Geno Smith is the anti-Russell Wilson at least in one huge way: While Wilson was and is the master at robotic, uninteresting answers, Smith tells you exactly what he is thinking. In a recent conversation with ESPN's Carolina Panthers reporter David Newton, the Seattle Seahawks quarterback spoke about minority hiring in the NFL. The reporter then tweeted out what he gathered Smith had said and Smith felt moved to "clarify" his thoughts.
The issue stemmed from the reporter speaking to Smith about the Panthers hiring Dave Canales as head coach. Canales is Mexican American and, therefore, a minority. Dave Canales worked with the Seahawks from 2010 through 2022 and worked with Geno Smith from 2019 through 2022. Canales was Smith's quarterback coach or pass game coordinator between those seasons.
Newton tweeted on Friday that when he asked Smith about NFL minority hiring, Smith said, "I don't find it encouraging at all. It's 2024. Why are we still talking about minorities?"
Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith felt the need to clarify his words
Those comments, of course, can be taken in lots of different ways. One might interpret Smith as saying there are no issues with how the NFL goes about hiring minority coaches even though 57.5 percent of players identify as people of color while only nine of 32 head coaches identify in the same way. Plus, before this offseason, only five head coaches were persons of color.
But Smith was indeed not saying there was no problem with how the NFL has historically hired head coaches. Instead, Smith was implying that it is a shame that the issue of hiring minority head coaches even still exists. A coach should be hired because of his resumed ability to do a good job no matter what color he is.
After David Newton's tweet, Geno Smith responded as Newton's words were not overly clear. Smith said, "To clarify - I’m not moved or encouraged by a few more minorities having jobs that they are more than qualified for...true equality means that the conversation is no longer being had, based on the fact that we are all being given equal opportunity (which we are not)."
Of course, Smith is exactly correct. Having a conversation after the NFL minority hiring of head coaches feels defeating because there should be no need for such talk. There was clear racism involved in the NFL's hiring practices for decades. Thankfully, that slowly seems to be ending as the current number of nine minority head coaches is a record.