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Black Coaches Are Working Together Like Never Before. Now They Should Feel the Freedom to Speak Out.

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Officially, the meetings are titled, “West Coast Zoom Clinic.” But as their popularity has rippled across the nation, the unofficial name among those involved is now “The Underground Railroad.” That has founder Alonzo Carter a bit conflicted.

“I am by no means Harriet Tubman,” said Carter, running backs coach at San Jose State. “That’s a sacred name. I’m not ever trying to put myself in the same sentence with the great leaders who did that work.”

Carter’s twice-weekly gatherings via Zoom technology of hundreds of minority football coaches—from high school to the NFL and all levels of college ball—carry nowhere near the historical significance of helping enslaved people escape to freedom. But a network of people quietly collaborating to improve the professional lives of Black coaches carries its own missionary zeal. Using word of mouth instead of social media, they are seizing an empowering moment to change the complexion of a sport their race dominates in terms of players but lags behind at the leadership levels.

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