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No further interviews needed for 'Skins to hire Shanahan

It’s an issue that has ping-ponged for more than two weeks.  And, finally, we think we have a definitive answer.

The Redskins may hire Mike Shanahan to be the team’s next coach without conducting any any further interviews.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told us via e-mail this morning that “teams can interview during the season members of their own staff or coaches not working for NFL teams as prospective head coaches” and that “[s]uch interviews would count toward Rooney Rule compliance.”

So if, at is has been widely reported, the Redskins interviewed secondary coach Jerry Gray for the job that until today Jim Zorn held, Gray will not need to be interviewed again, which is directly contrary to Sunday’s report from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and sort-of contrary to the initial word we obtained from Aiello, who told us on December 20 that the Rooney Rule as it applies to head coaches presumes the existence a vacancy.

Though this development seems to close the book on the Redskins’ efforts to satisfy the requirements of the rule, it does nothing to alter our belief that the franchise has made a mockery of the mandate by picking a new G.M. and a new head coach and then interviewing in-house minority candidates who had no chance of being hired for either job, and that the league office and the Fritz Pollard Alliance failed to keep it from happening.

The Rooney Rule was adopted in response to not-so-subtle threats of a lawsuit from Johnnie Cochran and Cyrus Mehri.  In theory, the rule would serve as evidence supporting the league’s diverse and inclusive hiring practices if/when a legal challenge occurs.

As a practical matter, however, the Redskins’ handling of the ultimate hiring of Mike Shanahan (unless he gets a better offer or cold feet) will be used against the league if/when a racial discrimination suit is filed by a minority candidate who believes that the practice of allowing the current minority employees of a team to be interviewed for jobs that aren’t yet vacant necessarily transforms the rule into a form-over-substance exercise in managing litigation risk.

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23 Responses to “No further interviews needed for 'Skins to hire Shanahan”
  1. dcfan-1212450 says: Jan 4, 2010 12:19 PM

    So this continues to prove the Rooney Rule is a joke. The Redskins, my team, just pissed on it and here the NFL is, taking it. Drop this stupid rule, it is pointless and irrevelant in decisions.

  2. A_Source_close_2_Favre says: Jan 4, 2010 12:26 PM

    They will however need to ask a sampling of 100 random native americans if they should be allowed keep their team nickname.

  3. ispysomething7 says: Jan 4, 2010 12:30 PM

    So this continues to prove the Rooney Rule is a joke. The Redskins, my team, just pissed on it and here the NFL is, taking it. Drop this stupid rule, it is pointless and irrevelant in decisions.
    Skins suck!

  4. GirthyOne says: Jan 4, 2010 12:32 PM

    One name that comes to mind is Mike Singletary. The 49ers didn’t interview any non-minority candidates.
    Any racial biased rule or law is just wrong. Hiring should be based on merit alone and preferential treatment is just that. We are now in 2010 and a man of African decent is President. Time to put these bigoted ideologies in the past.

  5. Keyser Soze says: Jan 4, 2010 12:35 PM

    So, I’m assuming this one interview is then good for next year and the year after that and 10 years from now?! No vacancy yet, but there will be at some point in the future. What a joke!

  6. FLPackerBacker says: Jan 4, 2010 12:35 PM

    The NFL SHOULD be “just taking it.” The Rooney Rule is absolutely absurd and does nothing to help minority coaches. Teams should be allowed to hire whatever coach they please and not be forced to give token interviews to candidates they’ll never hire just because they’re black, Hispanic, Asian, white or red. Insufficient minority representation in the NFL has not been a problem in decades and, as more minority individuals choose to be coaches and coordinators and stand out as excellent they will inevitably be rewarded with head coaching positions as guys like Smith, Caldwell and Singletary have proven.
    (Yes, I left Raheem Morris off for a reason)

  7. moosev says: Jan 4, 2010 12:35 PM

    Agreed! Why can’t an owner get HIS man to coach HIS team which HE bought with HIS money. It’s the most degrading rule ever, first to African Americans, who deserve better, than to owner who should have the right to choose whomever he wishes to help run HIS business. If Snyder thinks Shanny is the best guy for the job, why waste other potential coaches times? Seriously, Johnnie Cochran is dead. Let the rule die with him.

  8. bake says: Jan 4, 2010 12:38 PM

    It’s a stupid rule and I am glad the Redskins, and the rest of them, make a mockery of it!!!
    If the Race-Baiters threaten a lawsuit, the owners find a way around it. Because they make money, create wealth and jobs, etc. Race Baiters are like leaches who attack every big industry with similar threats and reach into the deep pockets, instead of building a legitimate business that benefits society.
    And then they call themselves champions of the minority. If

  9. lezmaka says: Jan 4, 2010 12:39 PM

    If the rule “presumes” a vacancy exists, that would mean it does not explicitly state that a vacancy MUST exist. Change the rule so that it REQUIRES a vacancy and that the vacancy be announced in a press release before an interview can be used to comply with the Rooney Rule.

