White ESPN reporter who appeared to lecture black NFL head coach about race ‘representation’ gets bombed on Twitter, issues clarifications

The white ESPN reporter who appeared to lecture a black NFL head coach about race “representation” got bombed on Twitter after the video of the Q&A picked up steam on social media.

The reporter in question, Jenna Laine, issued clarifications Friday in the wake of intense criticism over her line of questioning toward Todd Bowles of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

What’s the background?

During a Wednesday press conference, a reporter noted to Bowles that he and Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers are “two of the few black head coaches” in the NFL and asked what his relationship is like with Tomlin. The Bucs and Steelers are scheduled to face off Sunday. The reporter also asked Bowles for his thoughts on Steve Wilks, who also is black, becoming interim head coach of the Carolina Panthers.

“I have a very good relationship with Tomlin,” Bowles replied. “We don’t look at what color we are when we coach against each other. We just know each other. I have a lot of very good white friends that coach in this league as well. And I don’t think it’s a big deal … it’s normal.”

He added that Wilks has an opportunity to “do a good job” and that, for the three of them, “we coach ball; we don’t look at color.”

With that, Laine chimed in: “But you also understand that representation matters too, right? And that when young, aspiring coaches — and even football players – they see you guys, you know, they see someone that looks like them, maybe grew up like them, that has to mean something.”

Bowles wasn’t taking the bait: “Well, when you say … ‘you guys’ and ‘look like them’ and ‘grew up like them’ means that we’re oddballs to begin with, and I think the minute you guys stop making a big deal about it, everybody else will as well.”

Bucs Coach Calls Out Press For Dumb Race Question


What happened next?

A number of Twitter users came down hard on Laine. Here’s a smattering of the nearly 600 comments as of Friday below her post about the press conference:

Laine issues clarifications

Laine didn’t let the negative reactions go unchallenged. On Friday she issued clarifications below her main post:

\u201cLet me clarify something…I wasn\u2019t telling Todd Bowles how he should think or feel about racial representation. I was seeking clarity because his response to the initial question from another reporter Wednesday differed quite a bit from this response March 31 when he was hired.\u201d

— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN)

She kept going:

\u201cI also would never try to insinuate with my questioning that every Black head coach or Black person grows up the same. Three different coaches with three different life experiences. My intent was \u2014 in a group of people, a person can look to one and perhaps identify.\u201d

— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN)

Twitter commenters weren’t kind:

This content was originally published here.

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