Black triumph opens Black History Month
What a start for black Americans, especially those in sport to mark the start of February in the USA, celebrated as “Black History Month”!
On Sunday, in America’s showpiece sporting event of the year, 24-year old Patrick Mahomes became only the third black quarterback, (considered the key position in American football), to win the sport’s coveted championship, the Superbowl, and walked away with the MVP (Most Valuable Player) award at that.
This was the 54th Superbowl contest but only two black men, Doug Williams of the Washington Redskins in 1988, and the hugely popular Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks in 2014, have led their teams to victory. It is certainly not due to a lack of talent for black players make up 70 percent of all NFL players. It is more a lack of opportunity and innate racism.
In spite of overall black dominance, the key positions in the 32 teams are still going to white quarterbacks and head coaches. There are only 3 Head Coaches in the NFL today. In spite of a rule supposedly adopted in 2003 to provide equal opportunity, teams find excuses for grossly under hiring black talented and proven coaches. It was not until 2007 that a black Head Coach, Tony Dungy, triumphed in the Superbowl and Mike Tomlin repeated that triumph two years later.
It continues to be a long uphill struggle for black players, quarterbacks especially and coaches in the NFL but the victory of Mahomes represents a triumph over adversity and innate racism. Yet the obstacles remain. Mahomes’ offensive coach, Eric Bieniemy is considered one of the best in the league, yet he was overlooked by teams who had just fired their head coaches, not even interviewed.
Food for thought for Black History Month.