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Fritz Pollard Alliance calls for expansion of Rooney Rule

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The NFL has expressed disappointment regarding the fact that 15 key hires were made in the last two weeks and none of the jobs went to minorities.

In response, the Fritz Pollard Alliance has asked the NFL to expand the Rooney Rule, which currently requires at least one minority candidate to be interviewed for every head-coaching and G.M. vacancy.  Under the proposal, the rule would expand to coordinators, assistant head coaches, and team presidents.

“We know that the clubs individually and collectively can do better,” said attorney Cyrus Mehri, whose efforts a decade ago with the late Johnnie Cochran prompted the creation of the Rooney Rule.  “We believe that extending the Rooney Rule to the coordinator, assistant head coach and president positions will deepen the pipeline and enhance the competition for the top jobs in the years ahead.”

The recent shift away from minority coaching hires has been attributed to a trend that favors offensive coaches — and the lack of minority play-callers.

“In this quarterback-dominated era, it seems clubs are increasingly looking for offensive coaches to fill head coaching positions in particular, and far too few minority coaches have been given offensive coordinator and play-calling responsibilities,” Mehri said.  “We want to see a special focus on offensive coordinator and play calling duties going forward.  We have many experienced wide receiver and running back position coaches ready to be coordinators now.”

The use of the Rooney Rule for club presidents will, if it results in increased minority, ensure that there will be more diverse groups selecting coaches and General Managers.

“Last night at the Senior Bowl, we met with a good cross section of our members,” Fritz Pollard Alliance executive director John Wooten said.  “They are very frustrated and disappointed with the recent hiring stats, but they are behind this new call to action.  And just a day after Martin Luther King Day, we have to remember Dr. King’s words:  The arc of history bends towards justice.  We will learn from this and move forward in a positive way.”

The issue remains a thorny one for the NFL.  The Rooney Rule does not mandate hiring; it only mandates an opportunity to interview, for one minority candidate per job.  The problem is that owners typically enter the hiring process with a wish list containing a few names.  The idea that the league office often forces owners to conduct unnecessary interviews is more likely to create resentment than diversity.

That same mindset will apply to coordinators and assistant head coaches.  New coaches fill their staffs primarily by hiring friends or relatives, or relatives of friends.  Tapping the brakes for interviews of people the coaches don’t plan to hire will serve only to anger the coaches.

And so there remains only two truly effective solutions to the current problem:  The passage of time, which will result in an influx of owners who came of age in an increasingly open and diverse society, or the filing of a class-action lawsuit for racial discrimination.

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27 Responses to “Fritz Pollard Alliance calls for expansion of Rooney Rule”
  1. ajcard929 says: Jan 22, 2013 11:11 AM

    One thing that is bothering me is the perception that this is about giving an equal opportunity African-American or Blacks. My understanding is that this rule applied to minority candidates, which would include, I assume, Latin Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans. I am not sure what definition of minority the NFL uses in this rule’s language, but I believe it does indeed include these other ethnic groups. In my opinion, the constant and consistent use of Black or African American in reference to this rule is an inaccuracy. (Not saying PFT does this, just in general such as on ESPN).

    I don’t think many would question the intent of the Rooney Rule, or argue its principles. However, history and an understanding of human nature shows me that anytime people are forced to do anything, there will be some sort of resistance or backlash, regardless of the intent or net result of the transaction. A simple example is a child being forced to eat vegetables by a parent. Even though the net result is positive (better health), the child will usually resist because they feel that their freedom of choice is being taken away. What has proven to be most effective is incentivizing the child to eat vegetables using a positive reward system.

    In the NFL as in life, money talks. I would consider offering teams an administrative cost reduction or some other financial incentive that made sense each time a minority candidate was interviewed and a larger one when he was hired.

    I also struggle with the concept of the Rooney Rule as it pertains to the NFL. Shall its coaches mirror the ethnic makeup of the U.S.? The city of the team? The organization itself? The players? What would be the end game here? What is acceptable in the eyes of this rule’s defenders? What if we are actually at a point one day where racial discrimination in coaching is minimized or eliminated to some point and we have 95% white coaches? These are all questions that should be explored.

  2. FinFan68 says: Jan 22, 2013 11:37 AM

    The concept itself is absurd. People scream about equality and then try to legislate a reality that makes them feel better by overtly promoting one race over another. Their goal is worse than the perceived racism because it is confirmed racism cloaked in the PC sham of diversity. The best people for the jobs should get the jobs regardless of race. These folks are hypocrites. How diverse is the leadership or boards of these groups? I bet the percentage is actually better in the NFL.

  3. blackandbluedivision says: Jan 22, 2013 11:37 AM

    I think expanding the rule to include coordinators is a great step. The rule isn’t forcing owners to hire minority coaches. It’s asking them to interview them. If you’ve ever been on a job interview, you know how beneficial just an interview can be. You may not get the job. But, you get the experience of talking with an owner. Getting to know what he expects out of a head coach or coordinator and a feel where you stand. So if you don’t get it, you can go back and come up with a plan to get better. So the next interview…you will get it. Without this rule you’re just telling future minority coaches that they will only be good enough for a position coach.

