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OUR new head coach is far more than just a coach...


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Literally don't care a whit about any of that.   Just coach the team to wins.   Also, "Muslim" isn't a race. My Turkish wife laughed at the "Muslim American" thing. She said, "He's

"Hey babe, are you going to shovel the sidewalk?" "Be down in a sec! Just doing some race science with my internet sports friends!"

Ugh, who cares. I don’t like to be classified as a bi racial, amazingly good looking, ladies man. I’m just a man damnit. 

Robert Saleh is a pioneer. After signing a five-year contract with the New York Jets last week, he became the NFL’s first Muslim American head coach. A milestone moment for a nation marred by renewed racial reckoning, and a league beleaguered by its own turbulence.

But before Saleh became a pioneer, he was a Tractor. He is native of Dearborn, Michigan’s eastside, a blue-collar community on the margins of Detroit and the sidelines of economic anxiety. A place where Arab refugees fled war and found stability around auto factory assembly lines, raising daughters and sons in a land that didn’t always love them. A town where hard knocks and Friday night lights are not gridiron fiction, but the real-time sights of a football-obsessed community.

To be clear, East Dearborn is an Arab American football-obsessed community. Where young boys from Iraq, Yemen, Palestine and Saleh’s native Lebanon proudly don the working-class blue on the gridiron for the Fordson Tractors, from a high school in the heart of the Midwest that houses dreams of youths with roots in the Mideast.

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This is the high school Saleh attended that fueled his signature fire and everyman charisma. Fordson High School, which has a 95% Arab student body, welded the grit that shot Saleh to the top of the NFL’s coaching ranks. I witnessed this firsthand, as Saleh’s childhood friend and Fordson High classmate.

So did Abed Ayoub, the legal and policy director of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, who grew up blocks away from Saleh in Dearborn. Minutes after the Jets announced Saleh’s hiring, Ayoub said, “This is huge. It only makes sense that Robert was the man who made history. He’s a natural-born leader who just happens to love football. He leads from the ground up, shoulder to shoulder with his men. That humility is what sets him apart, and what makes him an embodiment of our working-class Arab American community.”

 
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Ayoub’s perspective is fitting, given that Saleh worked his way up from the lowest rungs of coaching to become the first Muslim coach in the NFL. He started from the bottom. Beyond the bottom. Entirely out of football after playing at Northern Michigan University, another New York story – on Sept. 11, 2001 – changed his professional course. And like millions of Muslim Americans, the era that followed would forever change his life.

On the morning of 9/11, Robert’s older brother David reported to the 61st floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. When David Saleh heard the explosion and learned that a “bomb had gone off” in the nearby North Tower, he ran down the 61 flights in between frantic crowds who did not yet know the scale of the incident. Moments later, a plane flew into the South Tower. But David, an investor with a larger-than-life sense of humor, made it out alive.

“Nothing was guaranteed after that,” he reflected, “and every day that came after was a blessing from above.”

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Robert Saleh (center) then the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator, looks on during the NFL game between the 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 13, 2020.

MSA/ICON SPORTSWIRE

The incident highlighted the precarity of life for Saleh, and the urgency of each moment. While racism and racial profiling descended upon his largely Arab and Muslim community, Saleh was not frightened. He found courage in the resolve of his family and community, and marched toward his NFL dreams. If not now, then when?

Saleh left his comfortable office job in Michigan for a graduate assistant position at nearby Michigan State, followed by stints at Central Michigan and the University of Georgia. His first NFL break came with the Houston Texans in 2005, where he was brought in to serve as the quality-control coach for Gary Kubiak’s defense. Saleh’s enthusiasm captured the hearts of his players while his intellect won over the coaching staff, opening the doors for other NFL opportunities. Doors that led to a Super Bowl ring with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013, and a high-profile defensive coordinator position with the San Francisco 49ers, where his stalwart defense led the storied franchise to the Super Bowl in 2019.

Saleh became a hot coaching prospect with the 49ers, earning the love of fans and his players. Richard Sherman, the star cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers who played under Saleh, praised the next Jets coach as, “A great leader of men.” Ahmad Abuznaid, a civil rights activist and diehard 49ers fan, said, “It has been so inspiring to see a Muslim whose family is originally from southern Lebanon coaching my team at such an elite level. I’ll be rooting for home in with the Jets and I expect plenty of other Arabs and Muslims will, too.”

