Players Complain About Eric Bieniemy's Coaching, But Racism Not Involved

August 9th, 2023 11:15 AM

Washington Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy’s job status has long been used as an example of how the National Football League (NFL) still has racist biases in its hiring process.

Bieniemy was the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs and helped guide one of the most prolific and intimidating offenses in the league for five years. Usually, coordinators like him who do a good job at their positions get hired for head coaching vacancies elsewhere. However, he was frequently passed on for these jobs, which the media claimed was foolproof evidence of racism.

Some of Bieniemy’s former players - like running back LeSean McCoy - pushed back against that narrative by saying Bieniemy didn’t relate to players well, and that was a major red flag for many NFL teams. McCoy’s opinion didn’t count for much in the race-obsessed progressive media, but new developments in Washington suggest his theory was closer to the truth.

Now reports have emerged from the Commanders’ camp that tensions have arisen between Bieniemy and the offensive unit. Players have even approached head coach Ron Rivera about Bieniemy’s coaching style, which players are calling “intense.”

"Yeah, they have," Rivera said when asked if players have struggled to adapt to Bieniemy's coaching style. "And one of the biggest things is -- I had a number of guys come to me and I said, 'Hey, just go talk to him.' I said, 'Understand what he's trying to get across to you.' I think as they go and they talk and they listen to him, it's been enlightening for a lot of these guys.”

Related: Jake Tapper Believes Racism Explains Why Eric Bieniemy Isn't An NFL Head Coach

Bieniemy has defended his approach, saying that he expects a lot out of players so they can be better prepared for the season and to win football games. Seems like a good trait to have for a guy that’s leading an offense that finished 20th in the league in yards per game and averaged less than 19 points per game last season.

“When I'm getting on them, it's not personal,” Bieniemy said. “What's personal is I want us to win. I expect that particular player to be great at all times. I expect that effort to be a standard that's accepted by all of us. If they don't reach it, my job is to address it."

So the disconnect here is that many players don’t appreciate Bieniemy’s style, since they prefer to be coddled and not have much expected of them. Based on these developments and McCoy’s comments from earlier in the year, it seems plausible that NFL teams feared situations like this would happen if they hired Bieniemy, and decided he wasn’t worth the risk.

To be clear, that doesn’t make this right. The NFL is a league of professional athletes who are vying to be the best, and most teams’ offenses would be better off having someone with Bieniemy’s pedigree and coaching style. Nevertheless, the situation is what it is.

But that doesn’t mean racism was involved, even though the media desperately wants that to be true. Based on this fact pattern, it seems less and less likely that teams were passing on Bieniemy because of his skin color.  

Fortunately, not everyone is complaining about his coaching style. Wide receiver Jahan Dotson actually welcomes the hard-nosed approach.

"You've got to look at it for a bigger purpose. He's coaching you hard because he believes in you,” Dotson said. “He wants you to succeed. You've got to realize that even when he's getting on you about something you did wrong, he wants to make sure you get it right so on Sundays you don't make a fool of yourself."

And maybe that will happen this season if players put aside their egos and embrace Bieniemy’s coaching.