Earlier this year, Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores shook up the NFL when he filed a lawsuit against the NFL and various teams over discriminatory practices. His lawsuit reignited the conversation about why there are so many black players in the league, yet so little head coaches of the same race to lead them.
On Wednesday, The Washington Post kicked off an editorial series detailing the struggles of Black coaches in the NFL, and Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson provided an interesting theory as to why Black coaches are not hired.
Tomlinson stated NFL owners aren’t familiar enough with the way Black coaching candidates communicate and express themselves.
“I really think there’s a disconnect [between] the owners and the kind of culture that is Black folks — not understanding the way Black folks communicate, the mannerisms, the expressions,” Tomlinson told The Post. “It’s different than someone who looks like them. We hear owners say all the time, ‘Oh, I connected with this [White] candidate because they reminded me of myself.’ If we can’t get past that [mind-set with] coaches who don’t look like you or talk like you or come from the same background, they’ll never get a chance.”
Former NFL head coach Bill Parcells basically said the same thing as he mentioned that the NFL owners and Black coaching candidates grew up in different environments and that owners don’t connect with them naturally.
“The owners of these teams predominantly grew up in different environments,” Parcells said. “I don’t want to say their exposure isn’t too good, but really that’s probably the truth.”
Tomlinson finished his career with 3,174 carries, 13,684 yards, and 145 touchdowns.
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