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The Quick Hook For African-American Coaches Continues

The first coaching casualty of the 2018 NBA season comes after just three games.The Phoenix Suns announced they fired head coach Earl Watson on Sunday following an 0-3 start to the 2017-18 season.

Watson, a 38-year-old promising coaching talent was just starting his third season as the Suns’ head coach. When he took over the squad in 2016, he finished with a 9-24  record in the last 33 games of the season. Last season wasn’t much better. With a nucleus of young, inexperienced players and lacking the talent to compete with the loaded Western Conference squads, Watson posted a 2458 record.

The quick hook for African-American coaches in pro sports continues. Dusty Baker was recently fired as the Washington Nationals manager after winning the NL East division title and Watsons abrupt firing is in fact, according to CBSSports.com, the second fastest in-season coaching fire in NBA history (in 1971, the Buffalo Braves fired Dolph Schayes after just one game at the helm). Watson is also the first NBA coach fired in over a year as everyone survived the cut this offseason. We’ve been pointing out the double standard for years

kris hill on Twitter

@NBA why coaches get fired so quick first Mike Brown then Avery Johnson…not to mention they are African American

The social media world is hip to the game as well and it’s frustrating to brothers who watch and play the game. 

ZODIAC on Twitter

@SportsCenter you fire all the African American coaches when they don’t know what they doing real quick U don’t know what you doing U fired

With Watson’s recent firing the NBA now has just six African-American coaches out of 30 teams. The diversity numbers at the coaching position are still quite disproportionate for people of color, despite Richard Lapchick calling the NBA “the industry leader among mens sports for racial and gender hiring practices” in his 2016-17 Racial and Gender Report Card.

The fact that Watson was fired is not a big deal. The fact that he was replaced by a white coach with a bogus track record is a bit typical and irritating. But we know that no coach, not even John Wooden, will win many games coaching this version of the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference. When teams get squashed (“The Suns, who finished last season a Western Conference-worst 24-58, surrendered an average of 128.7 points per game over their first three games and ranked dead last in net rating (-26.2) through Saturday,” according to NBA.com’s stats database.) somebody has to get the blame and usually its the coach. 

Associate head coach Jay Triano will be the interim coach. In the meantime, the mystery remains as to whether point guard Eric Bledsoes tweet that was made an hour before Watson was fired, influenced the coachs termination or was it just a social cry of frustration and  dissatisfaction with the coach being fired or the team being so miserable. 

Eric Bledsoe on Twitter

I Dont wanna be here

Weak ass move by Bledsoe in any event and a sign of the times that we live in where NBA players have cat fights with fans, cry like 18-year-old college freshman when things get tough, create dummy twitter accounts to defend themselves against Twitter assaults from irrelevant groupies and try to force trades through social media. Bledsoe spoke with the team this morning before practice and he won’t play tonight against Sacramento as the team apparently tries to accommodate hiis Twitter request. 

Chris Haynes on Twitter

ESPN Sources: Eric Bledsoe met with team this morning before shootaround and he was sent home. He will not play tonight against Sacramento.

DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers took Bledsoes bait and told the disgruntled guard to return to the LA Clippers as if he could just jump in a time machine and show up in LAs backcourt. 

DeAndre Jordan on Twitter

Come back home bro

Maybe the two collaborated on a strategy to get Bledsoe up outta Phoenix. Maybe this is Bledsoe laying the groundwork for an exit. Nobody likes playing on a losing team and the players never want to feel responsible for getting a coach fired, especially if its one they like. I dont know the extent of Bledsoe and Watsons relationship, but if I was Bledsoe I wouldnt be thrilled with Watsons replacement either.   

The 59-year-old Triano owns a lifetime record of 87-142, including two seasons (2008-09 and 2010-11) that garnered 25 or fewer wins. His track record isnt any better than Watsons, but when a franchise starts the season as bad as the Suns, then change for the sake of change seems like the best option and Watson is surely a victim of that philosophy. It doesn’t change the fact that the numbers are still off, regardless of how the NBA diversifies in non-leadership positions. You can count the number of NBA Presidents/GM’s on one hand and with this firing, there’s one less brother in a leadership position in a league that’s 80 percent black. 

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