Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Did former New Orleans Hornets coach Byron Scott get fired because of race?

Byron Scott has been fired as head coach of the New Orleans Hornets. Yeah, I’m shaking my head too.

One of the first things that popped into my mind was who was going to replace Scott. Enter New Orleans Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower.

You know who he is right? Bower use to be the head coach at.

Oops, sorry.

Bower has never been a head coach in the NBA. Is Bower really the right man for the job?


This move makes absolutely no sense. The Hornets fire a man who has rings on his fingers as a player and two NBA Finals appearances with the New Jersey Nets as a coach. Scott gets canned at the beginning of the season for a guy who has never coached?

Scott was Coach-of-the-Year during the 2007-2008 campaign. He nearly took the Hornets to the Western Conference Finals. Last year the Hornets lost to Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs.

It’s hard to understand why the team decided to part ways after a 3-6 start. The season just got under way. Why make a change so early?

Here it is from the horses mouth Bower himself: “As we look at our long-term coaching plans, it’s not about who the head coach is, it’s about the role of the head coach to get the team to perform to their capabilities and reaching our potential this season.”

What can someone like Bower, who has never been a head coach in the NBA, going to do that Scott hasn’t done as a player and a coach?

Typically when franchises make a change usually one strives to get someone equal to or better than the guy you’re letting go. How can anyone logically argue Bower gives this team the best chance to win over Scott?

Bottom line: it’s Bowers’ fault the team has started slowly not Scott. Scott didn’t decide to trade versatile Tyson Chandler in favor of Emeka Okafor. Scott isn’t the reason why an aging Pedja Stojakavic is a shell of himself. It was Bower who made these moves. In essence, Bower gets rid of Scott as a way off covering up for his mistakes.

Does this firing have racial undertones?

It seems African American coaches often get a shorter leash than their white counterparts. Scotts’ firing reminds me of Avery Johnson. Johnson took over for Don Nelson full-time back in 2004-2005 campaign as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks. In 3 ½ years Johnson compiled a career record of 194-70 which equates to a winning percentage of .735. After a 51-31 record he gets run out of town.

In the 2006-2007 campaign Johnson led the Mavericks to a 67-15 record.

After firing Johnson the Mavericks turned to Rick Carlisle. His career record is 331-243 which equates to a .577 winning percentage. Carlisle went 50-32 last season.

Statistics tell the story and facts don’t lie.

Numbers indicate Carlisle isn’t doing a better job than the guy he replaced. Facts indicate there was something shady regarding the firings of Johnson and Scott.

Cut the cards as you wish, but race played a factor in why Scott was fired and why Johnson can’t get rehired.

To add insult to injury the Hornets also hired the much traveled and troubled Tim Floyd. Floyd coached the Hornets to a 41-41 record back in 2003. That’s not setting the world on fire yet, he seems to be primed for another return as the head man.

Both Bower and Floyd together don’t make half the coach Scott is.

Hornets owner George Shinn needs to get a clue. Owners like Shinn are the preeminent example of what’s wrong with sports. There are too many owners who know little about the intricacies of sports. They are businessmen who treat their teams as toys rather than really trying to run them.

Such lunacy results in making boneheaded decisions like letting a former championship player and bona fide coach like Byron Scott walk free.

I guess it’s not about the right man for the job. It’s about having the white man for the job.

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