For Dungy and Smith to get their teams here had nothing to do with where their ancestors originated. Just as a person's ethnicity, ideally, should have nothing to do with ... well, anything.
So, then, why are we wasting so much (air) time talking about the colors of these men's skin?
I've been guilty of it for six paragraphs, but no more. It distracts us from what's really important: what's inside these men. And, trust me, it would do people good to see more of that.
Dungy and Smith are role models, not just for coaches who look like them or men who look like them, but for all coaches and all men. They live their lives the right way, and as a result they do their jobs the same way. Their priorities are, in order: faith, their families and football. The outcome of the Super Bowl or any game does not define them. They personify words such as class, grace, dignity, honor and integrity. We all can draw inspiration from men such as these.
Dungy and Smith are Christian men who serve the Lord first and spend nearly as much time serving their communities. Doesn't prevent them from winning. And often. In just three seasons Smith, last season's Coach of the Year, has helped build the Bears into a league power. Dungy has won more regular season games than any coach since 1999. Where does color factor into that?
On Jan. 15, the nation celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We could honor his dream by celebrating Dungy's and Smith's achievements not because of the color of their skin, but the content of their character.
There's a lot of talk about hoping for a day when black coaches in the Super Bowl won't be a big deal, when we won't find it necessary to refer to a coach as a "black coach" (or any person by their race, for that matter).
What's wrong with that day being today? Dungy and Smith have made history, and we happily acknowledge it. As for our practice of categorizing NFL head coaches, let's make that history, too.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Super Bowl Coaches
This might be the best article I've ever read on ESPN.com, courtesy of Michael Smith. Speaking about Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith and Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, the first black head coaches to ever coach in a Super Bowl, Smith says that "It's character, not color, that separates Smith, Dungy." Here's some excerpts, but I encourage you to read the whole thing.