Whitlock: The Ron Rivera-Eric Bieniemy controversy points to black matriarchy issue sports media want to avoid

Of the many dishonest media discussions we will be treated to this NFL season, none compare to the level of dishonesty surrounding Eric Bieniemy's debut as the Washington Commanders' offensive coordinator.

Bieniemy is the chosen one, the Barack Obama of football.

White sports pundits fear Mr. Bieniemy because of the reputational damage caused by a black man publicly portraying himself as a second-hand version of a black man. Black sports pundits revere the former Andy Reid understudy because they believe his ability says something about their own abilities.

The NFL's media partners, ESPN, CBS, NBC, and Fox, will broadcast an avalanche of misinformation, distortions, and outright lies about Bieniemy. What they don't say says much more than what they say.

Two weeks into training camp and ahead of the first exhibition in Washington, lies and untold truths are already starting to pour out of Washington.

Commanders head coach Ron Rivera, the only Hispanic coach in the NFL, was clearly uncomfortable working with the assistant coach hired to replace him. Rivera is “sleeping with Bieniemy” and he knows it.

That's the only explanation for Rivera's strange decision to speak publicly about Washington players approaching him regarding Bieniemy's “intense” coaching style.

“I have to assimilate and feel everyone,” Rivera elaborated. “Eric has an approach, it's his way and he believes in it so it won't change. [Defensive coordinator] Jack Del Rio has his approach. I think Jack, who's been a head coach, tends to try to understand his players a little bit more, instead of saying, “Oh, this is it, this is what's going to happen.'' Eric hasn't had that experience yet. ”

Let's translate. Rivera claims Bieniemy is not on the same page as the rest of the experienced coaching staff. This issue should have been addressed privately. And that's probably what happened. Perhaps Rivera and Del Rio are privately signaling Bieniemy to tone it down.

Based on Bieniemy's history in Kansas City, Andy Reid has had to referee multiple conflicts between offensive coordinators and players. It was much easier for Reid to micromanage Bieniemy because he envisioned and controlled the offense. Rivera, a former NFL linebacker, is a defensive-minded head coach. Bieniemy has a level of autonomy in Washington that he didn't have in KC.

Rivera's comments certainly threw Bieniemy under the bus. Rivera addressed a mistake he made earlier this week. He reflected on his own observations in a prepared statement.

Sports industry figures criticized Rivera for mishandling selected players.

But was he?

We'll probably never know because the conversation surrounding Bieniemy remains surface level across corporate media.

Here's what shouldn't be discussed: Can your average NFL coach succeed using a tough-on-your-face style in a league dominated by black players who grew up in a matriarchal culture? Is it even harder for black coaches?

Is it possible that Eric Bieniemy doesn't know he got away with an old-school coaching approach in Kansas City because Andy Reid was the ultimate offensive guru?

Perhaps Rivera is trying to warn Bieniemy that it won't work in Washington because Bieniemy is an offensive authority figure.

75% of black children are raised in single-parent households. Black culture is dominated by women. They are the authority figures in the black household. Black men have a hard time dealing with tough leadership, especially from men who remind them of absent fathers.

The culture that young black athletes celebrate makes it difficult for them to accept “strong” male leadership.

For the most part, with the exception of Bill Belichick and Nick Sabans, modern coaches coddle players and let position coaches impose order. Bieniemy is not Washington's position coach. At KC, he was officially the offensive coordinator, but not really.

Bieniemy likely picked up some bad habits while pretending to be KC's play caller. I think Rivera will see this and have a hard time adapting Bieniemy. Why would Bieniemy adjust? He believes the Chiefs were able to win two Super Bowls because they yelled at Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce.

“I'm always going to be loud, always vocal, always demanding of our leaders,” Bieniemy told reporters, echoing the kind of comments Mike Singletary would make during his short tenure as 49ers head coach. did.

“I want our players to clearly understand that we are not taking anything for granted. When we watch, we're always on the same page. Eric Bieniemy is who he is. Eric Bieniemy knows how to adapt and adjust. Eric Bieniemy is a tough, demanding coach, but I know that not only will I be their best and harshest critic, but I will also be their biggest fan.”

This kind of third-person rhetoric would be ridiculed if corporations and social media hadn't anointed Bieniemy as the chosen one.

For now, Bieniemy can do no wrong. He can fart in the face of any Washington player, and Ryan Clark, Deanna Russini, Damian Woody, and Stephen A. He claimed to have won MVP twice.

Ron Rivera made a glaring mistake in expressing his sincere thoughts about Bieniemy's coaching style. But that mistake does not rule out the possibility that Bieniemy's approach is also wrong.

It would be nice to have a legitimate conversation about the challenges Rivera, Bieniemy and their managers face as Washington's ownership looks to replace a respected Hispanic coach with a black golden child.



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