Not everyone is happy with the New York Giants’ choice for a new coach, including ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who said that in hiring Joe Judge the team made a “mockery” of the NFL’s Rooney Rule.
The broadcaster was among the critics of the Giants’ hire of the New England Patriots’ special teams and wide receivers coach, saying others – including Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy – deserved more consideration.
The Rooney Rule requires teams to interview a minority candidate for a head-coaching or a football-operations job.
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“I need to be very, very careful about what I have to say. Joe Judge, if you’re watching this show, I’ve never met this man. I’m not questioning the man’s capabilities at all. I know nothing about him. So, I want everyone to understand that my criticism – and it is a criticism – of this choice by the New York Giants, who are regressing before our very eyes as a standard in the National Football League,” Smith said.
“Here’s the reason I say this. And, again, Mr. Joe Judge, to you and your family, I apologize. These comments are not directed towards him … This is the issue: You’re the New York Giants! It’s the media capital of the world! It’s a franchise that L.T. was once the face of, Phil Simms, even Jeff Hostetler, Bill Parcells! I mean, Michael Strahan! Are you kidding me?!”
“And you come to the New York market – the media capital of the world, this bubble – with Joe Judge … You’re the wide receivers coach of the New England Patriots. What have we been saying all year? They don’t have any. So, that is the position that you’re coming from. I wish him nothing but the best, but the Giants — you’re the New York Giants. And this is what you come with?”
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Smith then delved into the Giants hiring a 38-year-old white head coach who has never led a team before. Judge previously coached at Alabama, Division III Birmingham-Southern and Mississippi State.
“This don’t happen for black folk. A wide receivers coach that becomes the head coach. Eric Bieniemy is in Kansas City. Now, he’s the offensive coordinator even though he’s not the play-caller. That would be because the great Andy Reid is the one calling the plays. This guy gets those gratuitous interviews that don’t really amount to anything. I don’t know who they brought in for the Rooney Rule,” Smith said.
“The Cowboys brought in Marvin Lewis. And by the way because someone had that conversation with somebody about Marvin Lewis. Marvin Lewis coached in this league for 16 years. I know that Marvin Lewis deserves to be a head coach in the National Football League, but there’s something to be said about not winning a playoff game in those 16 years. There are plenty of African Americans in the National Football League, who by the way happen to be coordinators that deserve a look.”
Smith later added that the Rooney Rule is “bogus.”
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The Giants reportedly interviewed Bieniemy and Dallas Cowboys coach Kris Richard for the head-coaching job. New York has never had a black coach in its history dating back to 1925.
There are only three black head coaches in the NFL. Washington Redskins coach Ron Rivera is Hispanic.