What Would Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Think?
On this day honoring the great, and influential Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., where do the Eagles stand with minority hirings and history at the quarterback position?
Before I touch on this, the NFL is comprised of 70% African American players! This number really has not fluctuated over the last decade. The league has 32 teams. Of those 32 teams, only 2 have black general managers, and 3 started the season with black coaches. As of this article, Anthony Lynn was fired by the Chargers, and replaced by a white coach in Brandon Staley, So now the number is 2 African American coaches with Brian Flores, and Mike Tomlin being the only 2. Dr. King would be equally excited that any minority individual gets hired in these key positions. The Jets just hired Robert Saleh, the first ever head coach of Muslim decent. Ron Rivera has been a long time, successful coach who is of Latino heritage. So the total minority head coaching jobs stands at 4. It should also be pointed out to encourage more minority hirings, the NFL adjusted the “Rooney Rule” to now interviewing at least 2 minority candidates, outside their organization, and the NFL instituted a rule benefiting...A team that loses a minority assistant coach who becomes a head coach or loses a personnel executive who becomes a general manager will receive third-round compensatory picks in each of the next two drafts. (courtesy USA Today) It should be noted that one of the 2 black general managers, Andrew Berry, left the Eagles for the Browns position. Unfortunately, Berry’s hiring was made before this rule was implemented.
For the purpose of this article, and truthfully, the integrity of the league, we will focus on 3 jobs, general manager, head coach, and quarterback, and how the Eagles contribute to the appalling pattern of neglect at these positions/jobs.
The Eagles have never had a black general manager! It should be pointed out, they have had their share of high level black personnel employees, such as: Louis Riddick, and the aforementioned Andrew Berry. Currently, they have high ranking black employees in Ian Cunningham, the Assistant Director of Player Personnel, and Brandon Brown, the Director of Pro Scouting, but not the key position of General Manager. And as Eagle fans clearly know by now, it does not appear Howie Roseman is going anywhere, anytime soon!
Head Coaches...this will be a short paragraph, just 1, Ray Rhodes. Hired in 1995, Rhodes was the 4th ever black head coach at the time, and Jeff Lurie’s first ever head coach hire. He was the head coach of the Birds from 1995-1998. As of this article, the Eagles have not yet hired their head coach. They are rumored to have interest in Duce Staley, Todd Bowles, and Eric Bieniemy Jr., so perhaps their next head coach will be black, but the majority of people associated with their job search, are white?
It is the Quarterback position the Eagles are ahead of the curve! In the history of the league, the Eagles have had the highest number of starts by black quarterbacks, at 340 (courtesy readjack.com). Their first starter was Randall Cunningham, and their last is current Eagle, Jalen Hurts. Black Quarterbacks to start for the Eagles include: Randall Cunningham, Rodney Peete, Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, Vince Young, and Jalen Hurts. Eagles black QBs to act as backups, and take NFL snaps: Johnny Walton (1st black QB ever on an Eagle roster, 1976-1979), Don McPherson, and Jeff Blake. (courtesy Wikipedia)
This is a short article, because honestly, and embarrassingly, the content is limited! The NFL, and the Eagles need to do a better job of seriously addressing the inequities of African American hirings league wide!
Dan Green, @dmgteach on Twitter, @aathbirds