NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport Plays Race Card After Indianapolis Colts Hire Jeff Saturday As Interim Head Coach

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport decided to play the race card after the Indianapolis Colts hired Jeff Saturday as their interim head coach.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport decided to play the race card after the Indianapolis Colts hired Jeff Saturday as their interim head coach.

Jeff Saturday via Indianapolis Colts Twitter

The Colts announced on Monday that Jeff Saturday would be the team’s interim head coach after they fired Frank Reich from the job.

In a news release the organization stated, “Saturday, a six-time Pro Bowl and two-time first-team AP All-Pro center, played 13 seasons for the Colts from 1999-2011 and spent 2012 with the Green Bay Packers. He has consulted for the Colts over the last few years, and visited Colts training camp in 2022. He began serving as an analyst for ESPN in 2013.”

Indianapolis Colts Twitter

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During a press conference, Colts owner Jim Irsay explained why they chose to hire Saturday, “He’s the best man for the job. There’s no question about it in my mind.”

“I’ve been around it a long time. The last coach I hired as an interim head coach was Bruce Arians. It was the right coach. He was the best guy. That’s why. There’s no other mystery behind that,” he explained.

Irsay went on to detail Saturday’s qualifications, “I can talk about [Saturday]. First of all, he’s extremely tough and he’s a leader. When you’re looking for head coaches, leadership’s the No. 1 thing. That’s the No. 1 thing. That also has a toughness level there. Highly intelligent. That’s very important. You have to be a great thinker, you have to be able to work with people, you have to be open-minded, you have to create a culture where people trust you. You have to know the game, you have to have experience, you have to be able to draw upon experience in your life to come forward and do what a head coach does in this league. It’s very difficult.”

He added, “There are lots of coordinators that aren’t good head coaches. Certain people just have it. They have it. You see it when you know it. It’s brought with a lot of things that bring that to the table but let’s be very clear, this thing was driven by what Chris and I see in his excellence and his readiness and who he is.”

Jim Irsay via Indianapolis Colts Twitter

Saturday also believes he’s the right man for the job saying, “I feel fully capable. I’m excited about the opportunity – eight games. Here’s the great part about my career, I came in and nobody expected anything. I’m here and no one expects anything. If it goes well, hopefully it will go extremely well.”

“But I have no preconceived notion that I’m going to be some spectacular anything,” he stated. “I know I’ve got to work hard. I’m auditioning not only for this one, but for 31 others just like everybody else in this game. Make no mistake, the job is win and I know that’s what I’m here to do. How can I arm the guys in that locker room and how can I arm those coaches to be the best they can be?”

“Again, I believe in them. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t, and that was made clear to both Jim and Chris. If I didn’t believe in the guys in the room, if I didn’t believe in the guys in that locker room, I wouldn’t show,” Saturday added.

Jeff Saturday via Indianapolis Colts Twitter

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Reacting to the news Rapoport stated, “Imagine being a very qualified minority candidate and seeing Jeff Saturday hired as interim coach with literally no experience except being a high school coach in Georgia. I mean it’s mind boggling and if there’s frustration around the league from really qualified assistants, coordinators, especially those who are minorities. With this certainly all of this is understandable.”

He added, “No doubt we’re going to be hearing more about that as we should over the next couple of weeks regardless of what happens with the Colts hiring Jeff Saturday as the interim coach.”

Rapoport wasn’t the only to play the race card. The Atlantic’s Jemele Hill also got in on the act. She tweeted, “I like Jeff Saturday and enjoyed working with him at ESPN. This is not a critique of him, but rather a NFL system that constantly moves the goalposts for white coaches, but holds Black coaches to tighter standards. A Black coach likely would never be in Jeff’s position.”

Jemele Hill Twitter

One user responded to Hill writing, “Don’t pull something stretching here, Jemele. It’s clear what the Colts are doing and Irsay is doing a favor to everyone he DIDN’T hire. Saturday is going to be gone in 2 months. Would you truly have had a favorable opinion if a black coach got that ‘opportunity’ in Indy?”

She replied, “But it’s still head coaching experience in the NFL. It’s still an opportunity to get a look at how you do things. That’s invaluable experience.”

Jemele Hill Twitter

YouTuber Rhodes Rants of Black & White Sports reacted to Rapoport’s comments saying, “I mean seriously? We’re pulling the race card at record speed and Ian Rapoport is the one doing it. Wow. Okay. I thought the NFL Network was owned by the NFL last I checked.”

What do you make of Rapoport immediately trying to play the race card over the Colts hiring Jeff Saturday?

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