Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Charles Barkley might mean well, but stop it

I should preface this by saying that I don't know the intricacies of SEC football, and I don't know much about the Auburn or Iowa State or Buffalo programs.

Charles Barkley made a big stink when he said the only reason Gene Chizik was hired at Auburn was because he's white and Turner Gil is black.

Barkley went on PTI this afternoon, presumably in an attempt to show he wasn't being a bumbling idiot when he suggested this.

I'm paraphrasing, because splurging for DVR didn't occur to me when I started law school. "Given Chizik's and Gill's resume and what they've done, it's impossible that anyone would hire Chizik over Gill unless race was a factor."

Kornheiser pointed out that Gill has gone on record saying that he felt he had a fair shot at winning the job, and they just chose to go in another direction.

Barkley was having none of it, saying (again, paraphrasing) that, "I don't really know anything about the search process, but since it didn't result in the hiring of Turner Gill, it wasn't a good one."

It's almost as if there's the chance that something other than a resume played into the hiring of a football coach. I don't know about you, but I think it's possible that Auburn chose to go another way because Chizik had either a wonderful interview, presented a better plan for reshaping the Auburn program, or meshed better with administrators than Gill did.

I wouldn't begin to suggest that race didn't play a role in the hiring of Gene Chizik, but suggesting that it was the only reason is incredibly dumb.

Yes, there are four black coaches of the 119 in the FBS subdivision. Yes, this is an indisputably low proportion, given the general population, not to mention proportion of black college football players. But, the way to solve this problem isn't to suggest that every time a white coach was hired over a black coach was strictly because his skin color matched that of the college president or athletic director.

Barkley should stick with basketball.

Note: I am not, by any means, suggesting that this is a good or that it was the right hire for Auburn. There are certainly a myriad of reasons to criticize it. My point is that those reasons do not include skin color, and to make this an issue of white vs. black, when it most likely isn't, is anything but helpful.


Martin said...

It was a terrible hire. Turner Gill had a better resume as a head coach, as did probably every white candidate. It's a weak year for head coaching hires, so I agree with some commentators who are saying that Gill is as good a candidate as there is available, and in a place like the SEC, they should have gone with him. He could have made a spalsh, attract african american recruits possibly, and give Auburn some positive press.

Instead they hired a guy who was overmatched in the weak division of the Big 12. They would have been better off just dealing with another year of Tubbervill.

Chris W said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

That's Charles...just telling it like it is! He speaks his mind! Can't no one tell him what's what.

In all seriousness, I like Barkley. When his being a degenerate gambler bankrupts him by the time he's 50, I'll probably go to a baseball card show (do they still have those) and get his autograph or something. One of my favorite players ever.

PrivatePigg said...

When there is no evidence of racism (and purely hiring a white guy is not evidence of racism) then stating that there is racism is simply irresponsible.

Also, some black lady on ESPN said that because Turner Gill is married to a white woman, he would actually hurt recruiting black athletes who would resent his marrying of a white woman. Just saying.

But my point is that it is ridiculous to even imply racism is "a cause" or "a reason" unless you have tangible evidence of same.