by Sunni Kahlid
Originally published: July 25, 2016
League now has only black commissioner in any major sport.
African-Americans have come to dominate the National Football League since a “gentleman’s agreement” by white owners ended in 1946. In recent years, black quarterbacks such as Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Carolina’s Cam Newton have become stars in a league that would have shunned them as much for mobility and athleticism as much as their skin color a generation ago.
African-Americans such as Tony Dungy, Mike Tomlin, Lovie Smith and others have become head coaches, while others have become offensive and defensive coordinators, and even general managers, as the NFL has embraced racial diversity in the executive ranks.
But despite these accomplishments, the NFL continues to lag behind its neighboring league to the north, the Canadian Football League, which has a 60-year legacy of offering greater opportunities, both on the field and off, to African-Americans, who crossed the border to escape racial discrimination at home. The gap between opportunities offered to African-Americans between the two leagues can’t just be measured in dollars or miles, but, in some cases, decades.