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NFL Coach’s Response to a Reporter’s Question About Race Is Refreshing

Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles said he won’t be thinking about his race or the race of opposing Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who is also black, during their upcoming game this weekend.

SO WHAT

Are Americans really as divided on racial issues as the media makes it seem?

THE MOMENT

Ahead of Sunday’s matchup Bowles was asked about his relationship with Tomlin, one of the few black coaches in the NFL, which has come under fire for its alleged lack of diversity.

However, Bowles dismissed the idea that the game held any special significance.

  • I have a lot of very good white friends that coach in this league as well, and I don’t think it’s a big deal as far as us coaching against each other, I think it’s normal… we coach ball, we don’t look at color,” he said.
  • Pressed on the issue by ESPN reporter Jenna Laine, who is white, Bowles said the fixation on black coaches’ skin color implied that, “we’re oddballs to begin with.”
  • “I think the minute you guys stop making a big deal about it, everybody else will as well.”

ONE ENCOURAGING DATA POINT

While polling shows most people think racism is still a problem, survey data reveals how much Americans’ attitudes on race have changed over the past century.

A Gallup poll released last year found support for interracial marriage between black and white people shot up from just 4% in 1958 to a near-unanimous 94% in 2021.

  • Gallup called the change “one of the largest transformations in public opinion in Gallup’s history.”

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