I knew it was going to come to this. All over the airwaves in Chicago since the season started, fans were calling for Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith's head.
That's what happens when a team doesn't make the playoffs three years in a row. Coaches usually don't make it to the fourth year. But with Smith being owed over $10 million dollars for this season and 2011, Bears management decided to stage a charade that if things didn't change this year, heads would roll.
Fast forward 11 games into the 2010 season and the Chicago Bears are atop the NFC North Division and sitting pretty in the playoff hunt with a surprising 8-3 record.
You could say the team has been lucky. They have.
Everything has gone their way since the opening game against Detroit, when Calvin Johnson's touchdown catch that would have won the game for the Lions was ruled a non-catch because of a moronic NFL rule.
That changed everything. A loss there after a winless exhibition season and the vultures would have been circling overhead.
The ball hasn't bounced their way like this since Dick Jauron's 13-3 season in 2001.
And now the listeners calling into the sports radio stations defending Smith are out in full force. All of a sudden he's a terrific coach and a wonderful leader, and why did everybody want to get rid of him?
There are a range of callers defending him, but one sector stands out more than any other backing him. That is the African-American callers.
If you read between the lines while they are defending him, you can often hear in their voices why they think he was being criticized so much. One such caller finally came out and said it today on The Score in Chicago on the Mully and Hanley Show.
He said the callers criticizing him "have to come out of the closet." He then went on with some more rhetoric backing the coach, before he came out with the magic words and called the callers "racist."
I'm sure he pictures them sitting there with there white hoods on dialing the numbers to the radio station.
Could those callers be attacking him because he didn't do a very good job the last three years after getting a huge raise after the Bears went to the Super Bowl in 2006, and lost, might I add?
Could these be the same callers that wanted Dick Jauron and Dave Wannstedt fired as the Bears head coach in previous years? Could they also be the ones that called for Cubs manager Lou Piniella's ouster this year?
Might they have been calling because they thought the guy wasn't doing a good job, not because he's black?
Does everything in this world today have to be about race?
I'm sure there are callers that are racist. They might want Lovie gone because of his skin color, but they also might want him gone because they don't think he's a very good coach.
Think back to when O.J. Simpson was found innocent of two murders back in the 90s, and the camera scanned the reactions of the crowds watching the verdict on TV.
The black audience howled in delight like their favorite team had just won the Super Bowl. The white crowds stood in shock, like they just heard their parents had died in a car crash.
In the end, someone was killed, and people cheered O.J. getting off. And many of them thought he did it.
Racism runs both ways.
There has been prejudice in this country ever since we stepped foot on it. It's not fair or right, but it's there.
Lovie Smith is going to keep his job at least until next year because the Bears have an 8-3 record.
Defend him if you must, but don't do it just because of his skin color. Do it because you think he's a good coach.
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