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Niners complied, perhaps unnecessarily, with Rooney Rule on Trent Baalke promotion

Last June, the NFL extended the Rooney Rule from head-coaching positions to certain front-office jobs.  “This policy specifically requires clubs to interview at least one
minority candidate as part of the hiring process for a club’s senior
football operations position
, whether described as general manager,
executive vice president of football operations, or otherwise,” the
league said in a release issued at the time.

During Thursday’s press conference to announce the elevation of Trent Baalke from director of player personnel to V.P. of player personnel, 49ers president and owner Jed York explained that the team complied with the Rooney Rule in making the change.  NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed via e-mail that, indeed, the Niners complied.

But the real question is whether they needed to do so (and not simply because folks from the Isle of Mipos constitute minorities).  As York explained it, Baalke’s job duties aren’t changing much, if at all.  Then there’s the fact that coach Mike Singletary holds “final say” over the roster, and that Baalke and Singletary have joint authority over free agents.

Though Baalke in theory controls the draft and trades, the fact that Singletary has the power to bounce whomever he wants to bounce gives the coach a significant amount of dominion, as a practical matter, over the moves Baalke could make. 

So does Baalke truly hold the “senior football operations position,” as that term is used in the Rooney Rule?  It’s quite possible that he doesn’t.

As we explained it on Thursday, York arguably has created a structure that places the 20-something owner in the “senior football operations position.”  It could be that the 49ers complied with the Rooney Rule simply to help counter the perception that York is torso deep in the football operations.

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13 Responses to “Niners complied, perhaps unnecessarily, with Rooney Rule on Trent Baalke promotion”
  1. thunderdog says: May 21, 2010 9:50 AM

    If I was an NFL owner I would interview a minority if I was hiring a member of the grounds crew, just to be safe.

  2. PittsburghSteelerz says: May 21, 2010 9:51 AM

    The intention of the Rooney rule was good…
    Now it can be just embarassing.
    For example, the Seattle job or the circus in Washington.
    I don’t think there’s descrimination against minority head coaches… embarassing “canidates” when you already KNOW who you want is foolish.

  3. Chapnasty2 says: May 21, 2010 9:57 AM

    FINALLY! A post about the worst rule in all of sports! This time last season we had about 500 or so. The rule is still BS and your support of it is BS as well. Damn liberals. People are people regardless of their skin color!

  4. robert ethen says: May 21, 2010 10:17 AM

    Robert “Rooster” Rooney, 24, used the rule to explain to his fiance that he had to interview various minority candidates before choosing a wife.

  5. FinFan says: May 21, 2010 10:18 AM

    I think they should comply to the roonie rule and interview a WHITE dude for the toilet bowl cleaning job?!
    This is pathetic

  6. PersonalFoul says: May 21, 2010 10:24 AM

    Rooney Rule is a joke!
    We should create a rule that for every 5 players drafted at least one must be white.
    This way white people who have an interest in playing football but aren’t qualified are ensured a position.
    Yea, that should work well!

  7. DanSnyderSux says: May 21, 2010 10:29 AM

    Chapnasty, it’s not as simple as “people are people regardless of their skin color.” While that is true, a lot of good minority candidates in the past were overlooked because they didn’t have the networking pipeline their white counterparts have been able to enjoy. Again, the Rooney Rule was passed to give those minority candidates the OPPORTUNITY to interview for head coaching positions — opportunities that didn’t always exist before it became a rule. This rule tries to level the playing field so that qualified minority candidates who were overlooked in the past at least get some consideration. Even if they don’t get the job, A) at least their names are now out there for future jobs, and B) they get the experience of interviewing for such a job.
    The Rooney Rule, while not perfect, is far from “the worst rule in all of sports.”

  8. EverybodyGotAIDS says: May 21, 2010 10:33 AM

    …was that a Perfect Strangers reference?
    Well played, sir. Well played.

  9. DanSnyderSux says: May 21, 2010 10:38 AM

    PersonalFoul says:
    May 21, 2010 10:24 AM
    Rooney Rule is a joke!
    We should create a rule that for every 5 players drafted at least one must be white.
    This way white people who have an interest in playing football but aren’t qualified are ensured a position.
    Personal Foul, the difference is those white players have the same opportunity as black players to play in the sport if they so desire. No matter how you spin it, the same can’t be said for black assistants who want to move up to head coaching or general manager positions.

  10. jrhsd says: May 21, 2010 10:41 AM

    don’t be ridiculous

  11. Chapnasty2 says: May 21, 2010 12:07 PM

    @ Dansnyder
    First, you do indeed suck as does the team you own. Second, while the rule is good on its face it creates a situation where an individual is interviewed based off of their skin color only which not only is degrading to the individual but to society as a whole. This is not 1864 or 1940, times have changed. The President is black and the best rapper out is White. People are concerned with one thing these days and that is being successful and making money.

  12. dachshund says: May 21, 2010 1:56 PM

    rooney rule = racism

  13. DanSnyderSux says: May 21, 2010 2:01 PM

    Chapnasty, first, it takes one to know what “sucks”. Secondly, without the rule, a full wealth of candidates would be ignored. Do you think that Mike Tomlin would have gotten his job without the Rooney Rule? You point out that “the President is black and the best rapper out is White.” But you also ignore the wide racial gap that STILL EXISTS in such categories as employment, housing, education and the criminal justice system. These gaps are the legacy of slavery and “Jim Crow laws.” While they no longer exist, the ripple effects of those institutions have not disappeared, even if you don’t want to believe that. While “times have changed,” that doesn’t mean there’s still equal opportunity. That’s the Rooney Rule’s focus. Created EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES for white AND minority candidates to vie for NFL jobs.

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