“It has been so inspiring to see a Muslim whose family is originally from southern Lebanon, coaching my team at such an elite level. I’ll be rooting for home in with the Jets and I expect plenty of other Arabs and Muslims will, too.” – Ahmad Abuznaid, civil rights activist

Saleh’s impact will be far bigger than football. As the first Muslim American head coach in the NFL, and a minority coach in a profession dominated by white men, all eyes will instantly be on him. But the pressure in the NFL’s biggest media market will be countered by the affection from those in his hometown, and millions beyond, who look up to Saleh.

“Kids, especially our students, need to see themselves in successful people. He is a ‘possibility model’ for Arab and Muslim youth, a graduate of our high school, that walked through these very halls and sat in these very classrooms. He opens up entire worlds of possibilities for our students,” said Zeinab Chami, an English teacher at Fordson High School. Mike Ayoub, a leading real estate and friend of Saleh’s, echoed, “The message this sends to our kids is immeasurable. Any cliché you want to use fits.”

Being the first comes with its distinct set of challenges. Particularly in the NFL, and the league’s biggest media market no less. But Saleh will learn from the trails the first Black quarterback or the first Latino head coach had to blaze. In a nation grappling with trumped-up Islamophobia and white supremacy, Saleh stands on the shoulders of Black and brown giants who opened the way for him to land an NFL head coaching job.

On football Sundays, millions of Muslims will stand alongside Saleh, cheering on a man who embodies the best of who we are. Particularly those of us raised in the shadow of factory towns, reared by parents who deferred their dreams so that their children could pursue their own.

Saleh is the NFL’s first Muslim American head coach. That, particularly in today’s America, is a milestone worth celebrating. However, the native son of an immigrant, blue-collar town is far more than that. The Jets will find out for themselves very soon.

Khaled A. Beydoun is a law professor at Wayne State University, and a Scholar-in Residence at Harvard University’s Initiative for a Representative First Amendment. He is a native of Detroit.

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Not trying to be controversial but are people of Arab descent considered people of color or caucasian?  How does the NFL define a minority hire now that there are draft compensation bonuses for having a minority assistant coach leaving and getting a head coaching job?

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5 minutes ago, TnT said:

Ugh, who cares.

I don’t like to classified as a bi racial, amazingly good looking, ladies man.
I’m just a man damnit. 

I don't care but the NFL has incentives for diversity hires, and I wondered how they figure it out.

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9 minutes ago, docdhc said:

Not trying to be controversial but are people of Arab descent considered people of color or caucasian?  How does the NFL define a minority hire now that there are draft compensation bonuses for having a minority assistant coach leaving and getting a head coaching job?

I believe the term is Semitic. 

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5 minutes ago, docdhc said:

Not trying to be controversial but are people of Arab descent considered people of color or caucasian?  How does the NFL define a minority hire now that there are draft compensation bonuses for having a minority assistant coach leaving and getting a head coaching job?

In New England they are considered people of color, in NY White.

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3 minutes ago, Jet_Engine1 said:

Literally don't care a whit about any of that.

 

Just coach the team to wins.

 

Also, "Muslim" isn't a race. My Turkish wife laughed at the "Muslim American" thing. She said, "He's Lebanese.  Good for him. Hopefully the Jets won't suck anymore". 

If he's as gifted as Rony Seikaly we are in for a treat. 

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2 hours ago, docdhc said:

Not trying to be controversial but are people of Arab descent considered people of color or caucasian?  How does the NFL define a minority hire now that there are draft compensation bonuses for having a minority assistant coach leaving and getting a head coaching job?

By law, he is definitely considered Caucasian, as Semites are considered Caucasian. Also, he is Lebanese, and many Lebanese do not even consider themselves Arabs. They speak Arabic, but only due to diffusion. Before they spoke Arabic, they spoke Aramaic — the language of the Middle East before Islam. A lot of genetic research has shown that Lebanese are more related to the Canaanite peoples — Phoenicians — than they are to Arabs. 

https://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-canaanite-lebanese-genetics-20170727-story.html   

The narrative surrounding his “minority status” seems to be related to his religion, which makes some sense.

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2 hours ago, Jet_Engine1 said:

Literally don't care a whit about any of that.

 

Just coach the team to wins.