  10. JoaquinFenix says: Jan 4, 2010 12:42 PM

    First, we had hiring by merit.
    Then, we had racial discrimination in the interviewing process to comply with the NFL’s version of affirmative action
    Now, we have exercises in “form-over substance” in the racially discriminatory interviewing process because teams who want to hire based on merit are forced to entertain a sham or else risk losing out on their coaching/front office targets.
    Next, we’ll have race quotas to appease those who complain about the sham currently being perpetrated by the Redskins.
    Florio – NFL Race Czar 2010 (disclaimer: Czar Florio’s duties will extend only to the aforementioned front office/coaching personnel. Czar Florio cannot institute race quotas amongst the players as the NFL’s preferred racial groups are already adequately represented)

  11. vdogg says: Jan 4, 2010 12:49 PM

    What ever happened to the concept of just hiring the best guy for the job….??? This whole rule is a joke, teams just go thru the motions to satisfy it and hire who they want to anyway. It’s not like there aren’t any minority coaches in the league…the original concept of the rule had merit but now that it isn’t an issue why continue hammering it at teams?

  12. Mike Quick says: Jan 4, 2010 12:59 PM

    Once again, nobody cares. Its a non story, they complied, end of story. Nobody cares what Florio thinks because he’s only throwing poo at the wall to see what sticks.

  13. Chris Fiorentino says: Jan 4, 2010 1:06 PM

    Yes, it is a shame that the Redskins hired the white guy with 2 Super Bowl championships because of the color of his skin. Clearly, the Redskins should be punished for doing this. Unless Tony Dungy made himself AVAILABLE, this rule is stupid because there is not a single minority candidate AVAILABLE that is better than Super Bowl Chapionship coaches like Cowher, Shanahan, and even Holmgren, all of whom have the unfortunate curse of being WHITE.

  14. boysroll says: Jan 4, 2010 1:44 PM

    does not surprise me the 4skins would piss all over this rule? remember what riggins said in his video. Synder is an unethical, weasel owner who would fire his own father if he was on the payroll.
    This weasel is the biggest joke owner in the league and it really is embarassing how uncompetitive the 4skin org has and is going to be for as long as this circus midget owns this franchise.
    He manages this team like it is a video game. I have never seen such bad decisions in my life and you know he will be the one making all final decisions as usual as he has the short man complex and needs to make it seem like he is 6’5″‘s tall. LMFAO.

  15. Richm2256 says: Jan 4, 2010 1:48 PM

    Does ANYBODY have a clue what to do with this joke of a rule????
    The interview counts, no wait, there wasn’t a job to be interviewed for so it doesn’t count, but wait, the guy interviewed (maybe???) was already on the staff so it DOES count…….
    The NFL isn’t even clear at this point how the damn rule works, and they have an outside group overseeing THEIR damn policy, which is nothing but reverse discrimination anyway.
    If a guy is a qualified coaching candidate, people are going to seriously interview him for a job whether he’s black or white. This isn’t the 1950’s here, there have been several minority coaches. Teams not interested in a guy because he’s black are non-existant in this day and age, and to force them to interview candidates they’re clearly not interested in is a farce; they’re NOT going to hire the interviewee, and he could get the impression he’s a “serious” candidate instead of a pawn.
    Bill Belichick is going to draw interest because he has a proven record, not because he’s white. Herm Edwards ISN’T going to draw interest because he too has a proven record, not because he’s black. There are good coaches, be they white or black, and there are lousy coaches, be they white or black. Isn’t that what the civil rights movement was started for, equality between people regardless of race? Haven’t we achieved that here?
    Or is there going to end up being a movement for equality between competent people and incompetent people, regardless of race?
    The Rooney Rule today is a farce, an unnecessary one at that, and no one knows what to do to either implement it or end it.

  16. kws767 says: Jan 4, 2010 1:52 PM

    I have a dream…That NFL coaches will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

  17. FireJerryJones says: Jan 4, 2010 2:04 PM

    Rooney rule is not a bad rule. What’s wrong with giving somebody an opportunity to go through an interview… and to get that experience?
    Guys like Romeo Crennel and Leslie Frazier have been through it. Frazier should get a crack at an NFL job soon.
    This rush to the podium is classic Redskins.
    First team to break the rules and sign a free agent (Haynesworth)… and overpay.
    First team to sign a new head coach… (Shanny) and overpay.
    Shanahan could have his choice of jobs. If he had any class, he would simply have asked Snyder to show him that he had complied with the Rooney rule. If your future employer can’t show you that they’ve followed due diligence in your hiring… that doesn’t speak well for the future of your relationship.

