Clearing The Air On Tennessee Vols, Racism, Brown And Dooley

Kevin ScottCorrespondent IJanuary 16, 2010

DETROIT - 2008:  Kippy Brown of the Detroit Lions poses for his 2008 NFL headshot at photo day in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Getty Images)
Getty Images/Getty Images

Yesterday I published an article I felt strongly about. I believe in the principle of the article and still believe there is a massive problem concerning the promotion and treatment of black coaches in college football.

However, in the last day, judging by the response I, as a writer, didn't do a great job of conveying what I was trying to say. After speaking with a few people of whom I value their opinion, I realize some of the points I attempted to make weren't received as they were intended.

First, I would like to apologize to those who interpreted my column as calling Mike Hamilton, the Tennessee athletic director, a racist. I do not believe he is and have supported Hamilton in his entire stint in Knoxville.  

Also, to those who received my article as saying Tennessee didn't hire Kippy Brown solely because he was black or should have hired a black coach, I apologize I didn't do a better job of preventing that.

Neither of those two points were what I was trying to say, and it's my fault it came across any other way.

I'm not going to rewrite the same article and waste people's time, or make the same points over and over. I do feel the need to clarify a few points.

To be crystal clear, I do not believe Derek Dooley is of anything but the highest character and never meant to insinuate he wouldn't be worthy of a look. The article wasn't meant to be about Dooley.

What it was meant for was this.

I believe there is a bad problem in college football with the promotion, or lack of, of black head coaches in the FBS. When you look at the statistics, it's overwhelming how small the number is.

Now, does that mean that every white coach was hired over a better black coach? Of course it doesn't. In fact, there may have been none.

What that statistic does represent to me, however, is a disparity in opportunities for minority coaches. I do not believe they are afforded the same opportunities for advancement white coaches are, therefore the numbers are so lopsided. 

In Tennessee's case, Kippy Brown was told he would get a fair shot. In fact, he did not. Derek Dooley was already telling his people in Rustin that he'd accepted the job and a delegation was there from UT to bring him back before Kippy even sat down for an interview.

Was that because Kippy was black? I have no idea.  

What I was trying to convey is that by doing that, I believe Tennessee fed into a terrible trend that shouldn't exist in today's society. Whether it was about his race or it wasn't, the fact that he was told he would get a shot and didn't leaves room for doubt.

If Mike Hamilton had told Kippy from the start he wasn't getting the job, this wouldn't be an issue. If Kippy hadn't been on the staff, this wouldn't be an issue.  

The problem I have with the process is what Kippy was told versus what was actually delivered. If they had interviewed Kippy without a delegation on the ground, ready to bring Dooley back, then this wouldn't be a problem in my mind.

But they didn't do it that way. The decision was already made and Kippy was nothing more than a "token" interview, and I believe that feeds into the horrible perception that black coaches aren't given a real shot.

Again, to be clear, I do not believe Hamilton is a racist. I do not believe Dooley was hired simply because he was white.  

I do believe that Brown was lied to, and in committing that lie, Hamilton and whoever else was part of the process, fed into the trend of unfair treatment for minorities in college football.

Was that the intention? Only those men know that. I would love to believe it had nothing to do with nothing. However, my anger comes from it being my school, and me not wanting my school to feed that trend. I want them to be different.

Again, my apologies for not writing the article in such a manner that my intentions were clear, that is completely my fault. I will take steps in the future to proof read more carefully, to slow it down a little, so that my intentions are more clear.

I want to say thank you to the people who commented and brought good conversation, and also a thank you to those who offered advice and criticism on what I wrote that could have been worded differently.


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