 

Also, "Muslim" isn't a race. My Turkish wife laughed at the "Muslim American" thing. She said, "He's Lebanese.  Good for him. Hopefully the Jets won't suck anymore". 

I'm a quarter Turkish myself- yeah I couldn't care any less what religion/color the coaches are - "just win baby"

 

The ONLY practical aspect is Ramadan - because he can't eat all day, luckily that falls in the off season.

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2 hours ago, Jet_Engine1 said:

Literally don't care a whit about any of that.

 

Just coach the team to wins.

 

Also, "Muslim" isn't a race. My Turkish wife laughed at the "Muslim American" thing. She said, "He's Lebanese.  Good for him. Hopefully the Jets won't suck anymore". 

Exactly its like saying someone is Catholic American .

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16 minutes ago, Integrity28 said:

Why am I not surprised that white guys on MLK day are all “just do teh football” in response to a first-time Muslim American feel good story?

No Way Romano GIF by TV Land

You’re f’n wack, shut your ass up.

I’ll take the punishment.

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1 minute ago, David Harris said:

I'm a quarter Turkish myself- yeah I couldn't care any less what religion/color the coaches are - "just win baby"

The ONLY practical aspect is Ramadan - because he can't eat all day, luckily that falls in the off season.

really ?.. so,..

10612557_10203904612209695_7617786546671

... i'm not the only one that doesn't eat all day ?... p.s. i just increase my  " beverage "  intake   😎

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13 minutes ago, Vader said:

By law, he is definitely considered Caucasian, as Semites are considered Caucasian. Also, he is Lebanese, and many Lebanese do not even consider themselves Arabs. They speak Arabic, but only due to diffusion. Before they spoke Arabic, they spoke Aramaic — the language of the Middle East before Islam. A lot of genetic research has shown that Lebanese are more related to the Canaanite peoples — Phoenicians — than they are to Arabs. 

https://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-canaanite-lebanese-genetics-20170727-story.html   

The narrative surrounding his “minority status” seems to be related to his religion, which makes some sense.

Fun Fact - Aramaic was the language Jesus spoke.  Funny that the Roman Catholic church only allowed the Bible/mass to be read in Latin for over 1000 years.

But yeah, anywhere in the Med is going to be a hodgepodge of mutts, it's all mixed after millenia of conquering and migration.  Spanish folks have more melanin probably because the Arabs/Moors ran their country for something hundreds of years.  As far as lebanese being Phoenicians, I mean sure, but again to the point of the med being all mixed over generations, Phoenicians were a loose confederacy of Port cities around the Med based out of Lebanon but then the big one being Carthage in modern day Tunisia, home of one of the greatest generals ever, Hannibal, the scourge of Rome.  Rome finally succeeded in defeating Carthage after the 3 Punic Wars and after centuries of warfare wiped the city from the map and even went so far as to salt the fields so nothing would grow there again.

So yeah whatever he's Muslim, he's Lebanese, he's an American, we're all descended from Africa, tribalism is in our DNA and we all need to acknowledge it and then get over it.

 

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3 minutes ago, RutgersJetFan said:

Up next: Inuits. 

Ok.  Like why 15000 years ago after crossing the Bering Straight land bridge would you stop in cold Alaska?  It's just lazy.  their cousins went on down to where the abundant Buffalo were in the Great Plains and the smart ones kept going down to Cancun 

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1 minute ago, David Harris said:

Ok.  Like why 15000 years ago after crossing the Bering Straight land bridge would you stop in cold Alaska?  It's just lazy.  their cousins went on down to where the abundant Buffalo were in the Great Plains and the smart ones kept going down to Cancun 

My assumption was always that they befriended the narwhals. 

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10 minutes ago, David Harris said:

Ok.  Like why 15000 years ago after crossing the Bering Straight land bridge would you stop in cold Alaska?  It's just lazy.  their cousins went on down to where the abundant Buffalo were in the Great Plains and the smart ones kept going down to Cancun 

I think I have my timing mixed up; was this before or after the Andals invaded? 

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1 hour ago, David Harris said:

I'm a quarter Turkish myself- yeah I couldn't care any less what religion/color the coaches are - "just win baby"

 

The ONLY practical aspect is Ramadan - because he can't eat all day, luckily that falls in the off season.

