Posted on January 18, 2024

Patriots 1st Black Coach Jerod Mayo Reveals View on Racism

Richie Whitt, Sports Illustrated, January 17, 2024

It took the team hitting rock bottom via the worst season in 30 years and a legend mutually agreeing to leave, but for the first time in their storied 64-year history the New England Patriots have a Black head coach.

With the introduction of Jerod Mayo – who replaces six-time Super Bowl winner Bill Belichick – the Patriots finally broke the color barrier. Mayo becomes the NFL’s youngest head coach at age 37, and its fourth Black coach along with Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers), Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and DeMeco Ryans (Houston Texans). The Miami Dolphins’ Mike McDaniel has a Black father and identifies as multiracial.

Though Patriots owner Robert Kraft downplayed Mayo’s skin color at Wednesday’s press conference at Gillette Stadium, the new head coach tackled the topic of race with full force.

“I’m really color blind,” said Kraft. “{snip} I chose the best head coach for this organization. He happens to be a man of color. {snip}”

In a league where roughly 60 percent of the players are Black, the hiring of Mayo leaves 12 teams – including the Super Bowl-favorite Baltimore Ravens and uber-popular Dallas Cowboys – that have never hired a Black coach.

“You better believe being the first black head coach here in New England means a lot to me,” Mayo said. “I do see color, because I believe if you don’t see color you can’t see racism.