Monday, January 22, 2007

Race Matters: Historic SuperBowl Matchup is BIG!

Much has been said these last couple of days about the historical significance of two black coaches meeting in the upcoming Super Bowl.

Not only did USA Today spotlight the possible match-up between the Indianapolis Colt’s Tony Dungy and the Chicago Bears’ Lovie Smith, but now that the two teams are officially in, there was even talk about it on National Public Radio this morning and the Birmingham-based Paul Finebaum Radio Network.

I actually sat in my car when I got to the University of Alabama campus this afternoon long enough to hear some of the commentary from callers on the Finebaum Radio Network.

It seemed like Paul Finebaum was dismissing much of the hype about the historical significance – as something more important to older folks who lived in a time when such a match-up between two black male head NFL coaches would have been unheard of.

As a 36-year-old (soon to be 37) African-American male, I can certainly say there is a certain amount of pride that comes with seeing Dungy and Smith on the sidelines. They’ve both accomplished something no other “brothers” have done before.

I don’t have to know either of them to know that somewhere along the way they’ve experienced what I’ve experienced as an African-American male in an unusual or unconventional role for others with my skin color.

The pride in seeing Dungy and Smith is no less than my pride when two coaches at my alma mater, the University of Georgia are mentioned. Athletic Director Damon Evans and Basketball Head Coach Dennis Felton also broke the color barrier in their jobs.

Yes, we can be full of pride while appreciating the time that we’re slowly reaching when these differences won’t matter.

Today they STILL matter. Whether Dungy or Smith’s team wins the Super Bowl, the event in my book is ALREADY a WINNER!

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