    It’s not a problem for the owners. It’s up to the minority coaches. This rule is getting these coaches in the door. But, it is up to the coaches to seal the deal.

  4. uglytrog says: Jan 22, 2013 11:41 AM

    Hopefully they will also address the lack of White Players. How about a rule that says 60% of all players drafted or invite to training camp must be White? Teams can have any final roster make-up they want.

  5. blackandbluedivision says: Jan 22, 2013 11:43 AM

    Plain and simple. I think the rule should be expanded to coordinators and those who abuse the rule should be reported. You don’t have to hire a coach. But, you should at least respect the letter of it and properly interview a candidate.

  6. smacklayer says: Jan 22, 2013 11:43 AM

    Probably about 9 out of 10 of my comments are not posted. Who controls this? Is it totally random? Insightful meaning posts like mine are removed but leave idiotic steelers and farve comments in?

  7. smoochytherhino says: Jan 22, 2013 11:44 AM

    So we are deleting comments that disagree with the post now are we? No swearing; nothing inappropriate; just an opposing point of view. Lovely.

  8. heymister24 says: Jan 22, 2013 11:44 AM

    This is pathetic by florio. Everyday he bombards with diversity instead of football. I turn the tv on and I see 90% of players are black, where are the white guys? In california, whites are the minority, will there be a clooney rule for white guys? Speaking of florio’s class action crap, it will be white guys filing the lawsuit for discrimination.

  9. mightymightylafootball says: Jan 22, 2013 11:45 AM

    “Under the proposal, the rule would expand to coordinators, assistant head coaches, and team presidents”

    So the result would be…what? Still a sham, just a larger sham?

    “The idea that the league office often forces owners to conduct unnecessary interviews is more likely to create resentment than diversity.”

    Bingo. As does the daily ink spilled on this website railing against the phantom issue of racism in coaching hiring.

    “And so there remains only two truly effective solutions to the current problem: The passage of time, which will result in an influx of owners who came of age in an increasingly open and diverse society, or the filing of a class-action lawsuit for racial discrimination.”

    Spoken like a true lawyer.

    Florio, you run a great website. But you’re losing a lot of credibility with the frequency with which you beat the drum on this topic. It’s gotten to the point to where I don’t even have to check who the author is – it’s a forgone conclusion.

    Good gravy, sir – enough already.

  10. comatrip1 says: Jan 22, 2013 11:45 AM

    Maybe the 15 people hired were thought to be the best candidates for the position, regardless of skin color. I doubt any owner said, “He’s an amazing candidate, but he’s black so we can’t hire him.”

  11. RoofDude says: Jan 22, 2013 11:47 AM

    What in the world is so wrong with, The best person for the job…???????????

    Baffling. The owners cant actually stand up & voice disapproval for this rule as it unfairly paints them as racists. Although, the demographics of the players suggest that the BEST players will play. The majority of players are minorities.

    The same rule/s should apply. Best person for the job period. Regardless of race.

  12. raidersfolife says: Jan 22, 2013 11:51 AM

    Why does everyone keep posting that the best person should get the job? The Rooney Rule DOESNT force any team to hire a minority candidate. It simply states that every team must interview at least one minority candidate.

    So, my question is, “Why was this rule created?”

    Well, because minorities were not given an equal OPPORTUNITY to interview for the HC position.

    Personally, I dont want a job because of the color of my skin; and I am African-American. I want an OPPORTUNITY to compete for the position. If another person beats me for the position, so BE IT!!!

  13. stoolerz says: Jan 22, 2013 11:58 AM

    Only if every team is required to carry at least one white running back and one white receiver.

  14. CKL says: Jan 22, 2013 12:03 PM

    What ever happened to that minotiry coaching assistant program. I’m pretty sure the Pats had some coaching assistants who were there under that program.
    Anyway, the best way to increase a desired behavior in this case is to reward it, not punish those who don’t do it. So why not either bring back that minority assistant program and maye the incentive is the interested parties with diversity will fund some sort of “scholarship” or just pay them for a year. Team gets a free assistant, assistant gets to prove his mettle. Beleive me if a coach is a good one, he’ll find a job when he shows his stuff.

    Another idea, ask current minority assistants get involved in mentoring guys they think are promising. Guys like the Pats Pepper Johnson and Bryan Cox who I think is in TB. I can tell you that Pep is a fantastic coach and he’d be a great mentor. Cox would be good too I think.

    It’s the punishment for not following the rule that creates the resentment. Along with it doesn’t really make the minorities who are getting interviews only to satisfy the rule very happy. So it ISN’T working, not really.

    Is Dungy doing anything proactive about this or is he just complaining about what owners should be required to do? That guy…eyeroll.

  15. raiders757 says: Jan 22, 2013 12:11 PM

    Expand it?!!! You have got to be kidding me. It needs to be erased from the books, not expanded. It’s a joke, and in this day and age, an embarrassment. We’re well past the need to force teams to waste their time and the time of others to interview candidates that they might not have any possible interest in. The best candidate should always get the job no matter the color of their skin.

