Chip Kelly is possibly, maybe, conceivably a racist in some way, shape, or form and we don’t want to talk about it.
When I say “we” I’m obviously excluding myself, LeSean McCoy, Tra Thomas and Brandon Boykin. What Boykin said wasn’t even that inflammatory. I wouldn’t expect a middle-aged white man to be able relate completely to a locker room full of young black men. You think Bill Belichick knows what it means when a Patriots player signs a new deal and says he’s about fuck up some commas with all that guaranteed money he’s gonna have? Belichick probably uncomfortably laugh/grunts and mumbles something about the importance of balancing your checkbook and walks away.
The fact that a coach is having a little trouble bridging a cultural gap isn’t really an issue. The fact that a coach is having trouble bridging a cultural gap and is possibly removing players for being part of that culture would be a huge problem. And since none of us are really aware of all the personal interactions in the locker room its impossible to say how much prejudice there is on the coaching staff.
However, the prejudice from the media is pretty clear. The way these accusations are casually and almost unanimously being viewed as nothing more than false accusations from bitter ex-Eagles is ridiculous. If there was a situation where a WNBA coach was being accused of sexism in any form by three or four players on his 15-woman roster it would be taken seriously. There would be an internal investigation of some sort. Maybe that coach faces some form of disciplinary action. But when three or four former Eagles say something about the white coach maybe having some racial bias affect his roster management, it gets swept under the rug and the only person who takes it seriously is Stephen A. Smith’s crazy ass. (If Smith really wanted to make the case that this should be taken seriously he should come out in favor of Chip Kelly. Having a cosign from Stephen A. has never helped anything in the court of public opinion.)
A big part of why Boykin and McCoy were openly mocked by a majority of columnists is that they don’t play hockey. They don’t play a team sport dominated by white folks. They play the second blackest sport there is. This provides an opportunity for people to say stupid stuff like “DeMarco Murray just got signed so Kelly can’t be racist.” Murray was the best running back in the NFL last year. And a much needed addition since the Butt Fumbler is their QB. If Kelly does have racism in his soul, he’s not about to let it get in the way of winning games. And I’m not quite sure where we got this idea that white people can be the overseer of black people and necessarily expect that the white man in charge respects the people who are doing all the physical labor. I don’t expect Kelly to try and field the first all white team since the days of leather helmets. But it at least appears that black players who step out of line on this team will receive less leeway than white players. Which, well, doesn’t sound too different from what regular nonathletic black people deal with at their regular jobs. As a matter of fact, I may or may not be experiencing that at my job right now. (I would never bring this up to anyone I work with, of course. Shady Mcoy has taught me two things: how to throw a good party, and that unless you have hard evidence of a burning cross in your locker, your accusations of racism will be ignored.)
This is compounded by the fact that no one currently on the Eagles will back up the claims of anyone who has anything negative to say about the head coach. Why would they? Who’s trying to be the next Huey P. Newton with his first up during two-a-days just so they can move down the depth chart? Why do that when you can just keep your head down and try to compete for one of these starting jobs? Mark Sanchez went and defended Chip Kelly in the press and if he was smart he went right into Kelly’s office to talk about how well he’s clicking with the first team offense. If we are going to question the word of players who have recently been removed from a team and may be upset, then we need to bring that same level of scrutiny when players still trying to impress the coach are talking good about the coach.
Chip Kelly isn’t a raging bigot. I feel pretty comfortable in that assumption. On a scale of 1 to Hitler, Chip Kelly is probably like a two or a three on the racism scale. The problem is, a lot of white people are two and three on that scale. If they were to acknowledge that Kelly is racist in some form, then they would then have to acknowledge some of their own racial bias. And why the fuck would you want to do that when you can ignore the social issues at play and just watch dudes hit each other really, really hard?