When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote about his frustrations with the “white moderate” when he was sitting in that Birmingham jail, he was talking about Pete Carroll.
The Seattle Seahawks head coach fits the bill, because “shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
According to reports, last week, Carroll decided to be the pot that calls the kettle black, when he took “owners to task” during a meeting for their failures when it comes to hiring Black and minority coaches. “He just went off,” a source reportedly told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “He was saying, you can do anything but until owners get to know these candidates before the actual interviews and understand that they have to hire people who are different than them, it’s not going to really change.”
Carroll feels like things won’t change until owners come to grips that there are coaches out there that can get it done that aren’t like them. Which really means, “people besides white dudes can coach, too.”
With the recent news that the NFL has “reinvested” in the Rooney Rule by mandating that each team must now have a minority assistant coach in a significant role on its offensive staff, the owners were ready to pat themselves on the back, as this was their response to Brian Flores’ lawsuit in a pitiful attempt to show that they aren’t as racists as they seem. So when Carroll gave the owners a piece of his mind, they weren’t happy. They were probably in shock, given that it was Carroll that said these things. I guess there isn’t honor amongst thieves.
You see, Carroll has never had a Black offensive coordinator on his staff. This is why his words are meaningless. Sure, he’s had a Black quarterback like Rusell Wilson and has even had multiple Black backups over the years. But, he’s never hired a Black man, or person of color, to run his offense which is the side of the ball that owners love to hire from when it comes to filling head coaching vacancies. It used to be the opposite, which is why so many Black coaches tried to become head coaches by first being defensive coordinators, but that didn’t crack the code either. Maybe that’s why Carroll has had three defensive coordinators that were Black during his tenure in Seattle.
But, beyond what Carroll has done by accusing NFL owners of doing the same thing he’s taken part in for over a decade, the other reason why he’s the worst messenger for this message is that he’s a repeat offender.
“Does that guy deserve a second shot? I think he does,” Carroll said about Colin Kaepernick last month.
But yet, despite him saying he’d be open to being a backup, posting footage from workouts with NFL receivers, and trying to make a team with a QB depth chart that features the dismal talents of Drew Lock, Jacob Eason, and Geno Smith, Carroll still hasn’t given Kaepernick the second chance he thinks he deserves.
“Still hopeful,” Kaepernick told The Athletic. “There’s been a lot of conversation around it. We’ve had conversations with Pete and John (Schneider) previously. As Pete mentioned, we’ve spoken recently and still hoping that door is open and get a chance to walk through it.”
Carroll is like a doorman who thinks someone should be allowed in a room, but won’t let the handle go so that they can get in.
This surface-level “wokeness” that some white people have adopted, and the convenience around their awakening to systemic racism and white supremacy since the happenings of George Floyd and 2020 far too often feel opportunistic, as its proof that many of them were always blatantly aware of the privileges they’ve inherited and the involvement they and the people around them played in it. They feel as if this moment has granted them a chance to finally speak out about it, but usually, it’s with hollow words.
If Pete Carroll wanted to change things for Black coaches — or Colin Kapernick — he would have done it already. But, he hasn’t. And that’s not my opinion. It’s a fact that Carroll has proven by his inaction.