Stephen A. Smith makes Jason Garrett non-firing a race issue


A popular ESPN analyst makes the Dallas Cowboys non-firing of head coach Jason Garrett into a racial issue.

Somehow, someway, the Dallas Cowboys are still alive in the NFC East at 4-8. Unfortunately, the fact that playoffs are still an option says a lot more about the pedestrian NFC East than it does the excellence of football in Jerry World.

On First Take, ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith made sure to express that the fact that head coach Jason Garrett has not been fired is a “damn shame.”

More pointed and notable however, is Smith’s opinion on why it hasn’t happened:

"“It’s not about what I know. ‘Oh, I’m friends with the owner who’s like a father to me, so I get to keep my job.’ I’m sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but it is rare in America that a black man has that luxury. And that is the problem. Jason Garrett is the walking epitome of the frustration and the disgust and the unfairness and the proverbial glass ceiling that black folks continuously allude to that never come their way.”"

Do Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones and Garrett have a special relationship? I think it would be hard to dispute that given their history. Has that relationship clouded Jones’ judgement when it comes to dealing with coaching personnel? It’s possible.

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But suggesting things would be different if Garrett was of minority race treads awfully close to the rating-boosting controversy manufacturing that Stephen A. Smith and his counterpart, open Cowboys fan Skip Bayless, are best known for.

The reality is, as I noted a couple weeks ago, Garrett has never coached a meaningless game – and that’s credit to him. Every team he has coached since being hired as the full-time leader of America’s Team has been in playoff contention at least until Week 17.

Where I was wrong two weeks ago in the aftermath of the Thanksgiving disaster against the Carolina Panthers, was where I stated that Garrett would have to adapt to now coaching meaningless games. Within a game of first place in the NFC East, it still hasn’t happened yet this season.

And coaches who have their team playing hard every week tend not to get fired. Black, white, or other.

Garrett has certainly been partly responsible for the disappointing record in 2015. But his ability to motivate has never been a question. When former Cowboys coach Wade Phillips was fired in mid-2010, it was because many perceived that he had lost the team. With Garrett, effort has never been in doubt.

So yes, Jason Garrett is the coach of a 4-8 football team. He was also the coach of a 12-4 team a year ago. Like him or hate him, he’s probably not going anywhere for at least another year.

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And if you’re a fan of building a consistent winner, you should be rooting for the guy who can motivate a team like this (as broken as this squad was after Thanksgiving) to play with the effort they displayed this past Monday night in the last-minute victory over the Washington Redskins.

Garrett also seems to be a pretty likable guy too.