Freddie Kitchens, Bruce Arians, Kliff Kingsbury, Matt LaFleur, Vic Fangio, Adam Gase.
Dallas sportscaster Dale Hansen has watched as, one by one, each has been introduced as a new NFL head coach this month and didn’t hold back in his latest commentary after the league’s roster of black head coaches shrank from seven to two. The hiring of Kingsbury by the Arizona Cardinals, who fired Steve Wilks after only one season, was the last straw for Hansen, who has been unafraid to call out Cowboys owner Jerry Jones over his national anthem position, to criticize the Cowboys' signing of Greg Hardy despite a domestic violence incident and to call President Trump’s stance on NFL anthem demonstrations “a dog whistle to the racists.”
“Kingsbury fits all the criteria to be a head coach in the NFL,” Hansen said on WFAA’s nightly newscast. “He’s an offensive genius, he’s young — and he’s white, and not necessarily in that order. … There have been six new coaches hired so far, all white, and [the] two coaches of color they are replacing [are] Steve Wilks, fired in Arizona after just one year, and Vance Joseph in Denver after just two.
“The Cowboys' coach, Jason Garrett, is in his ninth year — apparently because he wins so much.”
Don’t think that Hansen doesn’t bring some self-awareness to this. “I am the product of white privilege in America, and I’ve never denied that I wasn’t, either. If they made a poster, my picture should be on it. Getting fired at one place and getting another chance isn’t the problem. But young talented coaches of color not getting the chance — that’s a huge problem.”
Hansen cites the NFL’s Rooney Rule, put in place in December 2002 and named for the late Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, who was chairman of the NFL’s workplace diversity committee. Only last month, the NFL strengthened the rule, saying that a team with a head coaching vacancy must interview at least one minority candidate from outside its organization or from the list of recommended candidates compiled by the NFL’s advisory board. Previously, the rule said only that at least one minority candidate needed to be interviewed, without further specifications.
This season, the NFL has seen Todd Bowles, Hue Jackson and Marvin Lewis joining Wilks and Joseph as black coaches on the outside. Only the Los Angeles Chargers’ Anthony Lynn and the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin remain as head coaches.
“The covert racism of the NFL ownership group was so bad, the NFL had to make a rule so that minority coaches could at least get an interview,” Hansen said. “Cowboys secondary coach Kris Richard has been interviewed, and there are reports saying he might get the Miami job. After what he’s done with this Cowboys defense, how could he not?
"... Unless it is true what black parents have been telling their children for decades now: You have to be twice as good to go half as far.
“I dream of the day when those parents are wrong. Because now they’re not.”
Hansen, who is part of WFAA’s nightly news in Dallas-Fort Worth, has offered a number of commentaries that have gone viral in his “Unplugged” segment. His purpose, he said in a Washington Post interview in August, is to stimulate conversations on difficult topics.
“I only write when something moves me, and the station gives me the freedom to do it. I write about social issues, but they’re social issues that take place at a sporting event,” Hansen, 70, said. “I think I’ve got carte blanche to write about the national anthem because it’s happening at a football game. I think it’s natural for a sportscaster to talk about. Right or wrong, I have to be more than a sportscaster. I want to be more than a sportscaster.
“All I want to do, seriously, is to get people to talk. I want you to talk about this issue, to think about this issue, to consider what you’re saying about this issue. And I promise you, I’ve never said anything I don’t believe.”
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