Saying a coach isn’t Black enough is the Super Bowl of insults

Leonard Greene
New York Daily News (TNS)
New Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel looks on before the start of his introductory press conference at Baptist Health Training Complex in Hard Rock Stadium on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Florida. (David Santiago/Miami Herald/TNS)

The Super Bowl of hypocrisy is well under way, with fans and social media leading the charge downfield.

Just days after fired Black coach Brian Flores filed a racial discrimination against the NFL, the Miami Dolphins, the team that let him go, replaced him with a coach who checks the multiracial box — and the club’s selection sent some fans into a rabid football frenzy.

To the naked eye, Mike McDaniel appears to be white, which in this country, anyway, is how people are identified by others.

More:'It was humiliating': Black NFL coaches lament hiring policies that fall short

Advantage, white people, who can turn the multiracial switch on and off in ways that people identified as Black cannot.

People who look white and identify as multiracial can be treated and accepted as either. People who look Black and identify as multiracial are usually treated as Black.

Any doubts about that, just ask the 44th president of the United States.

Therein lies the senseless controversy surrounding McDaniel, 38, a first-time head coach and career assistant, who was hired in a league where, at the time of Flores’ lawsuit, only one of the NFL’s 32 coaches was Black.

McDaniel considers himself multiracial because his mother is white and his father is Black. That has not stopped the hand-wringing on social media about whether McDaniel is “really” a minority.

“It’s been very odd, to tell you the truth, this idea of ‘identifying’ as something,” McDaniel told reporters after he was introduced as the Dolphins’ new coach.

“I think people identify me as something, but I identify as a human being and my dad’s Black.”

McDaniel made it sound simple, but anyone who breathes or blinks every three seconds knows it’s not as simple as that. If the world were as utopian as McDaniel, human being, made it out to be, an organization like the NFL wouldn’t need a “Rooney Rule,” which requires teams to diversify their pool of potential candidates.

The rule also requires clubs to compensate teams whose minority coaches they’ve poached.

That means the San Francisco 49ers, McDaniel’s old team, will receive two third-round compensatory picks under the league program to reward teams for developing minority coaches.

But who’s going to reward McDaniel for all the abuse he has taken?

One outlet had to post a retraction after calling McDaniel “the next trendy, young, white guy who takes a head coaching position before one of the many deserving Black candidates.”

Talk about unnecessary roughness.

Deadspin later offered a clarification.

“We learned after the publication of this article that 49ers OC Mike McDaniel, whom we describe as a ‘white guy,’ is in fact biracial. The article’s original text remains below. We regret the error.”

Others on the internet suggested that McDaniel should produce a picture of his parents or some other proof that he is biracial.

Such suggestions reek of the birther movement’s demand that former President Barack Obama produce a birth certificate to prove he is an American citizen.

No one —not a coach, not a president not singer/songwriter Lionel Richie — should ever have to prove his Blackness to anyone.

Sure, the NFL lawsuit has the football community, including its fans on edge. But righting historical wrongs doesn’t mean going to the other extreme.

It’s like having a lead in the fourth quarter and throwing the game away.