The Super Bowl Plantation Bowl, played February 1, 2015, followed the Plantation Bowl of the National College Championship game, January 12. The NFL is integrated on the playing field. For greater future success, it needs to integrate on the coaching sides and outside the white lines on the business sides as well.
The myth is that college players will make it big in the NFL. Yet only 1.7 percent of college players play professional football. The average career of those drafted that actually start a game is 6.6 years.
Of the estimated $500 million that Super Bowls bring into host city economies, most goes to increase White community wealth and little for Black wealth that can help reverse poverty. Black player money is nothing compared to year in and year out money to networks, NFL teams, the NFL itself, and NFL owners.
The worst call in the history of the Super Bowl by Pete Carol at the end of Super Bowl XLIX affected only one game. The continued worst call regarding minority players, coaches and executives affects every game every year: the call for continued discrimination and roadblocks to advancement, as called by university presidents, athletic directors, head coaches, assistant coaches, all influenced by the same call by boosters, NCAA heads, legislature committee chairmen, etc.
It then moves to the professional level: owners and their general managers, all supported by those in the media as well as fans in the stands and before their TV sets.
- Minority owners: zero.
- Minority presidents of an NFL team: none.
- Minority general managers: seven in 2014. It is GMs that determine head coaches.
- Road to head coach: offensive coordinator.
- Minority offensive coordinators in 2012: one.
- Famous headline: “Black offensive assistants encounter roadblocks to becoming NFL head coaches”
- Minority head coaches: one in 1989 (the first year); two in 2001; seven in 2006. Today: five. Trend: fewer.
The amount owners take to the bank is staggering. It is difficult to see how African American communities across the country enjoy even a half a percent of NFL entities collectively making billions of dollars. The NFL has been integrated since 1946, yet there are statistically fewer African Americans represented in and enjoying the profits of the game that statistics demonstrate and records show should be there.
Not since Denny Green discussed his plan to purchase an NFL team (in his 1997 book, No Room for Crybabies) have we heard any serious discussions about an African American presence in the executive boardroom of an NFL team (the 2004 attempt regarding the Vikings was by an African American without the money, who then defaulted to the Wilfs).
Note: Vikings’ African American executive vice president/legal affairs and chief administrative officer, Kevin Warren, is the highest ranking African American executive working on the business side for a team in the NFL.
African Americans, despite having verified best records for senior positions, are being blocked from having a piece of the planation. The diplomatic “wait” is misdirection to a false promise made by the NFL, colleges, and all associated institutions involved that are still too racist, too prejudiced and too supportive of race discrimination, or are looking the other way.
Given all that Black Americans have achieved since 1946, think how much more money the NFL and its owners would make with more African Americans on the business side. We are way past time to be still blocked from having a place at the table. NFL power brokers need to see how capable African Americans can be as entrepreneurial partners in the business, profit-making and wealth-building sides, not just as entertainers.
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