**FILE** Washington Commanders owner Josh Harris (Lady Philly via Wikimedia Commons)
**FILE** Washington Commanders owner Josh Harris (Lady Philly via Wikimedia Commons)

The National Black Players Coalition (NBPC) has ramped up its call for Washington Commanders鈥 owner Josh Harris to shatter a century-long tradition by appointing the team鈥檚 first full-time Black head coach.

The Commanders, even before becoming Washington鈥檚 football team, trace their roots back to 1932 as the Boston Braves and were renamed under the ownership of George Preston Marshall in 1933. Despite a 92-year existence, the franchise has never appointed a full-time Black head coach, maintaining a notorious tradition that dates to its founding.

But the call for a Black head coach in the nation鈥檚 capital appears likely to fall on muted ears. ESPN has reported that Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson will take the job once the Lions’ playoff run ends.聽

鈥淚t is a pretty foregone conclusion in Washington, albeit one that we鈥檒l have to wait on to see with certainty, that Ben Johnson will wind up being the coach of the Commanders after the Lions鈥 season ends,鈥 journalist Jeff Darlington said on ESPN鈥檚 “SportsCenter.”

Still, the NBPC highlighted in a news release that the team鈥檚 reputation is marred by being the last NFL franchise to integrate its players. When the team did integrate, it was only at the demand of President John F. Kennedy鈥檚 administration in 1962. 

However, the NBPC noted that the legacy of discrimination persists at the head coaching position, perpetuating the lack of diversity within the organization.

Following the acquisition of the Commanders from former owner Dan Snyder, Harris and the team鈥檚 ownership group pledged to 鈥渆arn your trust鈥 and strive to be a franchise that fans can take pride in, NBPC officials noted. However, the NBPC, in an open letter dated August 14, 2023, reminded Harris of the responsibility to address not only the sexual harassment issues inherited from Snyder鈥檚 era but also to take a leadership role in tackling racial discrimination within the organization.

One of the critical issues highlighted by the NBPC is the historical absence of a full-time Black head coach in a predominantly African American community. The Commanders find themselves among the 11 NFL teams, including the Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, and New York Giants, that have never appointed a Black full-time head coach. 

Recent breakthroughs with teams like the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons hiring their first Black head coaches have only underscored the urgency for the Commanders to join the ranks of progress.

鈥淭he Las Vegas Raiders just hired their third Black head coach, Antonio Pierce,鈥 NBPC officials wrote. 鈥淲ill it take 100 years for Commanders fans to get their first Black head coach? Now is the time for the Commanders to make history by joining these teams to hire their first Black Head Coach.鈥

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The 番茄社区app and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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  1. Our people need to wake up and stop begging for someone to do stuff for us. Urge the people to move on from the organization and stop spending your black dollars and time on an organization who just clearly turned down a 4 time Super Bowl winning Black OC that was in their building. The Rooney Rule is a joke and always has and will be. This team is a joke and will continue to be a joke under Dan Quinn.

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