On Monday’s broadcast of “SportsNation” on ESPN2, co-host and former NFL player Marcellus Wiley played the race card after showing a clip of Notre Dame football head coach Brian Kelly jumping in front of and pushing an assistant coach while he was shouting at a referee during the team’s matchup with the Temple Owls Saturday night.
After the game, Kelly said he intervened because he did not want the spat between the assistant and referee to result in a 15-yard penalty, so he had to control the sideline.
Wiley saw the incident between the two coaches differently, noting that the assistant coach who was shoved is black, therefore Kelly is showing his black players that he does not see his assistant as his equal.
“Let me tell you how that plays out in the locker room. This is racial. Now, let me go here- you know I don’t like to play the race card,” he began. “When you see a black coach undermined on the sidelines, when he’s a coach with authority over those players, they’re going to say, ‘Hmm. there are very few images and likenesses of a black player with the position of authority on the coaching staff. very few.’ And when you see one treated like that, your imagination starts to take over and say, ‘Brian Kelly, we tried to respect all of you guys on a level playing field, despite the fact that most of us on the field are black, but then most of you on the sidelines are white.’ But when you undermine one of the few figures that we can actually see a likeness, now that speaks volumes to those players towards a negative play.”
“If you’re going to show us that there’s a divide between what you think of us or what you think of a black coach, because I guarantee you, if he thought that coach was of his equal, he would not go out there with the one-arm chokehold,” he continued.