Prior to the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, head coach Mike Tomlin did an interview with Laura Okmin of Fox Sports and reports suggest that he took issue with her when she asked him about whether or not he likes being labeled a “players’ coach.” At one point during the interview, Tomlin reportedly went as far as to say that defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau could be called a “players’ coach,” too, but that he isn’t because he’s is an “old white guy.”
During his Tuesday press conference, Tomlin was asked to explain his comments made to Okmin and whether or not he is indeed insulted when he is labeled a “players’ coach.”
“I’m not insulted by that term in any way,” said Tomlin. “Usually it’s in the context of questioning. I’ve been at this at eight years and some of the line of questioning gets routine and old. Sometimes when they couple players’ coach with how I wear my hair or what I choose to wear on the sideline, or what type of music that I listen to, then it gets a little old and kind of falls into that category for me.
“I’d like to think the manner in which I do my job, whether it’s positive or negative, has very little to do with my haircut or the clothes that I wear or the type of music I listen to, and that’s when I get annoyed with that line of questioning when it’s coupled with things like that.”
Tomlin was then asked if he considers himself more of a progressive, “players’ coach.”
“I consider myself “a” coach,” said Tomlin “I refuse to be put in a box. It’s my job to be what my team needs me to be. Sometimes it’s close and cuddly and sometimes it’s not and I don’t have any problem being any of the above.”
It’s hard for me to comment on any of this as I missed Tomlin’s interview with Okmin and it has yet to surface on the internet. However, it sounds like Tomlin may have just been in a bad mood and that Okmin’s routine questioning set him off. Maybe this footage will surface so that we will have more clarity as to why he responded to Okmin the way that he reportedly did.