NFL Coverage is Preoccupied with Race

If there’s one thing I learned from the Super Bowl this year, it is that the media still has not learned to deal with race tact-fully. The biggest story leading up to the game was that this would be the first Super Bowl ever where there was an African American head coach involved, and in this case there were two of them. Great achievement, right? Absolutely. It’s a great achievement for any football coach to lead their team to the Super Bowl, black or white. My question is, though, what does race have to do with being a suc-cessful football coach? Wouldn’t it be much more telling of the progress this nation has made if skin color wasn’t even mentioned when talking about the coaches in-volved? Apparently, the media felt otherwise because we view-ers were constantly reminded that the two coaches were both black (maybe the used the term African American). Apparently there some trepidation among the network higher-ups that we simple folk would not be able discern this for ourselves. It wasn’t newsworthy that more than half the players on the field were black, but it becomes an amazing story when the head coaches on both side-lines are? The message I take from that is we expect African Americans to be great athletes, but we’re surprised when they make great coaches. I would never argue that we try to forget or be insensitive to the history of racial issues in this country. Nevertheless, by constantly making race the story, the media only succeeds in strengthening the concept of racial barriers, even when the intention is to smash them. Hopefully the achievements of Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith were inspirational to people ev-erywhere, but let us pay tribute to them for who they are as men, and coaches, not for what color their skin is.