Down With The White Guys With Laptops
I've noted before the irony that the analytical revolution in sports was spearheaded by people who would no doubt consider themselves to be progressives, has had the effect of slowing or even reversing the growth of minority candidates in the higher levels of coaching, management, and commentary.
Now, a couple of news items have brought this trend into relief:
The sign stealing scandal of the Houston Astros, one of the darling analytical franchises.
An NFL head coach hiring season featuring the hiring of only a single minority candidate, Ron Rivera, who had been fired the previous year.
The Astros were build via a massive tear down, following a template that brought the Cubs their first world championship in over a century the year before the Astros won their first title. They lost over 100 games each year from 2012-2014. They fired their scouting department. They manipulated the service time of their players so they could go longer before arbitration and free agency. Those who criticized these moves were seen as unenlightened. They established the blueprint being followed by the half of major league teams that are not particularly interested in winning, rendering the regular season a foregone conclusion in many divisions.
In the NFL, the criteria for getting a coaching job changed from "pay your dues with a series of college and pro assistant jobs in a number of cities over decades" to "be a 30 something white guy who looks like he needs a shave and have been in the same restaurant as Sean McVay." The conventional wisdom on winning in the NFL was you wanted to have quarterback on his cheap rookie contract, and in order to do that, you needed a "quarterback whisperer" as a coach to get the most out of him (though it apparently hasn't occurred to anyone that the increasing number of African American QBs may respond better to an African American coach).
It's one thing to be held back by an "old boys network." It's not good, but at least there's a path to breaking through. But if the rules keep changing, and you've already invested a lot of time and effort and family disruption to jumping through the hoops of the old system, well, then anger is a reasonable response.
In any case, it is my hope that perhaps this can move the sports culture that makes movies about a general manager who managed a baseball team from the Bay Area to the playoffs on the cheap to one that remembers that the games are played by human beings. We'll see.