What hiring Kevin Warren means for the Chicago Bears
The cultural perspective of the Chicago Bears hiring Kevin Warren
According to Wikipedia, Warren’s father, the late Dr. Morrison Warren, Sr., was named President of the 1982 Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors, the first African American to serve in this position for a major college bowl game. He also had an older brother, Morrison Warren, Jr., who played football at Stanford in the early 1960s, and was one of the first African-American student-athletes to receive a scholarship there.
When Kevin Warren was named the Big Ten commissioner, succeeding long-time commissioner Jim Delany, he became the first African American commissioner in the Big Ten and the first African American leader in Power 5 conferences.
Kevin Warren and his family have broken many color barriers in sports. Now, he is set to become the first African American president/CEO in team history.
When the Bears drafted Justin Fields, I do remember people calling into Chicago sports radio the following day with the excitement and genuine shock the Bears drafted a Black QB. It was a big deal.
Then they hired Ryan Poles as the first African American General Manager in team history a year ago, which also involved Lamar “Soup” Campbell and Tanisha Wade in an extensive search committee led by former NFL executive Bill Polian last year at this time if you remember.
Even the assistant GM Ian Cunningham, another African American executive, has already interviewed for several GM openings this week.
It is uncomfortable for some to talk about race these days given what this country has gone through over the last few years. The comments posted on some of the Bears’ blogs and websites, which I will not name, and Twitter’s reaction to his hiring ranges from “Race doesn’t matter” to “This is nothing more than status quo hire” etc., downplaying the significance of Warren’s hiring.
It’s unfortunate that people in a position of power continue to think this way and do nothing to change both the corporate and social structure while maintaining the status quo. The Bears ownership has been marred by mediocrity thanks to his own questionable hiring practice due to nepotism (The late Michael McCaskey) and cronyism (Ted Phillips).
We don’t know if it will pay off just yet. But the old way was clearly not working for a long, long time. George, who has been leading the NFL’s “Workplace Diversity Committee” since 2020, deserves credit for trying to diversify and modernize this organization.
Based on what we are seeing recently, George is leading by example and pushing the envelope more than any other NFL owner.
The hiring of Warren marks a significant philosophical change within the Bears organization. To lure Warren back to the NFL is a huge win for the Bear organization as they continue to work to change their perception. Even the cynical Bears fans, who have gotten sick and tired of George must acknowledge it.
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This hire will hopefully energize the team both on and off the field as they face the most important offseason in franchise history. The Big Ten’s loss is the Bears’ gain.