During one eventful weekend in Cleveland sports lore, both the basketball Cavaliers and the football Browns severed ties with African American coaches, marking arguably the first time in the history of sports that a city observed professional head coaches being fired just days apart.
The Cavaliers decision to part ways with Tyronn Lue on Oct. 28th was without question the most shocking of the two, after just six games into the season for a team that began its new era with out the great LeBron James who left for Los Angeles following last season.
Then on Monday Oct. 29th, the Browns made the decision to terminate head coach Hue Jackson after just eight games into the NFL season.
While Jackson’s firing was not a surprise, the timing of it was rather stunning considering that rarely does coaches lose their job during the season.
It was just a more than a year ago when the Browns under owner Jim Haslam was the model of diversity with a African American general manager in Sashi Brown and Jackson at the helm as head coach.
Now the Browns will mirror the dubious distinction of the majority of all the other NFL organizations without either a Black as a GM or head coach.
Jackson was one of just seven Black coaches in the NFL, and when Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome retires after this season there will not be any Blacks in that position league wide. This in a league where the players are predominantly African American, but the majority of all other positions from ownership to the public relations departments are void of Blacks.
Haslam hired Jackson when he was one of the most coveted coaches on the market more than two years ago after he was the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals.
He was considered the logical replacement to Marvin Lewis with the Bengals had Jackson remained there, but he opt to leave and was considered the top candidate of the New York Giants before coming to Cleveland.
Jackson inherited one of the worst circumstances in the league, a team stockpiled with draft choices and a depleted talent base, subsequently it was a surprise to no one that the Browns failed miserably in his first two seasons.
Technically, Jackson was in a no win situation, but shoulders the blame for the dismal performance of the team which has lost an NFL record 20 consecutive road games.
Haslam brought in general manager John Dorsey last year and this year Dorsey brought in Todd Haley as offensive coordinator, stripping Jackson of play call duties.
Jackson and Haley never were on the same page, and with the team mired in a three games losing skid after showing some promise, Haslam canned both of them.
“We greatly appreciate Hue's commitment to the Cleveland Browns organization over the last two-and-a-half years,” the Dee and Jim Haslam said in a statement.
“We understand how critical this time period is in the development of our football team, individually and collectively, and believed it was in the organization's best interest to make the move at this time, in order to maximize our opportunities the rest of this season. We certainly only wish Hue, Michelle, and his family the best moving forward.”