In Black America Podcast: Advancing The Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL
On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with N. Jeremi Duru, Associate Professor at Temple University’s James E. Beasley School of Law and author of Advancing the Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL.
Two days before Super Bowl XLI in Miami, the game’s two opposing head coaches posed with the trophy one of them would hoist after the game. It was a fairly unremarkable event, except that both coaches were African American–a fact that was as much of a story as the contest itself.
As Duru reveals in his book, this unique milestone resulted from the work of a determined group of people whose struggles to expand head coaching opportunities for African Americans ultimately changed the National Football League. Since the league’s desegregation in 1946, opportunities had grown plentiful for African Americans as players but not as head coaches–the byproduct of the NFL’s old-boy network and lingering stereotypes of African Americans’ intellectual inferiority. Although Major League Baseball and the NBA had, over the years, made progress in this regard, the NFL’s head coaches were almost exclusively white up until the mid-1990s.