The Philadelphia Eagles are the new champions of the National Football League. Many stories will surface as contributing factors to their success. The one story that many will overlook is how the Philadelphia Eagles propelled their chances to win the Super Bowl by eliminating the perception of racism. 

The NFL has had a long history of the perception of racism. Everyone knows how Jackie Robinson broke the racial barriers in baseball but little is known about how the racial barriers where broken in the National Football League. In 1946, it was Woody Strode and Kenny Washington who managed to break the NFL’s racial barrier. 

Strode and Washington, got their chance to play in the NFL when the Cleveland Rams moved to the West Coast in 1946 and the commissioners who ran the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum wrote a provision into the club’s lease requiring the team to be integrated.

The Philadelphia Eagles also had challenges with the perception of racism for which they overcame. This perception began with Riley Copper.  In July, 2013, at a Kenny Chesney concert, Philadelphia Eagle wing right Riley Cooper was caught on camera vowing to “fight every [n-word]” at the conference. The Eagles subsequently fined Cooper and excused him from all team activities for a short period of time. Then the Eagles responded to Cooper by extending his contract. The Eagles provided the player with a $25 million contract over five years. His contract is guaranteed for at least $8 million.

The perception of racism continued as several former Philadelphia Eagle players and a former staff member believed that the past player trades by Chip Kelly were an indication of the perception of racism. Former Philadelphia Eagles Brandon Boykin, Lesean Jackson, DeSean Jackson, and Tra Thomas appeared to have been victimized by the alleged Chip Kelly racial attacks.

Tra Thomas stated, “One of the things that you’re seeing right now, and these are the things that you have heard from the locker room from different players is that … they feel like there is a hint of racism. I personally … when you put that tag on someone, you gotta be careful with that, but there are some of the players that kind feel like that’s what it is. Especially when there was a report that came out last year that the Eagles were one of the whitest teams in the NFL. So you start to see the culture of the team change extremely quickly, when Coach Kelly takes over.” Thomas went on to say, “Yeah you have seven assistant black coaches but only one black coach is over the segment. The other guys are assistants to the assistant coaches. Duce Staley is the only guy that’s head over his segment who is gonna be in charge of his group. The other guys are just assistants to an assistant coach.”

During the Chip Kelly era, Philadelphia Eagles management were blind to their actions. According to Alveda King, “racism oppresses its victims, but also binds the oppressors, who sear their consciences with more and more lies until they become prisoners of those lies. They cannot face the truth of human equality because it reveals the horror of the injustices they commit.” Philadelphia Eagles transformed their football team by eliminating the perception of racism. They were able to ensure that positive relationships dominated the organization. This the same prescription that schools must take.

Positive relationships at schools and in the classroom are in many ways the prerequisites for effective learning and behavior. Students and teachers who are warm, compassionate, and friendly toward one another in the classroom have the potential to improve instruction and learning. The Philadelphia Eagles used positive relationships as the vehicle to eliminate the perception of racism which propelled them to win the Super Bowl.

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All the best,

Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

Author of:

  • Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships
  • Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
  • The Raccelerate Formula App
  • Treasures of Hidden Racism in Education
  • The Ultimate Guide to Classroom Racism Management


cultural diversity consultant cultural diversity consultant classroom management cultural diversity consultant cultural diversity consultant classroom management cultural diversity consultant cultural diversity consultant cultural diversity consultant racism in schools

“Dr. Campbell did his part and now all we have to do is run with it.”
 ~ Tom Coleman ~
Woodstown-Pilesgrove Public Schools Superintendent of Schools

“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.

~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor

“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”

~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President

cultural diversity consultant

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