Jeff Saturday went directly from ESPN analyst to head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and NFL Network host Kyle Brandt slammed the move.
“This story is embarrassing,” Brandt ranted Tuesday on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football. “I’ve gotten to meet Jeff Saturday a few times, and he was great, and I really respect him as a player and a media member. Isn’t he embarrassed to take this job? At best, uncomfortable?”
“Isn’t this awkward for him?” Brandt continued. “Did he consider saying no just out of respect? Because I think it is a huge backhand to every man and woman in the world in any coaching profession, in any coaching position in college, in the pros, in high school. The coaching profession is something that drains you psychologically…and he got it because he’s friends with a billionaire.”
Thoughts on the Colts HC hiring… pic.twitter.com/ceWwc5Q93f
— Kyle Brandt (@KyleBrandt) November 8, 2022
Brandt’s shock and outrage over Saturday getting a head coaching opportunity without merit are shared by many, especially as the NFL has an obvious diversity issue with just five Black head coaches despite nearly 60 percent of its players being Black. In Saturday’s case, however, the issue is less about race and more about his lack of experience.
“What do you say here? Because he’s a high school coach and he was on ESPN and screaming on Get Up? It’s an interesting media thing, too,” Brandt said. “Because this is an ESPN employee, and I’d be fascinated to hear if anybody on ESPN has something critical to say about Jeff Saturday in this case. Or is it just ‘Oh, we’re happy for Jeff’? If I’m the Colts, I’m embarrassed yesterday.”
ESPN is not going to criticize Saturday for taking the job and they probably won’t criticize him if he does a bad job. Dan Orlovsky isn’t going to admit he’s interested in joining Saturday’s staff and then blast his former colleague for jumping rank to take the head coaching job in Indy. Stephen A. Smith isn’t going to call out someone he recruited to First Take for taking a potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunity even though the ESPN star may be upset with Black candidates getting overlooked.
But that’s OK, as long as ESPN admits their bias and reminds the audience that Saturday is a former colleague anytime they’re discussing him or his credentials. The same is true for NFL Network, which often acts as more of a PR firm for the league than a news outlet, especially when it comes to controversial issues. Which again, is fine, as long as the audience is made aware of their potential bias.