New England Patriots Coach Jerod Mayo Makes Bold Statement On Race; Wins Praise From Black Twitter

The newly hired coach showed that he is well aware of the history of race in the NFL at his introductory press conference.

Before coaching in his first game, New England Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo has already shown that he will not be a Bill Belichick clone.

According to Sports Illustrated, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said that Mayo was the best candidate for the position of head coach and that he didn’t see color during Mayo’s introductory press conference on Wednesday (Jan.17).

"I'm really color blind," Kraft said. "I want to get the best people I can get. I chose the best head coach for this organization. He happens to be a man of color. But I chose him because I believe he's best to do the job."

When it was Mayo’s turn to speak, he made a powerful statement about how being the first Black coach of one of the NFL’s cornerstone franchises is a significant moment in the history of the league.

"You better believe being the first Black head coach here in New England means a lot to me," Mayo explained. "I do see color because I believe if you don't see color you can't see racism.”

"Whatever happens, Black, White, disabled person - even someone with disabilities—for the most part, people are like—when they're young, they kind of make the spot hot. Younger people know what that means,” Mayo continued. “But what I would say is, no, I want you to be able to go up to those people and really understand those people. It goes back to whatever it is, Black, White, yellow it really doesn't matter, but it does matter so we can try to fix the problem that we all know we have."

Patriots Name Jerod Mayo As New Head Coach, Replacing Bill Belichick

After his remarks, Mayo received a groundswell of support from one of the greatest allies a sports figure could have: Black Twitter. Several users showed love to the Patriots' new coach for his comments on race.

“Jerod Mayo is the 1st Black Head Coach of the @Patriots and he doesn’t shy away from it or any issues about race in our country,” said former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III in a post.

"He isn’t scared to say it with his chest, "Griffin continued. "He is STANDING ON BUSINESS."

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and racial justice expert Nikole Hannah-Jones also chimed in with a tweet to show her appreciation for Mayo’s perspective.

“He put this as succinctly—and irrefutably—as one can put it. Shouldn’t be courageous to say it when becoming the first Black anything in an organization, and yet it is courageous. Colorblindness is nothing but willful blindness,” Jones wrote.

Former ESPN journalist Jemele Hill shared how impressed she was with Mayo’s remarks at the press conference.

“I give Bob Kraft a lot of credit for making this hire because Black coaches with Mayo’s experience typically don’t get these kinds of opportunities,” Hill wrote. “I give Mayo credit for saying this because a lot of Black coaches in his position, wouldn’t. What he said is not controversial. It’s obvious.”

Political commentator Keith Boykin lauded Mayo for using his new platform to speak the truth about how race plays in sports and society.

“Jerod Mayo is right about this because we all see color. Anyone who claims they don’t see color is a liar,” Boykin said. ”White people based our entire society on white color privilege for centuries and then demanded everyone close their eyes and pretend to be colorblind.”

After joining the Patriots coaching staff as the inside linebackers coach in 2019, Mayo was eventually named the Patriots’ “de-facto” defensive coordinator with play-calling duties, a rarity for any member of Belichick’s coaching staff.

Mayo was promoted to head coach on Friday (Jan.12) when the Patriots and Belichick mutually decided to part ways after 24 years.

Following the 2023 season, where the Patriots went 4-13, Mayo is looking to put New England back in playoff contention in his first year as head coach.

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