Cool! My in laws are from Istanbul (opposite sides of the Bosphorus Bridge - think Brooklyn and Queens lol), my wife is fluent. They're like me with Catholicism,  more of a cultural identity than a religion.  They call women wearing Hijabs "Karafatma"...cockroaches. LOL. 

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5 hours ago, kelly said:

https://theundefeated.com/features/robert-saleh-is-far-more-than-the-first-muslim-coach-in-the-nfl/

 

* * i'm sorry/ i apol.  i am unable to post this article from the computer that i am currently using. could/would someone  PLEASE  post the article.  thank you ! ! 

 

again, i apol. ! 

i think that robrt sala is what we need as a head coah if sala dont do much then the jets are sorry

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14 minutes ago, JetsFanShawn said:

i think that robrt sala is what we need as a head coah if sala dont do much then the jets are sorry

Finally !.. a Plan ! !:beer: 

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Robert Saleh was the fiery defensive coordinator of the 49ers sideline for years, calling effective plays that helped the unit reach Super Bowl LIV last year.He’ll probably still be fiery as he roams the sidelines as the Jets head coach in 2021. But he won’t be calling defensive plays any longer, passing those duties off to coordinator Jeff Ulbrich.

“I’ve got the utmost respect and confidence in Jeff Ulbrich to be able to do that,” Saleh said in his introductory press conference. “This is an organization that has to work locked in arms and work together. And to ensure that the messaging and the way that we want things done all the way across the board is there and maintaining that connection throughout — whether it’s offense, defense, special teams, business of football — somehow, some way, everyone’s got to find their connection to the player with the mindset that we’re going to get these guys better every single day. And to be able to have that focus and ensure that the entire organization is moving in the direction that we want, I won’t be calling plays.”

Ulbrich served as the Falcons’ interim defensive coordinator once the club fired Dan Quinn in October. He was perviously the linebackers coach since 2015, adding the title assistant head coach in 2020.Saleh and Ulbrich were on the same Seahawks’ staff in 2011. Ulbrich was an assistant special teams coach and Saleh a defensive quality control coach.

>  https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2021/01/21/robert-saleh-wont-call-defensive-plays-with-the-jets/

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Rich Cimini    ESPN Staff Writer 

New coach Robert Saleh is retaining Brant Boyer as the Jets' special teams coordinator, a source confirmed (NFL Network). This is a good move by Saleh. The Jets had a down year on special teams, but Boyer has proven to be an outstanding coach. This will be Boyer's third head coach, which shows how well he is regarded. Saleh's coordinators are set. The others are Mike LaFleur (offense) and Jeff Ulbrich (defense).

>    https://www.espn.com/nfl/team/_/name/nyj/new-york-jets

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1 hour ago, kelly said:

Rich Cimini    ESPN Staff Writer 

New coach Robert Saleh is retaining Brant Boyer as the Jets' special teams coordinator, a source confirmed (NFL Network). This is a good move by Saleh. The Jets had a down year on special teams, but Boyer has proven to be an outstanding coach. This will be Boyer's third head coach, which shows how well he is regarded. Saleh's coordinators are set. The others are Mike LaFleur (offense) and Jeff Ulbrich (defense).

>    https://www.espn.com/nfl/team/_/name/nyj/new-york-jets

IIRC, I think Westhoff also served in this capacity under a couple of Jet head coaches. There's a guy who we should have given the opportunity to be our head coach when we had the chance and he was still in reasonable health/of a reasonable age.

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On 1/18/2021 at 12:54 PM, docdhc said:

Not trying to be controversial but are people of Arab descent considered people of color or caucasian?  How does the NFL define a minority hire now that there are draft compensation bonuses for having a minority assistant coach leaving and getting a head coaching job?

imo you're not being controversial to rational people.  lebanon has seem a mixed bag of people from romans to greeks to arabs to mongols.  and throw in the crusaders who might have passed through from england and france.  to make an issue of saleh's cultural background or religion is just foolish.  and then people seem to forget that alexander the great conquered that region all the way to india. and the romans went as far south as ethiopia.

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On 1/18/2021 at 5:13 PM, JetsFanShawn said:

i think that robrt sala is what we need as a head coah if sala dont do much then the jets are sorry

No worries !  😎.. the coach is in route on his..

daryl-dixon-the-walking-dead-twd-twd-sea

..." bike "  and he is bringing " jetnation " with him ! !:beer:

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