  18. tikyle says: Jan 4, 2010 2:42 PM

    It’s real funny how you can tell the race of someone when they respond to affirmative action laws.
    Everyone screaming it isn’t needed and this and that, blah, blah, blah have no idea what they are talking about.
    The rule is out there in good faith to make you interview some one you normally wouldn’t because they are not in your good ol’ boy network.
    Superbowl winning head coach Mike Tomlin would have never been a head coach right now if it weren’t for the Rooney’s following their own rule. That guy was on no one’s radar but he got an interview to satisfy the rule and he impressed the Rooney’s more than Whisenhunt or Russ Grimm.
    I’d say the rule works. It’s not about giving a guy a job who’s non-white. It’s about giving coaches a chance to sell themselves who you wouldn’t normally interview.
    Interview them. The ones that are actually qualified and if you like them more than the rest of the candidates……hire them. If not hire who you feel fits your franchise. It’s that simple but everyone wants to make it out to be something it’s not.
    If you’ve never been invited to the party no one will ever know if you can dance or not. An invitation doesn’t vouch that you can dance but at least you get a chance to show if you can or cannot.
    Open your mind people, and stop being afraid to include those who are not exactly like you.

  19. Chapnasty2 says: Jan 4, 2010 2:55 PM

    “Superbowl winning head coach Mike Tomlin would have never been a head coach right now if it weren’t for the Rooney’s following their own rule. That guy was on no one’s radar but he got an interview to satisfy the rule and he impressed the Rooney’s more than Whisenhunt or Russ Grimm.”
    Mike Tomlin wouldn’t have been a superbowl winning coach without the help of Bill Cower building his team for him. Our problem with the rule has nothing to do with our “closed minds” it is that we see people as people and that the color of their skin is irrelevant to anything they do in life. Not everyone is a racist redneck who disagrees with the rule, we just want the day to come where people are actually judged off of the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

  20. JoaquinFenix says: Jan 4, 2010 3:03 PM

    tikyle: “It’s real funny how you can tell the race of someone when they respond to affirmative action laws.”
    Just like you? Or how you call a group of white men a “good ol’ boy network.” Like that?
    Funny you should use Tomlin as an example of the efficacy of the Rooney Rule. Tomlin took over a Championship-calibur team handed to him by Bill Cowher. That’s like crediting Barry Switzer for being the paragon of NFL coaching for winning the 1995 Super Bowl with Jimmy Johnson’s team.
    This goes back to one simple truism: Nobody should take race – either favorably or unfavorably – into consideration when making hiring decisions. And you certainly shouldn’t be compelled to do such by this Rule. Just institute a quota system like we have for law school admissions and get it over with.

  21. Adam-Chris Scheftersen says: Jan 4, 2010 4:59 PM

    I’m still waiting for someone–anyone–to compile a list of NFL position coaches and their racial background. I haven’t seen a single study or article written from the point of view of proving that there’s any discrimination going on in head coaching hiring decisions.
    Too many of those in favor of this rule just assume racial discrimination is hiding behind every Bush.
    See what I did there?

  22. BasicInstinct says: Jan 4, 2010 5:16 PM

    Let’s face it, The NFL should just hire black coaches from now on.
    White coaches basically suck and don’t deserve to coach in the NFL. Especially old white coaches who are fat. Fat coaches are particularly bad.
    So, fire all the white coaches, and or fat coaches.
    Fire Tom Cable for sure, cut Jamarcus Russell then make him the coach.
    Or fire Andy Reid and make Mike Vick the coach.
    Then he could put himself in whenever he wanted to. And the Eagles would win the Super Bowl!!!!
    Please respond if you think I suggested anything that doesn’t make perfect sense.

  23. tikyle says: Jan 5, 2010 10:57 AM

    Wow JoaquinFenix I never said the good ol’ boy network was white. Dungy is part of that network and so are retreads like Art Shell and Denny Green. You just assumed that and I have no idea why.
    And also you said Cowher handed him a Superbowl team? So why did the Superbowl team Cowher handed him not even make the playoffs in Cowher’s final year. I never heard of a Superbowl team that didn’t make the playoffs. The Steelers were a good team and an outstanding franchise when Cowher left but they weren’t a Superbowl team. If Tomlin got fired today and say Billick took over no one would be saying Tomlin is handing over a Superbowl team to Billick. That’s asinine.
    See the funny thing is people who have exclusivity rights never want to give them up. Just the Master’s and letting women join. But I guess when you’ve never been excluded from thing by stuff you can’t control you’ll never get it.
    It’s shocking to me how easily grown men get threatened when you even the playing field by just letting others apply.
    The Rooney Rule has nothing to do with hiring.
    Chapnasty2: I understand what you are saying but there are not enough people like you who own teams or companies or businesses to go around so that this is not an issue. That’s just a sad simple truth. We like to deal in ideals in this country but the reality is that we are very far from the ideal as a country and as a human race.

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