By N. Jeremi Duru
Following the NFL's desegregation in 1946, possibilities grew to become more and more abundant for African American players--but no longer African American coaches. even though significant League Baseball and the NBA made development during this regard through the years, the NFL's head coaches have been nearly completely white up until eventually the mid-1990s. Advancing the Ball chronicles the crusade of former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman John Wooten to correct this unsuitable and undo a long time of discriminatory head trainer hiring practices--an initiative that eventually bore fruit whilst he joined forces with legal professionals Cyrus Mehri and Johnnie Cochran. including a couple of allies, the triumvirate galvanized the NFL's African American assistant coaches to face jointly for equivalent chance and confident the league to enact the "Rooney Rule," which stipulates that each crew needs to interview at the very least one minority candidate while trying to find a brand new head trainer. In doing so, they spurred a circulation that may considerably effect the NFL and, probably, the kingdom. that includes an impassioned foreword by way of trainer Tony Dungy, Advancing the Ball deals an eye-opening, first-hand examine how a number of devoted contributors initiated a sea switch in America's preferred game and additional a rare new bankruptcy to the civil rights tale.
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Additional info for Advancing the Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL
Dungy certainly cultivated toughness, but he did not permit intentionally injurious play and ultimately insisted that his players aspire to be good men as well as good athletes. He had done his best with the Buccaneers, but evidently it was not enough. As Dungy packed his belongings and moved out of his ofﬁce at the Bucs’ training facility on a cold Tampa Bay night in January 2002, the damp, rainy weather reﬂected his disposition. He was not alone in his discontent. Many commentators, football insiders, and fans found the ﬁring absurd.
These three coaches—Dungy, Smith, and Edwards—were rivals, but they were also close friends. Both Smith and Edwards had worked under Dungy in Tampa Bay, and they were bound not just by mutual admiration and respect but also by a common struggle. Each had played football when an African American leading an NFL team as its head coach was, with the exception of Pollard’s brief tenure a half century earlier, unprecedented. In addition, each had worked for years in coaching’s lower echelons when the prospects of obtaining an NFL head coaching position were frighteningly slim no matter how valiantly or successfully they performed.
Harper had happened upon the worst-kept secret in the Red Sox clubhouse. Every year during spring training, the Winter Haven Elks Club provided Red Sox personnel free meals and hospitality. The club excluded African Americans, however, and made no exception for ballplayers. The Red Sox supported the policy, routinely distributing the club’s free passes, which were redeemable for hearty dinners, to only its white players’ and coaches’ lockers. The Red Sox complicity in the Elks’ discrimination irked Harper, and in 1973, after enduring the racist ritual for a second straight year, he vented, discussing the matter with African American Boston Globe reporter Larry Whiteside but asking that Whiteside not write about the discriminatory spring training tradition.