African-Americans have taken over nearly every American sport, and thanks to athletes like Cullen Jones and Shani Davis, sports that have predominantly been played by white-folk are becoming integrated. If you asked a black man in 1957 if he thought Olympic gold medals would go to fellow brothers in swimming and speedskating, you’d have been laughed right outta Harlem.
But race is still an issue in the NFL: despite two-thirds of the league consisting of black players, the league’s front offices are conspicuously white-bred. Successful coordinators like Leslie Frazier of Minnesota have been waiting patiently for their shot, and while Raheem Morris got the go-ahead in Tampa Bay this year, let’s face it — no one pays attention to the Bucs. However, there is one off-the-field aspect of the game in which African-Americans thrive: as NFL studio hosts.
In the world of sports media, James Brown and Curt Menefee are the gold standard. As the studio hosts for the NFL on CBS and FOX, respectively, these brothers are the most important voices for the most popular sport in America. And next to the idiocy of Collinsworth or the inane mumblings of Terry Bradshaw, they not only look like Rhodes Scholars, but they’re also the glue that keeps the show from degenerating into an incoherent mess in which fat white men ramble on about their unabashed love for Nutrisystem.
So on the eve of the ’09 season, let’s all be thankful that we have JB and Mr. Menefee around, and when you flip on that TV this Sunday morning, remember that despite Howie and Jimmy’s nonsense, it could be worse: Joe Buck could be your host.