Are White Coaches Really Better?

By Roland Rogers, CEO BlackAthlete Sports Network
Updated: January 30, 2005

Dr. W.E.B. DuBois
Dr W.E.B. DuBois

NEW YORK, NY—With the recent rash of black coaches across the country being fired or demoted, I asked myself the question was it a result of their lack of intelligence, respect, politics or ALL of the above.

George Karl’s hiring by the Denver Nuggets suggested Michael Cooper wasn’t up to the task. When Mike Fratello took over the reins from Lionel Hollins after Hubie Brown retired, black coaches in the league seemed to be just warming the seat until another recycled white coach emerged to rescue the team and take them to the promise land. Before Herb Williams officially drew his first X & O it had been rumored Larry Brown or Phil Jackson already had first dibs on the position.

It seems there are always a plethora of assistant black coaches behind the bench, roaming the sidelines, those that make sure in practices that players adhere to the coaches directives, but it reminds me of the way, a long time ago when the house nigga was able to eat at the master’s house while the field Negroes toiled in obscurity on food scraps in the field. His only job was to make the crop ready for market.

Do players play hard for their fellow black brothers? Some may argue, yes. Nate McMillan’s Seattle Supersonics and Paul Silas of the Cleveland Cavaliers are testaments to the contrary. Maurice Cheeks, Bernie Bickerstaff, Doc Rivers, Mike Woodson, Byron Scott and Terry Porter were given rebuilding projects ( most marquee teams of the league have White coaches)so the verdict is still out. Still, there seems to be an underlining trend, when its time to put the whip for the final playoff push, the perception suggests white coaches are the preferred choice of team upper management. They don’t want the inmates running the asylum.

It’s subtle but ALL major league sports suggests black coaches and managers are secondary in the grand scheme of things, a stand in until the white knight arrives. In spite of experience, recommended by other coaches and players the unwritten rule is to pass them by. The Black Coaches Association has tried in vain to make league owners and university officials accountable but are virtually laughed at and ignored.

My problem is why BASN are the only ones talking about it. This had to have come across the consciousness on players, owners and of course of the great ESPN. Is society so hung up in its dogma that’s it’s a non-issue?

Can blacks be that dumb? Or is racism such a dominant factor we dare not defy it.

As long as we are the first to die in movies, are the token black, are the sidekick and not the star, we will always be the last hired first fired. We can out perform on the playing field because we are natural entertainers, the only field that was really ever open to us; but by assuming a role exclusively designed for a white the backlash would be forceful and direct.

After watching the documentary “Unforgivable Blackness” where Jack Johnson’s defiance angered white society to such an extent that the white power structure had to create laws to make sure acts of disobedience would never again be tolerated, and then, only by total submission, would blacks be allowed to participate in anything it seems we’ve learned our lessons well.

With every acceptance of racism all over the world the racists get stronger and our ability to excel in society, business, academia, sports and entertainment gets weaker. Where’s the great “Black Hope” when we need them…