC OC and not Kiffin. Kiffin was promoted to OC in 2005, thus he's not been the USC OC for six years. Sorry, but the Raiderfans report is an error.)
--  No NFL coordinator experience
--  One year as Quality Control coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars
-- No college head coaching experience
--  No NFL head coaching experience

Why do the Raider fans report that Kiffin has six years of experience as USC's Offensive Coordinator, when USC reports this:

"...Lane Kiffin, the son of longtime pro and collegiate coach Monte Kiffin, is in his sixth year at USC. He joined the Trojan staff in February of 2001 and spent the 2001 season handling the tight ends. He became the wide receivers coach in 2002. In 2004, he took on the additional duty of passing game coordinator. In 2005, he was promoted to offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator, in addition to continuing as the wide receivers coach..."

The Raiders just insulted Tennessee Titans Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow, one of the greatest offensive coordinators in the game of football and the man who developed USC's passing system. Indeed, they should have just hired Norm Chow, who's Asian. So the Raiders are actually hiring an Assistant to an assistant at the NCAA level, right?

Plus, many USC fans are happy -- happy -- that Kiffin's gone. Check Scott Wolf of Inside USC. Or how about this AOL Blog where fans were pissed with Lane after the loss to UCLA? Heck, even UCLA fans are laughing at the Raiders! So why is the print media treating Al Davis as if he were some genius?


Or how about Hue Jackson, now Offensive Coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons and who's Black, has over 20 years of coaching experience, including Offensive Coordinator at two NCAA schools -- Cal and USC -- and now two NFL teams, and knows more pass offense than Kiffin ever saw or coached? Yet the Raiders never called him at all.

What gets me is that if Kiffin were Black, some in the media would question him as a Rooney Rule hire. But because he's White, his lack of qualifications get a pass from the media -- not me, however. It just goes to show how nuts and racist this society still is. Let Kiffin feel some heat for essentially allowing himself to be promoted as if Norm Chow didn't exist.

Regardless, many in the Raider nation were excited and not at all critical. To wake the throngs of sleeping Raiders fans, I posted this take on Raiderfans.net:

While I understand the excitement over Lane, my personal view is there's a HUGE misunderstanding over what a Head Coach -- A Good One -- does. The Raiders must be called out for "using" the Rooney Rule against its intent. They just interviewed one person to get around it -- James Lofton. Who's a wide receiver coach with the San Diego Chargers -- an NFL team.

Lane Kiffin comes from USC, not a pro team. Does he understand football administration at the pro level? Does he know how to manage a limited number of personel? He's got 100 football players at USC, but a limited number -- 53 -- with the Raiders.

So what does he do when he's got five linebackers, two are injured, and three are starting, and two of them play special teams? Does he have experience in handling this? What about using the Challenge Flag? What about all the other admin duties? How does he deal with players who are used to making a LOT of money and respect people who have been there at the pro level, and not as a quality control coach? I can do that job with my eyes closed.

NFL Head coaching is a hard, complex business. The Raiders --- I guess -- are going to really hold this guy's hand. A lot.

I feel sorry. Real sorry for all of the great NFL assistants -- regardless of color -- that were passed over and not even considered because the Raiders refuse to look at their organizational structure and change. I feel sorry for the players, who undoubtedly were not consulted about this matter and yet have to deal with what will be a VERY green person.

I feel sorry for the 31 WELL-QUALIFIED African American NFL assistant coaches who were not even consulted or listed. I feel sorry for Dennis Green, a proven coach who could come in and make a difference with the Silver and Black and didn't want to be PLAYED by the Raiders.

It's time for tough love. This Raiders need an enema. I'll write it here: Lane Kiffin is not the answer for the organization. The problems will continue -- back-stabbing and other matters -- well into this coming season.

This whole deal is enough to make me weep, but I won't.

Sure enough, I was taken to task for taking on Al Davis. It's not that I'm "taking him on" but for those who blindly -- and not critically -- follow what Mr. Davis does, no criticism can be given. But on the matter of the advancement of Black coaches in the NFL, I do not waver one bit. The Raiders have a pattern of seeking out and hiring real young white coaches to run the team -- never once have they hired anyone young, bright, and Black. Not once. So, someone asked if I was taking on Mr. Davis record of hiring minorities. This was my answer:

Yes I am. One -- a decade ago -- does not a progressive make. For the one, there are, let's see, four young white guys --- Madden, Shanahan, Gruden, Kiffin -- that Davis has hired. That's a pattern. Why not a young, bright Black guy? Why is it OK to have a ton of black running backs, but not a pattern of hiring good young black coaches?

