Part 2 President Obama How About This Rare Breed Black NFL Referees

Updated: November 1, 2008



what’s even harder to find in history

than African American Umpires

that’s right Black NFL Referees

There have been SEVEN Black MLB Umpires in Baseball history. Only THREE African American NFL Referees. They are Johnny Grier the first ever but not until 1988. Now retired. The other two are active Mike Carey since 1995 and Jerome Boger, 2004. It appears Boger was promoted to coincide with Grier’s retirement.

So here is the “simple” math that portrays the very basic and real Racism here. There are 17 NFL Referees at the top of each NFL officiating team. With 14 games each week with 4 teams having their bye week. So at most the only 2 African American Referees are working on any given Sunday during the season. On some it will be only ONE.

Some more basics just in case you need them. 7 officials are assigned to each NFL game. Head Linesman, Line Judge, Umpire, Back Judge. Side Judge, Field Judge and The Man in charge of it all The Referee. Lots of Judges ONLY one Ref.

More math. So in total there are 17 crews comprising 119 officials and a few more on call just in case of illness or injury. But 119 is the relevant number. Of those to use the phrase an “all time high” 26 were African American last season. That comes to 19%. Now some will jump for Joy. NINETEEN …. WOW !!!! So we’ll put it another way for you. Even though impossible to fully verify the distribution.

You will NEVER ever see the majority of any NFL officiating team meaning 4 of 7 being African American. It has NEVER happened NOT even in one game in NFL history. As for 3 of 7 Officials bring Black it is very unlikely you will watch a game all season in which it happens. As for 2 Black officials out of 7 you will see it occasionally. Many games you will see ONE Black official. There are games you will see none.

Still impressed ??

Back to the Main Point. Unless you are lucky and wealthy enough to have a Dish TV + NFL Sunday Ticket you have a very good chance of going all season without seeing one of the two African American Referees in charge of an NFL game. The further point is that there have been hundreds of Referees in the long history of the NFL but only THREE African Americans. Far far less than 1%. And let’s say it again it was not until 1988. That’s right 1988 until the first Black NFL Referee was named.

So think about this

All through the 1950s, 1960s, 1970, and 1980s up until 1988 with all the “tokenism” going on throughout Sports to give the appearance of fairness and some equality. For those FOUR decades the NFL did not even feel the need to name even one African American NFL Referees. And now they are doing nothing to make up for the Outrage except making sure here in the 21st century they can’t be accused of having NO Black Referees.

Imagine this

As fair and logical as it would be for Commissioner GOOdell to state “our goal over the next 5-10 years is to have FIVE Black NFL Referees to try and make up for the abusive pattern of Racism practiced by the NFL throughout its history toward American Americans officiating in the NFL.” ARE YOU KIDDING. Goodell would not make such a statement even if there was a gun to his head.

Why. 1) the NFL has no interest of admitting such a problem or past practices, but here is the even more insidious issue 2) if some how the NFL announced such a goal there would be howls of protest from the WHITE fan base.

How DARE the NFL institute “quotas” (sic) for NFL Referees. What a “racist” (sic) thing to do and denying White officials positions they “deserve” (sic). Of course needless to say brings us to the more than obvious point. There has always been a QUOTA system. A WHITE Quota system. The only reason there are so many African Americans on the field is that choosing players logically is based on TALENT there is NO such process when it comes to discretionary choices such as officials most of all Referees.

Which FINALLY brings us to

President-elect Barack Obama

and our new ongoing series


Here in the Box over the next 4 years again and again – today for the second time – look at an issue in Sports through the prism of how an AFRICAN American President can ever so easily begin to correct so many examples of Racism in American Sports but needless to say which President Obama will NOT do.

President Obama will work every day to make sure he is NOT seen to be the AFRICAN American President. Just like Commissioner GOOdell he will be ever fearful of antagonizing his WHITE “fan base.”

That is of course unless African Americans and enlightened White Americans challenge him telling him again and again to stand up against all the many “places” Racism still exists in America. Obviously we have already started doing our part in the Box even before Election Day and Obama’s “official” election and Inauguration.

So here is what the new President

could do which is so so easy and

simple do nothing more than

make one very private call to

Commissioner Goodell and

say “Roger I just read the

Black Box about NFL

officials what is going

on here can’t we have

some equality Roger.”

YES SIR Mr. President

right now I’M ON IT

how about FIVE

Black Referees ?