Column/Super Bowl should be first of many like it to come

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 4, 2007

I am probably the only sports writer in America that has not yet made mention of the fact that there was a black head coach in a Super Bowl for the first time in history.

There were two coaches, as a matter of fact, which means there was also a guarantee that there would be a first black head coach to win a Super Bowl.

As a black journalist, some people may feel it’s my duty to offer some type of comment on the achievement, seeing as how I’m a couple of weeks behind everyone else.

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I would have liked to and would have already, but here’s why I’ve not: I dislike the context of the issue.

I dislike that people are rooting against or for these men just because they are minorities.

I dislike that the NFL actually had to create a rule making it mandatory for teams to interview at least one minority for an open head coaching job. Owners weren’t conscious enough to realize that there are several minority coaches that are equally as suited or maybe better for a job, so someone had to hold a gun to their heads.

I dislike that in all the talk about race, people forget where Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith came from and how they got here. They forget that these are two very intelligent, hard-working men who are examples for all young people hoping to blow a whistle and tote a clipboard.

As a bonus they actually look good wearing a polo shirt on the sideline, and how many overweight coaches can you say that about?

I dislike that there are more minority coaches spread among 32 teams in the NFL than there are among 119 Division I colleges.

I dislike that there are some people who will walk away from this game saying, “Yeah, but I wish we could have seen how things had turned out if one of the coaches was white.”

Basically, I just dislike the fact that it still matters.

I was as proud as anyone who cheered Smith and Dungy when their teams played. I’d have been just as proud if one of those coaches were Hispanic or Asian.

But I refuse to strike this up as some kind of grand accomplishment in history because the truth is it’s only one game, and things have not progressed as far as we like to think they have.

It’s been 40 years since the Civil Rights Movement. That may seem like a long time, but it’s barely a blink in life’s timeline.

I’m not content to sit back and grin about what happened last night.

I’d rather focus on what could happen tomorrow.

George L. Jones is sports editor of The Selma Times-Journal. He can be reached at (334) 410-1744 or .