So yes, I'm totally calling out Mr. Davis. Sorry, but I've seen enough. I'm really sick and tired of not only the maintenance of a kind of caste system, but this totally sick rush to defend a person when they hire one Black person -- twice -- as if it's throwing a freaking bone. This is stupid.

The Raiders are falling way behind the rest of the league. You all can go right ahead and get after me for this JUST as you came after me regarding Tom Walsh.

I'll sit right back and be the only person who's not afraid to point to the emperor and pull back the curtain. Social change is hard, man. But I for one will NOT stop pushing.

Why the heck can't it be the RAIDERS who go after the REALLY HOT Mike Tomlin -- WHO'S BLACK! The guy Chris Landry on Fox Sports says was the guy on a fast track. Why did it have to be the Steelers?

Why? (I know the answer here -- The ROONEY Rule.)

Folks, I don't care if I'm out there on an island here. Tough. But I'm going to be totally hard on the Raiders. I really am. I expect greatness from the organization, and it's not evident that they're really shooting for it. It's more like Afirmative Action for Young White Guys.

You think I'm bad; just tune into the NFL Network.

Of course, that did not endear me to the Raider nation and I'd rather not post their responses. But the bottom line is that there are massive problems. Here, we have Black coaches saying that the reason some of them don't get an interview is because of lack of experience. How the hell does one explain Lane Kiffin to anyone? How?

What do you say? As far as I'm concerned, the gloves have to come off at some point. I'm a Raiders fan, but as one who's staunchly for the promotion of young, bright , black coaches, it's hard to be a fan of the Silver and Black of late.

I've always been told that the one thing American society hates is a smart Black man. So when a young, smart, Black man comes along in the NFL, he's generally stopped after a point. Only Tony Dungy and just a few have broken through and Tony has used his good political currency to open doors for people like Mike Tomlin. Thus we see the development of a tree of coaches -- most Black -- that stem from Dungy. He's the one catalyst for change.

But not the Raiders.

The Raiders didn't go out and form a list of young Black coaches at all. They seem to save hiring Blacks for older Oakland Raider players and not for people who went through the NFL's Minority Recruitment Program.

As I wrote, the Silver and Black have no problem stocking up on African American running backs, but every problem in hiring smart, young , Black men.

So much for the progressive organization.


Anonymous said...

# of teams in the NFL : 32

# of African American Head Coaches in the modern era: 9

Maybe you should target one of the 21 teams who have never hired a black head coach. Or maybe target Jerry Jones who continues to mock the Rooney rule. Or maybe target the Lions for the Mariucci hire...

To imply Al Davis is a racist is really unbelievable. He doesnt see color, only football.

Zennie Abraham said...

You've just identified the seeds of Institutional Racism. In fact, if Mr. Davis DID see color, he'd interview Young Bright Black coaches for the head job.

To be institutionally racist is to repeat cultural practices because that's all one knows, and not anything different. Most people who practice Institutional Racism will say they're not racist. What they mean is that they are not by what they say, but this is a matter of what they do.

I think Mr. Davis means well overall, but has a terrible blind spot in this area. I think he may not be used to Young Blacks who are intellectually challenging to him.

The proof's in the pudding. If Davis brings in a Black GM -- a young guy -- yes then I'm ready to reconsider my view big time. And the Raiders do need a new GM.

dan holtry said...

i am so sick of this- white black issue. why should a black guy get any special treatment at all? do they need the help? when will the madness ever stop? when you give a person special treatment because of skin color its racism!!!!
and it doesnt matter if there black or white. im a loyal raider fan and i for one couldnt care less what color our coach is as long as we win, but i think its a shame that they have to interveiw someone based on there skin color(roony rule). this is 2007- not 1957.

Zennie Abraham said...

Actually, Young White Guys get special treatment all the time; why don't you point that out?

Again, this -- your comment -- is yet another example of Instiutional Racism. You want to keep things as they are, because that's what you know. What I call for is change. You, you're used to a World where whites have a certain higher postion, and when someone says, hey, that's not right, you say they want special treatment.


All they want is to be treated the same as the Lane Kiffins of the World.

That's not too much to ask for.

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