Mike McDaniel: I identify as a human being and my dad is Black; it’s weird that it comes up
New Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel is, according to the NFL, a minority. That matters because the NFL has specific rules about minority coaches, including that the 49ers will receive two third-round draft picks for helping to develop a minority assistant coach to the point where another team hired him to be its head coach.
But McDaniel, to many eyes, looks white. And there’s been some hand-wringing on social media about whether McDaniel is “really” a minority. For McDaniel himself, he wishes people would just identify him as human.
“It’s been very odd, to tell you the truth, this idea of ‘identifying’ as something,” McDaniel said when asked about it today. “I think people identify me as something, but I identity as a human being and my dad is Black. So whatever you want to call it, I know there’s a lot of people with a shared experience. It’s weird that it comes up because I’ve just tried to be a good person. And I think my background opens my eyes a little bit. I don’t have any real experience with racism because I think you identify me as something close to -- I don’t know. I know my mom experienced it when she married my dad. I know my dad experienced it, that’s in my family. But I guess that makes me a human being that can identify with other people’s problems.”
It’s a thorny subject and McDaniel would clearly prefer to be talking about football. But he answered the question well.