#BlackGirlMagic in Sports as the Washington Redskins are Set to Make NFL History With First Black Woman on Coaching Staff

Illustration for article titled #BlackGirlMagic in Sports as the Washington Redskins are Set to Make NFL History With First Black Woman on Coaching Staff
Photo: Chuck Burton (AP Images )

I must say, I’m at least slightly conflicted about this one.

On one hand the Washington Redskins still have yet to change their name despite the terms’ sordid history and that studies have shown that more than half of Native Americans find it offensive.


On the other hand, I just absolutely love seeing black women break barriers and be put in positions of authority.

According to Redskins Wire-USA Today, The Washington Redskins may be making NFL history by hiring Jennifer King to the teams coaching staff. King, who worked as a coaching intern under Ron Rivera in 2017 with the Carolina Panthers, would be the first full-time black coach in the league, and the fourth woman overall.

For a little more history on King: she played softball and basketball at Guilford College in North Carolina as well as the Women’s Football Alliance where she won a national championship with the New York Sharks. As a basketball coach, she led Johnson & Wales to a U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association national championship in 2018, according to Washington Post. She said on the Carolina Panthers’ website that during that year’s Pro Bowl she met Rivera at a forum meant for women to establish those types of connections with the league. He invited her to speak to the team and eventually invited her to be a coaching intern.

It’s unclear exactly what position King would coach for the Redskins, but Redskin Wire speculates that she will likely assume the role of an offensive assistant under Scott Turner’s lead.

According to The Athletic‘s Rhiannon Walker, what is known is that two sources have said that King will be joining the Redskins coaching staff this year.

King’s first chance to coach at the NFL level came during the 2017 Pro Bowl, when Rivera, the Carolina Panthers coach, met her and brought her on as a coaching intern from rookie minicamp in May to preseason games in August.

Hines Ward, head of football development for in the Alliance of American Football, brought her to the Arizona Hotshots as the assistant wide receivers coach. She was the third female coach in the league and the only one on the offense.


So, provided that the sourced information is accurate, it appears that it’s a good week for black women in male dominated sports arenas. In fact this news comes during the same week that the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) announced that they’re welcoming Aja Smith as the league’s first full-time African American female referee, according to CNN.

“That is the greatest moment of my life,” Smith said through tears after Canyon Ceman, senior director of talent development, told her she was officially hired. “Having this platform as a female, as a female of color, is really an honor and I’m so thankful to be given this moment.”


“Your love and support over the years has gotten me to this moment. This is bigger than me. To follow a dream. TO MAKE HISTORY. And I’m just getting started. We can do it all and I’m honored to be lighting the way. Let’s change the world! #BlackGirlMagic,” she tweeted.


#BlackGirlMagic indeed. The sports world just got a little bit more soul this week. I just love to see it. I’ll even let the Redskins’ problematicness slide... for now.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons



It’s unclear exactly what position King would coach for the Redskins

The Token?