Shouldn’t television sports program panelists bring at least some modicum of wit and wisdom to the set? That’s asking way too much from Undisputed co-host Skip Bayless. On Friday, Bayless urged the Carolina Panthers to threaten a season-long boycott in 2024 because their black interim coach did not get hired fulltime.
Interim head coach Steve Wilks, who’s black, went 6-6 with the Panthers before white guy Frank Reich got the head coaching job last week. Wilks had previously served for one season as head coach in Arizona, where he went 3-13. His 9-19 career head coaching record doesn’t exactly command “hire that guy!” status.
Nonetheless, Bayless went off on the Panthers in a race-inspired rant.:
“At what point do the players not rise up, and stand up, and say, ‘no’ because this is a situation, forgive me if I’m going too far here, but this is like a boycott situation where I got to see them say, ‘no, we refuse. As a team, we have voted not to play next year. I know we’re talking about everybody’s money on the table.
“Wouldn't you like to see some form of protest here? Where you stand up as a football team and say, ‘this is not acceptable to us,'” Bayless wailed.
Wilks, on the other hand, was all class over Carolina’s hiring of another man for head coach. He said, “The sun rose this morning and by the grace of God so did I. I’m disappointed, but not defeated. Many people aren't built for this but I know what it means to persevere and see it through.” Wilks said it was an honor to coach the Panthers and thanked his players, coaches and staff for their hard work and dedication.
Reich coached the Indianapolis Colts for five seasons and recorded a 40-33-1 record. He’s simply had a more impressive run as a head coach than Wilks has.
White television sports show hosts have turned white privilege rants into a cottage industry. They are especially exercised each January when failed head coaches get fired and there are never enough minority coaches hired to replace them, they claim.
Though Wilks isn’t claiming he got a raw deal in Caroline, he signed on as a co-plaintiff with former Miami head coach Brian Flores last year after he got canned. Their suit charges the NFL with racial discrimination.
Wilks attorneys said, “We are shocked and disturbed that after the incredible job Coach Wilks did as the interim coach, including bringing the team back into playoff contention and garnering the support of the players and fans that he was passed over for the head coach position by (team owner) David Tepper.”
Wilks took the high road this time with his dismissal at Carolina, and he deserves more respect than the shrill Bayless and his sensationalist race-baiting act on Undisputed.