Sunday, April 21, 2024

Reporter Says Michigan Basketball Coach Is Losing Because Of “White Media”

Juwan Howard is the head basketball coach at the University of Michigan. He just finished up a bad losing season closing with a record of 8-24, including a nine-game losing streak to end the year. Howard played his college career at Michigan and is currently one of three black coaches in the Big Ten Conference.

Throughout his tenure there as coach which began in 2019, Howard has had other issues besides losing games. During the 2020-2021 season, Howard got into a heated verbal exchange with then-Maryland coach Mark Turgeon in the second half of a Big Ten tournament quarterfinal. Howard had to be restrained by several members of the coaching staff and escorted off the court after he was ejected.

Then at Wisconsin two seasons ago, Howard struck Badgers assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft in the head in the postgame handshake line. That led to Howard being suspended for the final five games of the 2021-2022 regular season and fined $40,000.

This past December Howard was involved in another incident, this time with longtime strength and conditioning coach Jon Sanderson. The altercation wasn’t physical, despite several reports on social media that suggested otherwise. It’s unclear what led to the verbal confrontation. At the time the incident went through a university review process and Howard, who was then and is still under a zero-tolerance policy, was retained.

Despite all these incidents and the losing that has caused Michigan to miss the NCAA tournament for two years running, a reporter attempted to place blame for Howard’s coaching hot seat on the “white media.”

After Michigan was bounced from the Big Ten tournament by Penn State, Charles Hallman asked Howard this ridiculous question.

“There are three black coaches in this conference and throughout the season, each one of you has been put on a hot seat by the white media. I’m hoping that you survive this because we know black coaches sometimes don’t. But can you speak on just the fact that the three of you are doing the job that you’ve been hired to do, representing as coaches? There were black kids in the stands today that got to see you coach and will see the other two black coaches during this tournament. Can you just speak on that?”

According to, Howard responded in part like this:

“Well, I got into coaching because I remember how my coaches impacted me as I grew. When I touched — let’s call it what it is. When I first touched campus on the University of Michigan, how Steve Fisher and his staff helped me in so many ways to become a graduate student at one of the prestigious universities, speaking of the University of Michigan. Coming as a kid from the inner city, being the first in my family to receive my degree. Promising my grandmother, no matter what, my goal is to make it to the NBA and take care of our family, but I promise you I’m going to get my education to inspire my family members and also others that come from our community that they can do the same thing.”

Hallman is a black journalist from Minnesota. So, the question about white media is telling. I wonder if he has any white colleagues and if he does, what do they think of his question?

Sports are a blend of all races. Sometimes people win, and other times they lose. Their race has very little if anything to do with it. Hallman’s question tried to inject race into that equation where it didn’t belong. If Howard does lose his job, it won’t be because of any media coverage. He will have accomplished that unwelcome goal all by himself.