After the Carolina Panthers hired former Baylor head coach Matt Rhule, the New York Giants shocked everybody with a surprising move as they hired 38-year-old New England Patriots wide receivers coach Joe Judge as the team’s new head coach.
Judge spent much of his time in New England as a special teams assistant and coordinator and yet he was afforded an opportunity to be head coach over more qualified minority candidates.
That is a problem.
The NFL’s Rooney Rule requires that teams interview minority candidates during every head-coaching search, yet teams are finding it easy to interview a minority coach and then moving on to the candidate they actually want to lead the team.
There are just three African-American head coaches in the NFL, which is the same number as when the Rooney Rule was instituted in 2003.
During Tuesday’s edition of First Take on ESPN, Stephen A. Smith reacted to the news of the Giants hire as well as the Rooney rule that is not working.
Transcribed by FTW:
“I need to be very, very careful about what I have to say. Joe Judge, if you’re watching this show, I’ve never met this man. I’m not questioning the man’s capabilities at all. I know nothing about him. So, I want everyone to understand that my criticism — and it is a criticism — of this choice by the New York Giants, who are regressing before our very eyes as a standard in the National Football League. Here’s the reason I say this. And, again, Mr. Joe Judge, to you and your family, I apologize. These comments are not directed towards him … This is the issue: You’re the New York Giants! It’s the media capital of the world! It’s a franchise that L.T. was once the face of, Phil Simms, even Jeff Hostetler, Bill Parcells! I mean, Michael Strahan! Are you kidding me?!
“And you come to the New York market — the media capital of the world, this bubble — with JOE JUDGE … You’re the wide receivers coach of the New England Patriots. What have we been saying all year? THEY DON’T HAVE ANY. So, that is the position that you’re coming from. I wish him nothing but the best, but the Giants — you’re the New York Giants. And this is what you come with?”
“First of all, I think you’re mistaken. Who said they can’t? They didn’t even try. And there’s a difference. And so to me, that speaks to a bigger issue. And the other thing that I’ll speak to, and I’ll say this to all these professional sports team out here just from a generic perspective. You know what? We speak constantly and we preach in our society about going through the proper channels and the proper levels to elevate yourself to another level. And I’m telling you something right now. I am getting sick to my stomach at guys that I see — I’m just going to say it because nobody else, most people won’t.
“This don’t happen for black folk. A wide receivers coach that becomes the head coach. Eric Bieniemy is in Kansas City. Now, he’s the offensive coordinator even though he’s not the play-caller. That would be because the great Andy Reid is the one calling the plays. This guy gets those gratuitous interviews that don’t really amount to anything. I don’t know who they brought in for the Rooney Rule. The Cowboys brought in Marvin Lewis. And by the way because someone had that conversation with somebody about Marvin Lewis. Marvin Lewis coached in this league for 16 years. I know that Marvin Lewis deserves to be a head coach in the National Football League, but there’s something to be said about not winning a playoff game in those 16 years. There are plenty of African Americans in the National Football League, who by the way happen to be coordinators, that deserve a look.”
He wasn’t the only one to call this out:
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