In a recent game, it appears that Chip Kelly racism has moved the Philadelphia Eagles closer to the winning Super Bowl 50. Racism, because it favors color over talent, is bad for business (Steven Pinker). Racism is bad for the NFL and its loyal fans. Chip Kelly racism is bad for the NFL which includes specific leadership principles for successful implementation.

What are some of the leadership principles associated with Chip Kelly racism?

The first principle that will fuel Chip Kelly racism is associated with the Philadelphia Eagles Football organization exhibiting characteristics associated with a bureaucracy. The characteristics associated with a bureaucracy include:

  1. Fixed rules and regulations governed by administrative regulations (i.e. organizational standard operation procedures)
  2. Supervision of lower positions by higher positions (i.e. chain of command)
  3. Management of personnel enforced by written documentation (i.e. player and coach contracts)
  4. Management of personnel involves complete and expert training (i.e. training camp)
  5. Success is contingent on the full working capacity of the official in charge (i.e. college success for coaches and players)
  6. Management required to follow certain rules and regulations (i.e. NFL Players Union)

The problem with a bureaucracy is that it can confine the creativity of the leader. Successful NFL teams require higher levels of creativity. When these levels of creativity are not met then the leaders will resort to characteristics associated with a dysfunctional organization. Characteristics associated with a dysfunctional organization can continue to fuel Chip Kelly racism.

Dysfunctional organizations exhibit several characteristics that are detrimental to its existence. The foundation for the dysfunctional organization begins with each person’s use of defense mechanisms for coping. Defense mechanisms are the unwritten rules an individual learns and utilizes to effectively deal with circumstances that are upsetting, embarrassing, or threatening.

The second level is skilled incompetence, which is the outcome of the defense mechanisms we have internalized. When the defensive behaviors we’ve learned are transformed into a learned behavior, that behavior becomes a skill – albeit an incompetent skill – that we consider necessary in order to deal with issues that are embarrassing, threatening, or upsetting. A skill that is learned from the regular application of a defense mechanism has a high degree of incompetence embedded within it, because we are unaware of how this skill will impact our future.

Skilled incompetence transforms into a defensive routine. Defensive routines are the third level. When the skilled incompetence is automatically exhibited at all times, the behavior is now a defensive routine.

Defensive routines lead to fancy footwork. Fancy footwork is the fourth level. Fancy footwork happens when individuals try to deny the behavioral inconsistencies they exhibit, or else they place blame on other people, which results in distancing themselves from taking responsibility for their behavioral inconsistencies.

Fancy footwork leads to organizational malaise. Organizational malaise is the final level. During this phase the individuals in the organization will seek to find fault within the organization rather than accept responsibility for their actions and correct their behavior accordingly. The individual continues the process by accentuating the negative and deemphasizing the positive in an effort to cover up their actions. The organizational malaise is further exacerbated by a refusal of one or all the members to discuss their area of responsibility.

What leadership principles should the Philadelphia Eagles utilize to avoid the pitfalls associated with Chip Kelly racism?

The major hurdle that the Philadelphia Eagles will have to overcome is not allowing coaches and players to utilize their defensive mechanisms. Defense mechanisms are the unwritten rules an individual learns and utilizes to effectively deal with circumstances that are upsetting, embarrassing, or threatening. Chip Kelly and his predominately White staff should ensure that they do not say things that will either upset, embarrass, or threaten any of the players. Overcoming the Chip Kelly racism allegations includes utilizing a process that involves developing team goals based on a team developed shared vision that improve racial relationships.

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LeSean McCoy stands by Chip Kelly racism accusation, then calls him a ‘genius’  

Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D. PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012

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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology

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