Why are Black NFL coaches expected to be perfect?

One of the recent sports headlines that I read on www.nbcsports.com that I wasn’t sure I was reading correctly was, “Should the Steelers trade Mike Tomlin?” Another “cerebral” gem was, “Steelers trading Mike Tomlin could solve some of the franchise’s problems.” The last goodie was, “How the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin created a giant mess.”
What mess has Mike Tomlin created? Did he show up with a mink coat on a 60-degree day not dressed to play football? Did he say that he couldn’t really relate to a lot of the younger players in his locker room? Was he the cause of one of his most valuable players almost being paralyzed by an untimely injury?
Wait a minute. Mike Florio posted this article on profootballtalk.nbcsports.com on Dec. 2, 2014: “Teams can still trade for head coaches. The league office has confirmed that trades can indeed be made of head coaches. When coaches are traded, it doesn’t happen the same way players are traded.”
Why would the Steelers make a trade for another coach when their current head coach has never had a losing season? There has been a precedent established in Pittsburgh sports as far as trading a player for a manger but that was initiated because of dire circumstances.
Let’s rewind the clock for a minute. Richard Paloma posted this article on whitecleatbeat.com in 2016. “In November 1976, Finley made an unheard of deal: he sent his manager, (Chuck) Tanner, to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for catcher Manny Sanguillen and $100,000. This was only the second time in MLB history where a manager was part of a baseball trade. In 1960, Indians manager Joe Gordon and Tigers manager Jimmie Dykes were traded for each other. The Pirates were in need of a skipper, with Danny Murtaugh retiring from his fourth tour of duty as manager after the 1976 season due to stated health reasons. Only three months after stepping down as manager Murtaugh would die from a stroke in December of 1976.”
Let’s break this down a little bit. The Pirates wanted to their organization to remain stable so they made a very bold move to at least attempt to assure the continuation of smooth sailing for their franchise. The Pirates were not a losing organization. They were not in the process of rebuilding, they only needed a manager to step in and keep the ship sailing. When Danny Murtaugh was alive and in good health, Pittsburgh had their manager.
The current Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin, is alive and well. Tomlin has not even reached the age of 50. Why would the Steelers want to trade him? He has never had a losing record. At the time that he coached Super Bowl XLIII, he was the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl in NFL history. Danny Murtaugh was 59 years old when he died. The final World Series that Danny Murtaugh won was in 1971 at the age of 54. The Pirates traded for Chuck Tanner because of the death of Danny Murtaugh. It now seems as if a significant segment of the Steelers’ fan base is trying to kill and bury the career of Mike Tomlin. Why? Well, just because. Why? Well, because the leadership of certain key players is not leadership at all. It’s “Me-dership” as well as the pseudo-leaders being infected with the, “throw their teammates under the bus syndrome.”
It seems that if you are an African American NFL head coach, the fans and many of the sports writers don’t just expect you to be exceptional; they demand perfection….do dah.
Correction: In my “Voices from the Wilderness” column from Jan. 9, I must clarify that Chris Moore’s “Black Horizons” show was the longest-running African American TV program until it was canceled in 2012.
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