‘We don’t look at color’: Tampa Bay coach Todd Bowles BLASTS the media for singling black NFL coaches out – and making race a ‘big deal’ when all players and staff want to do is play the game
Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles has criticized the media for shining the spotlight on race in the NFL.
His team plays Mike Tomlin’s Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend in what will be the first time this season that two black coaches face off.
Bowles downplayed the importance of the occasion as he called out the media for making race a big deal and continuing to highlight representation in the sport.
‘I have a very good relationship with Tomlin,’ Bowles said Wednesday when asked about them being two of the league’s four black coaches. ‘We don’t look at what color we are when we coach against each other, we just know each other.
‘I have a lot of very good white friends that coach in this league as well, and I don’t think it’s a big deal as far as us coaching against each other, I think it’s normal. Wilks got an opportunity to do a good job, hopefully he does it. And we coach ball, we don’t look at color.’
Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles has criticized the media for shining the spotlight on race in the NFL
A reporter then asked Bowles about representation and how that impacts aspiring players and coaches from minority backgrounds who see those who ‘looks like them’ or ‘grew up like them.’
‘Well, when you say, ‘They see you guys,’ and ‘look like them and grew up like them,’ it means that we’re oddballs to begin with,’ Bowles responded. ‘I think the minute you guys stop making a big deal about it, everybody else will as well.’
This comes amid the backdrop of an NFL landscape that has only seven coaches of color – four of which are black.
Tomlin is the NFL’s longest tenured active black coach, having helmed the Steelers since 2007
Earlier this week, Steve Wilks became the forth active black head coach in the league – when he stepped in on an interim basis after the Panthers fired Matt Rhule.
The league has been criticized more and more in recent years due to the lack of diversity in its coaching ranks. About 70% of the players in the NFL are black. Lovie Smith of the Houston Texans is the only other black head coach in the league alongside Wilks, Tomlin, and Bowles.
In addition to those four, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel is biracial, Jets coach Robert Saleh is of Lebanese descent, and Ron Rivera is Latino.
Wilks is a plaintiff in a lawsuit started by former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. The suit alleges the league racially discriminated against him in its hiring processes.
This week, Steve Wilks became the fourth black head coach in the league with the Panthers
Wilks is part of a lawsuit against the league for racial discrimination started by Brian Flores