Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly decided to trade cornerback Brandon Boykin on Saturday for a conditional 2016 fifth-round draft pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The move was met with apparent frustration on Boykin’s part. The new Steeler told Derek Gunn of Comcast Sportsnet in Philadelphia that Kelly was “uncomfortable around grown men of our culture.”
Boykin, an African-American player, appeared to be alluding to Kelly’s tendency to jettison high-profile African-American players on the Eagles.
Soon after his comments about Kelly, Boykin made sure to clarify those comments on Sunday.
“When you’re a player, you want to be able to relate to your coach off the field,” Boykin told reporters at St. Vincent College, site of Steelers training camp. “There were times he just didn’t talk to people. You would walk down the hallway, he wouldn’t say anything to you. I’m not saying he’s a racist in any way.”
I’m not sure how important it is to relate to your coach off the field. At the day’s end, a coach must do his job. His ability to get along with players off-the-field isn’t a necessary part of the job.
Are Jamie Collins and Rob Gronkowski talking to Bill Belichick about the latest dance hits?
How about conversations between Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger about Amy Schumer’s comedic talents?
If Boykin really means what he says about having a good relationship with his head coach off the field, that might be a bit delusional.
The perceived context of the comment highly suggests Kelly struggles connecting with African-American players.
Since Kelly took over as head coach in 2013, the team traded DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, and let free agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin leave via free agency to Kansas City.
The greatest crime those players committed had nothing to with race; instead, it stems from being associated with the dying days of the Andy Reid era.
Keep doin’ you, Chip.