"A national disgrace" - Stephen A. Smith blasts NFL over racial inequality as Mike Tomlin remains only active HC

Stephen A. Smith reacts to Mike Tomlin remaining NFL's only black head coach
Stephen A. Smith reacts to Mike Tomlin remaining NFL's only black head coach

Stephen A. Smith did not hold back when asked about Mike Tomlin being the only black head coach in the NFL, following the firings of Brian Flores by Miami Dolphins and David Culley by the Houston Texans. Initially, he called it a "national disgrace," but then he corrected himself and said it was an "international disgrace" because some NFL games are played regularly in London.

"Well, it's a national disgrace. If you take into account the fact that the National Football League plays some games in London, it's an international disgrace. We are in the year 2022. NFL players are comprised of over 70% Black individuals as players, and you now have one black coach in the entire National Football League."

Stephen A. Smith eviscerated the NFL as he pointed out that, while nearly 70 percent of the players are black, very few are ever given a chance to become head coaches. He pointed out that, when the Rooney Rule, which mandates that, at least, one minority coach must be interviewed for the position, was instituted, three head coaches in the NFL were black, and that was considered too few. Stephen A. Smith's exact words were as follows:

"I will remind you that, in early 2000s, 2003, if I remember correctly, at the time that the Rooney Rule was instituted, obviously provoking an attempt to provoke NFL teams to interview and hopefully hire black coaches. At the time the Rooney Rule was implemented, there were three black coaches in the National Football League. So now that we're in the year 2022, there's actually less coaches now than there was when the Rooney Rule was provoked and ultimately implemented."

Stephen A. Smith went on to further castigate the NFL, saying that, despite words from senior officials about furthering diversity, actions have not been seen on the ground.

"If you're the NFL, you should be absolutely utterly ashamed of yourself. Troy Vincent is a Senior VP of football operations, obviously, for the National Football League. He's spoken out very eloquently on this particular issue. It's a shame. It's a shame."

How the situation involving Mike Tomlin, which provoked Stephen A. Smith's ire, arose

2021 NBA Finals - Game Three
2021 NBA Finals - Game Three

When the 2021 NFL season began, there were five minority coaches. Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins and David Culley of the Houston Texans are black. Robert Saleh of the New York Jets is an Arab-American, and Ron Rivera of the Washington Texans is Latino.

After the end of the regular season, Brian Flores was fired by the Miami Dolphins, despite leading them to a winning record in consecutive seasons. They finished 9-8 after a horrid start to the season and won 10 games last season. In fact, his 9 wins match what Mike Tomlin had this season. His 19-14 record over the last two years could only be bettered by nine NFL teams.

The firing of David Culley, that left Mike Tomlin as the only black head coach, was equally head-scratching. His 4-13 record in his maiden season constituted the same number of wins as the previous year when the Texans finished 4-12. This happened, despite him not having Deshaun Watson. His starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor was injured, so he had to go the season with rookie Davis Mills. Additionally, he lost the likes of J.J. Watt and Mark Ingram. He did as well as anyone could have done with the Texans this season.

If the firings of the black coaches had been purely on merit, relative to the rest of the league, Stephen A. Smith probably would not have gotten worked up about the situation with Mike Tomlin.

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