ALLEN PARK — A Michigan sports editor, who is not in regular attendance at the Lions, has written a scathing column criticizing the fans and local media for being racist in their treatment of Lions coach Jim Caldwell.
Caldwell, who is wrapping up his fourth season with the Lions, is the franchise’s winningest coach. He owns a 35-28 record in the regular season and has brought the team to the playoffs in two of his four seasons.
Yet, he is on the hot seat and could be fired next week because the Lions (8-7) failed to reach the playoffs this season. He is not alone, several NFL coaches face the possibility of losing their jobs next week. The NFL is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league. Coaches understand this when they are hired.
Caldwell was asked this morning if he felt race was an issue in his dealings with the media who are in attendance on a daily basis.
His answer: “No.”
In fact, he reminded the media that he does not read our coverage.
When pressed on the issue, Caldwell said: “I’m not saying anything, I’m just answering his question. Why do I have to go into any more detail? It’s end of the story. (Fans) can read it and come to their own conclusion, it doesn’t have anything to do with how I respond.
“He asked me a question and I said, ‘No.’ That’s the way I feel. You’ve never heard me blame anything, at any point in time or have any excuses about anything we’ve ever done and I never will. I’ve been around a long time, my father wouldn’t allow me to do it when I was a kid and there’s no difference today.’’
Coaches are hired to be fired and Caldwell understands this. The color of a coach’s skin has absolutely nothing to do with the issue. Ask any member of the media who is in regular attendance at Caldwell’s press conferences. That includes me. We have gotten to know him in four years. Race has never been an issue with Caldwell or with how he is treated.
He understands if the team doesn’t perform, his job is on the line.
“It’s part of our business, it’s the way it goes,’’ Caldwell said.