New Patriots HC Jerod Mayo Sparks Controversy with Comments About Race

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Mayo is the first black head coach in the franchise’s history

By Bear Acuda

Recently, Jerod Mayo, the newly appointed head coach of the New England Patriots, sparked widespread online discussion following his response to a journalist’s query regarding his role as the team’s first African American head coach. Mayo expressed his perspective on racial identity, stating that he indeed acknowledges race.

“I do see color. I believe if you don’t see color, you can’t see racism. And, whatever happens — black, white … even someone with disabilities — for the most part, people are like, ‘Don’t.’ When they’re young, they kinda make the spot hot.

But, what I would say is, no, I want you to be able to go up to those people, really understand those people. So, that goes back to whatever it is — black, white, yellow — it really doesn’t matter, but it does matter so we can try to fix a problem that we all know we have.”

Does Mayo’s Comments Signal A Racial Hire by Patriots owner Robert Kraft?

Jerod Mayo
Let me be clear, I’m a fan of Jerod Mayo.

I loved watching him at the University of Tennessee, I loved watching him in the pros, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy him as a head coach….at some point. Obviously, the typical race-baiters have made his hire about race instead of merit, so now everybody in media will have to answer that question about skin color.

It would be nice if a black person getting a high-ranking position wasn’t headline news, but alas, we’re still in the early part of the 2020’s. Since this is the case, naturally, the masses will immediately question whether this hire was given, as opposed to earned. Personally, I prefer to look at the substance first, and work my way back.

Is he deserving to be the head coach of one the NFL’s most recognized teams? 

In my opinion, not so much. 

He began his coaching career four years ago, and has been predominantly a (inside) linebackers coach. I could think of 100 people more qualified off the top of my head. I said the same thing when Tennessee hired Mike Vrabel, so your “racist” take is DOA. Good try, though. The Titans have been competitive, but Belichik proteges haven’t quite panned out in the NFL. McDaniel, Patricia, Flores, O’Brien, and even the great Nick Saban couldn’t cut the mustard as head coaches in the NFL. Mangini, Rommel, Daboll…I could do this all day.

Regardless, the statement from Mayo quickly gained traction on social media, eliciting mixed reactions. Some commended Mayo for his stance, while others — like former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III — expressed his support through a social media post.

Conversely, some online commentators debated Mayo’s viewpoint, labeling it as a modern, yet hollow, rebuttal to the notion of being ‘colorblind.’ A certain segment of the feedback pointed out that claiming colorblindness typically means not discriminating based on race, rather than failing to recognize it. Critics suggested that Mayo’s interpretation might be misguided, emphasizing the importance of judging individuals by their character rather than racial identity. Many proposed that everyone acknowledges race, but the essence of the ‘colorblind’ concept is to avoid racial prejudice.

Jerod Mayo

“When a person says they’re colourblind, they’re not saying they don’t acknowledge a person’s skin color. They’re obviously saying they don’t treat people based on their skin color,” one commenter said.

“I mean, he does know that that’s just a saying, right? Everyone sees color. It means you judge people on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. The opposite of what he’s doing,” said another.

Others felt injecting race into everything was stale.

“Mayo sounds like a good guy, but this nonsense needs to stop.”

The former is sort of true; most people do acknowledge race, now; even, at times, ad nauseam. Even racists acknowledge race. In fact, racists are the only types of people that focus entirely on race, 100% of the time. Kind of interesting when you think about it. Look at the people focusing most on race? It’s almost ironic, even.

The conversation also brought up comparisons with Todd Bowles, the coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bowles, like Mayo, had been questioned about race in the context of coaching, providing an alternative approach to handling such inquiries.

Speaking about the “Brotherhood” for black coaches in regards to Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin, Bowles had this to say:

“I have a very good relationship with Tomlin. We don’t look at what color we are when we coach against each other; we just know each other.

“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. Wilks got an opportunity to do a good job, hopefully he does it (former HC of the Arizona Cardinals, who had a disastrous one-win season). And we coach ball, we don’t look at color.”

With all the information at hand, does the hiring of Mayo by Patriots owner Robert Kraft seem more like a “diversity hire” than one based on merit? Kraft is well known in the most famous of “social justice” circles in America, which has become a sort of country club for affluent entertainers & political commentators. When Kraft visited rapper Meek Mill in prison, he elevated his standing within DEI communities.

For a city like Boston who has been known for its racist underbelly, it’s hard not to see this hire as a virtue signal. But if it helps the city move forward, and even America — to the point that a “black hire” isn’t headline news — I’m all for it. I even wish Mayo all the luck in the world. Football is better when the Patriots are good.

Unfortunately, though, I see him lasting two seasons. Come find me at the end of the 2025 season. We can exchange notes.

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