Are 'racists' allowed to have jobs?
Are racists allowed to earn a living? What if someone makes a comment not considered racist at the time, but some consider racist now? Should that person be unemployable forever?
Legendary college football coach Urban Meyer has taken his talents to the NFL as the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Meyer's arrival in Jacksonville is especially significant because he returns to the state where he won two national championships at the University of Florida.
Meyer held a press conference to introduce his new coaching staff, and he had a lot to discuss. Meyer hired several prominent assistant coaches, including the former first black head football coach for the University of Texas, Charlie Strong, and Super Bowl champion offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
Despite the high-profile coaching additions, within minutes of Meyer's press conference, it became clear the media were only interested in one particular hire: the director of sports performance, Chris Doyle.
The position is hardly newsworthy. Most football fans couldn't name who holds that title for their favorite NFL team. But to Urban Meyer's surprise, seven of the first eleven questions from reporters at the press conference focused on his decision to hire Chris Doyle.
Why would Meyer's hiring of a minor role overshadow his return to Florida and the announcement of his new star-studded coaching staff? Because according to the media, Chris Doyle is racist.
Just two days after journalists bombarded Urban Meyer with questions about his "controversial" hire, Doyle resigned from his position. The decision was surprising because Meyer had defended hiring Doyle one day earlier. Coach Meyer released a statement about Doyle's resignation, saying, "We are responsible for all aspects of our program and, in retrospect, should have given greater consideration to how his appointment may have affected all involved."
In other words, Urban Meyer didn't think the racist accusations were a big deal, but after the media incessantly hounded him about it, he decided that Doyle wasn't worth the trouble. Unfortunately, Meyer's first instinct was correct.
The details of Doyle's "racism" aren't easy to uncover. Most of the accusations are vague complaints from former players about experiencing racism while playing football at the University of Iowa — where Chris Doyle was the Strength and Conditioning Coach. Tennessee Titans safety Amani Hooker posted on Twitter, "I remember whenever walking into the facility, it would be difficult for black players to walk around the facility and be themselves." Several other players posted comments suggesting the Iowa football program was racist, and black players had "developed self-hate." Others recalled that the "coaches didn't support us doing entrepreneurial things."
The few accusations containing specifics about Doyle are equally unimpressive.
Former Iowa linebacker Terrance Pryor said black athletes had to deal with "many racist incidents" during his time at Iowa, including an incident where he alleges that Doyle told him, "Maybe you should take up rowing or something, you know? Oh, wait, Black people don't like boats in water, do they?"
When Doyle asked a player where he was the previous night, the player responded, "my girl['s] house." The former player says Doyle then pulled his pants halfway down, turned his hat backward, put one hand in his pants, and started to strut while mocking the player by repeating, "I was at my girl house."
Doyle also allegedly told a black athlete, "Why you walking wit[h] all that swagger? I'll put you back on the streets." Minnesota Vikings player Jaleel Johnson wrote, "Coach Doyle would go around stepping players fingers as they would warm up before a lift."
These incidents wouldn't normally stain a coach's résumé because behaviors like this are quite common. I played for a coach who used to walk around stepping on our fingers while we were on the ground stretching, too. He'd also chew tobacco and spit on our helmets, among many other small-time antics. In retrospect, most of it was directed at guys he liked or players he knew reasonably well. Believe it or not, sometimes men are mean to each other. Groups of males often mock their friends and treat them worse than they'd ever treat a stranger. Sometimes they even play tricks on each other or do inappropriate things just to gross each other out! Shocking, I know.
Today, young people have incentives to find racism everywhere. Behaviors that were once dismissed as merely guys messing around and/or behaving like jerks are now downloaded from their memory and reassembled as examples of everyday white supremacy. Being "woke" is applying the same deconstruction principles taught by radical professors to everyday life. Anyone who chooses to view past incidents through the lens of Critical Race Theory will have no trouble reinterpreting interactions they once overlooked into menacing examples of racism. Anything that can be interpreted as racist will be interpreted as racist.
In an era of unforgiveness, where the internet never forgets, it's more difficult to move away from the past than ever before. When the media and rage mobs harass employers who hire people on the left's growing blacklist of white supremacists, the only conclusion is that racists can't have jobs.
Wherever Chris Doyle lands, his next employer will need courage because the press will surely be there waiting to question if hiring Doyle is an endorsement of white supremacy. With courage in such short supply, Chris Doyle, and anyone else accused of racism, might remain unemployed indefinitely.
Maybe someday, the public will have more sympathy for those destroyed by oversensitive mobs than they do for those who ruin others' lives for sport.
Image via Max Pixel.