Tom Brady’s son getting a job as a Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ ball boy is what’s wrong with the NFL.
Nepotism runs wild.
It’s the main reason so many Black people can’t get jobs when their playing careers are over in the league.
Laugh, if you want.
It’s both sad and wrong.
Too often, white owners, coaches and front office people hire and promote family members. Despite making up nearly 75 percent of the league on the field, Black players are usually shut out from sneaking in through the coaching backdoor.
Not so for their white counterparts.
There have been a ton of father-son acts in the NFL. White dads hire their sons as coaches and put them in position to eventually get a head coaching job down the line.
Can you imagine a Black person who didn’t even play football in college, but say golf of all sports, getting an NFL head coaching gig?
Sound ludicrous? Ridiculous even?
Well that was Todd Haley’s reality.
Haley’s dad once was the director of player personnel for the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets and also a former NFL cornerback.
As a kid, Todd Haley, was a ball boy — just like Brady’s son — for the Steelers and attended Steelers’ training camps with his father. Haley didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps and never played football beyond the youth level.
Instead, Haley played golf in college at the University of Florida and the University of Miami.
He graduated from the University of North Florida in 1991 with a degree in communications.
That should have been the roadblock to the NFL and a plum coaching gig.
In 2009, Haley — who had started up the NFL ladder after his father hired him with the Jets in 1995 — was named the Kansas City Chiefs head coach and was given a four-year contract. As a head coach, he was 19-27, including one playoff loss. Then he was suddenly axed with his team standing at 5-8 in 2011.
Yet, somehow, in June of last year, there was San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, playing the role of woke during the Black Lives Matter movement.
“How the heck are there only four Black coaches out of the 32 head coaches? How are there only two GMs,” he said. “I mean, we’re in a predominately (Black league), the majority of our players are Black. So, the fact that there’s that few, that’s not debatable.”
Absurd, to be honest.
Black coaches don’t have dads who can hire them.
Kyle got hooked up by his dad, Mike Shanahan, in D.C. Kyle was his dad’s offensive coordinator for four years. And in three of Kyle’s first four years, Washington’s offense was ranked 25th, 26th and 23rd.
This behavior is the norm in the NFL. Many companies have policies against nepotism. But not the NFL, which had to come up with the Rooney Rule, which mandated that minorities must be interviewed for high level front office jobs and head coaching positions. If not, teams can be fined and get other penalties.
When Rod Marinelli was hired by the Lions in 2006, he was not bashful about loading up family and friends on the Detroit payroll. Talk about over the top. Marinelli — who had never been a head coach on any level, including high school or college — hired his son-in-law, Joe Barry, as his defensive coordinator and Barry’s father, Mike. Mike was Detroit’s assistant offensive line coach. There were many others that got to cash Lions’ checks, too.
The Marinellis aren’t alone. Hiring family is a hustle. Here’s a list: Dick and Mike Nolan, the Jim Moras, Marty and Brian Schottenheimer, Don, Dave and Mike Shula, Bum and Wade Phillips, Mike and Kyle Shanahan, and Buddy, Rex and Rob Ryan. And in New England, two of Bill Belichick’s kids are on his staff, Steve and Brian. And then there’s Andy Reid in Kansas City, who has hired his kids, despite past drug arrests, culminating with son Britt being charged with a DWI after he was involved in a multi-vehicle crash that injured a five-year-old girl just days before the Super Bowl LV. Britt’s blood alcohol was .113, above the legal limit of .08.
Funny, there isn’t one Black coach and his son on that list. It speaks volumes.
Still, many won’t connect the dots to Brady’s kid.
Instead, most will think it’s neat that Brady’s 13-year-old son, Jack, got the gig for training camp. It makes for a great story. The end.
In reality, there are plenty of current players who would love that opportunity for their sons, too. But it won’t happen for them. They don’t know the right people or socialize in the same places.
For sure, there are some Black or brown kids in Tampa Bay whose dads aren’t NFL quarterbacks who have made millions of dollars in the league that would relish such an opportunity. But that kid has no shot.
In the NFL, it’s all about blood relatives. When Brady’s kid becomes a coach, remember this moment.