When the Buffalo Bills named Kathryn Smith a special teams quality coach Wednesday, making her the NFL's first full-time female assistant coach, the potential for sexist responses stood as an unfortunate side effect.
Kevin Kiley, who co-hosts Kiley and Carman on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland, used his platform Thursday to criticize Smith's hiring (h/t Kimberly John of TheScore.com):
Football is about physical advantage. (Women) are at a loss when it comes to the reference points of football. This is not discrimination against women. I don’t care if a woman is President, that’d be great. I don’t care if a woman runs a corporation, that’d be great. But don’t set people up to fail. … She couldn’t possibly be qualified to the same level that a man could be qualified to do that.
Kiley didn't stop at just criticizing Smith's credentials for the job, as John noted he also called the person who hired her an "idiot."
The radio host wasn't done there. He claimed it is "absurd" for women to be able to vote for the Pro Football Hall of Fame because they can't understand what it takes to reach those heights when they "never played the game and [don't] understand the intensity of the game."
One thing Kiley didn't mention—or maybe he just forgot—is Smith has been working with NFL teams since the New York Jets hired her in 2003. She served as a college scouting intern, a player personnel assistant and moved with head coach Rex Ryan to the Bills last season as an administrative assistant.
In an era when women have increased opportunities to work in professional sports—the NBA made headlines when Becky Hammon joined the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant coach prior to the 2014-15 season and Nancy Lieberman joined the Sacramento Kings staff last summer—comments like Kiley's prove there is still a long way to go.
This is a great day for Smith, the Bills and the NFL. Most of the sentiment so far has been overwhelmingly positive—but there are still people out there like Kiley who are stuck in their ways of thinking.
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