Tom Herman is a 44-year-old white man from Ohio, but as the head football coach at Texas he has a unique perspective on race. Every Saturday his team full of black athletes is lauded by crowds in Austin, but are forced to return to the real world after the final whistle is blown. On Monday, Herman gave a powerful statement to the Austin American-Statesman about race relations in America, specifically how it relates to his football players.
The key section of what he said follows:
"Can the average fan relate? No, they can't. There's a double standard maybe a little bit. We're going to pack 100,000 people into DKR and millions watch on TV that are predominantly white -- not all of them certainly, but most of 'em white. We're gonna cheer when they score touchdowns, and we're gonna hug our buddy when they get sacks or an interception.
"But we gonna let them date our daughter? Are we going to hire them in a position of power in our company? That's the question I have for America. You can't have it both ways.
"And if you're going to cheery for them and love them for three-and-a-half hours a Saturday in the fall, you better have the same feelings for them off the field, because they're human beings. They deserve the same amount of respect and human rights that all of us do in this country when we agreed on the social contract to be a member of the United States."
Wow, I did not expect that from Herman. He's a very smart, progressive football coach, but that was as good a statement as I've heard from a coach since the unrest in this country began after the death of George Floyd. And, to be honest, Herman has been known to be a bit of a jackass from time to time. But his powerful words have shifted my opinion of him a bit. He's right on the mark.