In response to The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, a civil rights group, Saleh would be the third Arab American head coach within the NFL after Abe Gibron and Wealthy Kotite. Each Gibron and Kotite are additionally of Lebanese origin. The Washington Post famous Saleh was additionally the primary Arab American coordinator within the league’s historical past.
With 16 years of expertise within the NFL working with Houston, Seattle, Tennessee, and San Francisco, Saleh was a sought-after particular person, with interviews with a minimum of four other teams.
In a narrative revealed by the Post earlier than final 12 months’s Tremendous Bowl, Saleh shared his household’s historical past of immigration from Lebanon. Saleh’s success in sports activities follows generations working in factories to offer a greater future for members of the family regardless of language boundaries. “For me to have the chance to teach, and form of create one other path, has been good,” Saleh informed the Put up. “That’s fairly cool.”
In response to The New York Times, the tragic Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist assault pushed Saleh to observe his desires of pursuing the NFL. After Saleh’s brother David survived the incident, Saleh realized life was too quick to not give teaching an opportunity. David had been within the South Tower however was in a position to escape earlier than it collapsed.
“His love and fervour for soccer is in the end why he needed to get into teaching,” David Saleh informed The Detroit News in 2020. “He simply didn’t wish to go away the sport.”
Matthew Jaber Stiffler, the top of analysis on the Arab American Nationwide Museum, famous that many Lebanese People, who’re majority Christian, typically don’t determine as Arab. Saleh figuring out as each Muslim and Arab in such a subject is thus not only a win for Muslim illustration, however encouragement for others who could appear like him. It permits younger kids of coloration to have function fashions in fields they might wish to pursue.
“To have any individual in a visual place, who’s proudly Arab, proudly Muslim—however that additionally he’s only a soccer coach too, when it comes all the way down to it—it helps to only normalize the expertise of Muslim People,” Stiffler said.
Saleh’s appointment has obtained optimistic suggestions from not solely Muslim People however others nationwide and globally. The appointment was welcomed by numerous organizations together with the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The optimistic information comes at a time of misery within the nation and offers hope that a greater future awaits.