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‘How They Fire Minority Coaches Today’: Was 49ers Former Assistant Coach Jon Embree Asked to Take 60 Percent Pay Cut Following NFC Championship Loss?

Following their NFC Championship loss on Sunday to the Rams, the San Francisco 49ers are making coaching moves. The first move reportedly was asking assistant head coach and tight ends coach Jon Embree to take a big 60 percent pay cut.

(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

Embree, who was sent packing after he refused to devalue himself, joined the Niners as part of HC Kyle Shanahan’s first staff in 2017. Before joining the 49ers, Embree was a position coach with the Buccaneers, Bears, Chiefs, and Washington. He also spent two seasons as the head coach at the University of Colorado.

The timing of this is extremely awkward in light of the current Brian Flores lawsuit against the NFL, Dolphins, Broncos and Giants for discrimination in the hiring and treatment of minority coaches. 

NFL reporter Solomon Wilcots broke the story and added the caption:

“Being asked to take a 60% pay cut is how they now fire minority coaches today.”

Odd Man Out

Qualified Black coaches have been continually overlooked in favor of their white counterparts, and while this story may not reek of that, it’s no secret that the Niners have two up and coming coordinators in defensive guru DeMeco Ryans, who’s Black and offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel who’s white.

Rumors circulating around the team suggests that San Francisco wants to make one of them the assistant head coach in an effort to keep them around. Ryans basically had the Vikings job if he wanted it, but he decided to stay with the 49ers. And a young, white OC is always worth his weight in gold in the NFL. 

Therein lies the massive 60 percent pay cut they reportedly wanted Embree to accept.

NFL writer Stephanie Mack thinks it could be DeMeco Ryans being promoted.

I’m speculating, but the scuttlebutt was DeMeco was getting the assistant HC role and Embree was losing it. With loss of duties, it may make sense. But I have no problem asking the question. The 49ers need to be forthright and transparent about it at this juncture.”

In addition, it’s strange that an NFL organization that is bleeding money wants one Black coach to take a pay cut that is way above the usual reduction in order to pay for the other Black coach who may be taking his position. That’s a whole other cultural calamity. It’s almost unfathomable, same as what Flores said Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross asked him to do. 

But an employer asking anyone in any profession in the world to take a 60 percent slice in pay is basically just asking you to leave quietly. It’s safe to say the 49ers didn’t read the room well. In this instance, it speaks to the mistreatment and undervaluing of Black coaches by white upper management. 

For more on the trials, tribulations and triumphs of Black NFL coaches like Jon Embree, click here.

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