My son has been obsessing about the Super Bowl for two weeks now. I'll be happy to watch it (I love football) and happy to have the incessant chatter (about Chicago and Indianapolis at least) over.
You know, it's interesting, in all my sons enthusiasm, he hasn't mentioned the skin color of the coaches. He's talked about players and plays. He's asked me over and over who I'm rooting for and why. He knows I'm sad because the Lions stink to high heaven. He's replayed interviews with players and coaches over at ESPN.com and yet, and yet.... he never mentions TWO BLACK COACHES!!!
One could imply that I'm raising a racist Rethuglican who fails to see the significance of such an amazing feat. Or, more likely, my son doesn't see color when he watches football--outside the player uniforms that is. He loves the game. He loves the hits. He loves the rules. He loves learning about the nuances. He loves the strategies. He listens raptly when we talk about "the shotgun" and "the pocket" and "scrambling" and "over the middle" and "the running game". He loves every bit of everything football.
While I feel Oprah, Obama, (oh and Michael Steele), Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith have made black history, I feel that it is more important that they're making history, period. How many coaches have made it to the Superbowl? Not many. It is an extraordinary professional feat no matter who does it or the color of his skin.
I find the female and black thing insulting. When Joe Biden made his racist "black and articulate and clean" comments about Obama the other day, I laughed. He's an idiot. A woman or man, black or white should be judged on the merits not the color of their skin or reproductive organs.
If I were Tony Dungy or Lovie Smith, I'd be irritated as hell. They are football coaches. They are awesome at what they do. They are leading two of the best teams in the NFL. By drawing attention to their color over and over and over, the press and everyone else give the impression that it's shocking that blacks have what it takes to reach this level. It's not shocking. What's shocking is the racism implicit in the shock.
Dungy and Smith better motivate, train and develop potential than other coaches. In tight spots they made better decisions. By all accounts they are good men who players want to follow. In essence, they are excellent coaches. By focusing on their color, their real achievements get lost.
"I'm happy for both coaches," Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney said. "I hope we get to the point we don't have to hear about it."Amen.