Throughout his tenure on First Take, Stephen A. Smith has advocated for more Black head coaches and executives in the NFL, he just doesn’t want it to happen in Houston.
Sunday night, the Houston Texans fired head coach Lovie Smith after just one season in the position. It marked the second straight year the Texans hired a Black head coach and fired them after one season, with David Culley preceding Smith. Considering the track record, Stephen A. Smith urged aspiring Black head coaches to steer clear of Houston.
“The Houston Texans organization, I’m going to say something loud and clear over the national airwaves and I don’t give a damn what anybody thinks,” Smith said Monday morning on First Take. “African Americans need not apply. This is not an organization that has been fair to African Americans.”
The First Take host cited Houston’s treatment of Smith, Culley and Romeo Crennel. Crennel worked on Houston’s staff from 2014-2021 and served as their interim head coach after Bill O’Brien was fired in 2020. At 73 years old, Crennel became the oldest head coach in NFL history and was also the Texans’ first Black head coach in franchise history.
Prior to hiring Lovie Smith last year, the Texans were reportedly targeting former quarterback Josh McCown as their head coach. But on the heels of Brian Flores alleging racial discrimination in a lawsuit against the NFL, the Texans ultimately decided against hiring a white head coach with no professional coaching experience.
“That’s who they wanted to bring in as the head coach of the Houston Texans before the national media and local raised holy hell!” Smith ranted. “And as a fallback, you went to the Black dude, who you clearly had no intentions of keeping…the Houston Texans organization are an atrocity! They are an embarrassment. And as far as I’m concerned, if you’re an African American and you aspire to be a head coach in the National Football League, there are 31 teams you should hope for. You should hope beyond God that the Houston Texans never call you.”
In recent years, Smith has been one of the leading voices in putting the NFL on blast for its brutal display of head coaching diversity. To start the 2022 season, just three of the NFL’s 32 head coaches were Black, a jarring statistic considering 70 percent of the league’s players are Black. Last year, during a real meeting of the minds, Smith was even lauded by Fox News personality Sean Hannity for highlighting the lack of minority head coaches in professional sports.
But Smith isn’t just preaching the need for more Black head coaches; he’s preaching the need for Black head coaches to get opportunities in places where they can succeed. And Houston offering to put a Black head coach on their sideline as a placeholder does nothing in terms of helping the league’s diversity problem.