    Ajcard929 makes a good point as well. All this bologna seems to be focused only on black candidates. If they’re going to continue with this farce, they might as well force teams to interview one female candidate for every coaching position as well.

    …and this interview experience crap is nonsense. Every candidate in the NFL has already gained said experience interviewing for the job they already have within the league. It’s waste of everyone’s time interviewing people just for the sake of interviewing them.

  16. mancave001 says: Jan 22, 2013 12:16 PM

    Totally misguided. Allow coordinators and others to apply for all jobs…the teams will hire the most qualified person. This is 2013…no NFL team is going to hire someone less qualified b/c he’s white. So sick of this forced diversity. The Rooney Rule is absurd and racist.

  17. godofwine330 says: Jan 22, 2013 12:17 PM

    It would be ignorant to assume that the “Good ole boy” network isn’t alive and well, but at my job nepotism is the biggest stumbling block for anyone looking for advancement.

    CKL’s idea of a scholarship program so that every team gets one free assistant so that they cna learn, and maybe they get picked up the following year or not based on performance. It could work.

  18. ravenseattheirownpoop says: Jan 22, 2013 12:22 PM

    This is bullcrap!!! The owners of the team should not be forced to hire someone because of the color of their skin!!!
    Last time I checked the president of the United States was African American.
    If they are good enough, they will get the job. We don’t need rules to make the front offices hire people based on the color of their skin. This is turning into reverse discrimination.

  19. trackman12 says: Jan 22, 2013 12:23 PM

    Why can’t they just let the chips fall where they may? This will just lead to people being used as “props”

  20. ninerfan11 says: Jan 22, 2013 12:28 PM

    The reason most players are African American is because they generally have more talent and show it on the field in College and NFL. You don’t see talented white players get overlooked unless there is someone that is proven to be better based on results and not just a guess….and I think we can all accept that African Americans are naturally more athletic talented in general.

  21. r8rsfan says: Jan 22, 2013 12:39 PM

    So if this is really about equality for ALL, there should be a rule that every team brings in a white person to tryout for cornerback. Forget about that other person who’s a superior player but isn’t white, he doesn’t get a shot.
    You not only hire the best person for the job, you interview the people you think have the best potential to be hired.

  22. smilesaustin says: Jan 22, 2013 12:40 PM

    I agree with the idea of rewarding teams that are meeting certain objectives. The company I work for has a goal to have the same percentage of minority employees as the general population in the state we are located (currently ~6%). That goal is part of a series of metrics that determines the bonus structure for the entire company at the end of the year, so current employees have every motivation to refer their minority friends, and the hiring managers have every motivation to interview them. It’s a fair compromise, I think, which minimizes the idea of “reverse discrimination” by simply striving to be as diverse as the world around us, not more and not less.

    Applied to the NFL, you could have a similar structure where teams are rewarded a reasonable salary cap bonus each year for proving that their coaching staff is at least as diverse as the population of the United States. If 20% of the country is part of a minority group, then the goal would be for each team’s coaching staff to represent 20% of minorities. If they can prove they’ve done that, then they get a $3 million cap bonus (or they’re able to wipe out $3 million worth of dead money on the cap for the current season). If not, then they’re at a disadvantage to the teams who are complying.

    I understand the obvious issue here that this system doesn’t help minorities obtain head coaching or coordinator positions. They could line their numbers with assistants and strength and conditioning coaches and never even interview a minority for one of the higher paid jobs. My response to that is simple: with the stakes as high as they are in today’s NFL, I’ve got to believe that good minority coaching candidates are getting a fair shake. Hiring an NFL coach is not the same as hiring a clerk at a gas station – I can’t envision someone passing up a guy like Lovie Smith for a HC or Coordinator position just because of the color of his skin. Maybe that’s just me being young and ignorant, not understanding how the older generation like Jerry Jones works, but I just can’t envision holding back a billion-dollar company because you’re a racist. I would think the easy punishment here is that teams who are picking their coaches purely by merit would clearly be better than teams that are not.

  23. dryzzt23 says: Jan 22, 2013 12:47 PM

    The Roomey Rule is a sham. African-American eh? What if a coach is white, but he was born in South Africa or one or both of his parents are from South Africa…..would he also qualify as a minority due to his “African-American” status? OR would they amend the Rooney Rule to specifically limit “African-American” to blacks?
    Where are the NATIVE AMERICANS in all this?
    No one EVER advances the cause of hiring more NATIVE AMERICANS.
    Oh and “diversity” means the sharing of one’s ideas and philosophy, not skin color. DO all white coaches have the same ideas and football philosophy? No they don’t so the perception should not be that football will be better solely based on skin color.
    End of rant.

  24. JSpicoli says: Jan 22, 2013 2:37 PM

    ninerfan11 says:Jan 22, 2013 12:28 PM

    The reason most players are African American is because they generally have more talent and show it on the field in College and NFL. You don’t see talented white players get overlooked unless there is someone that is proven to be better based on results and not just a guess….and I think we can all accept that African Americans are naturally more athletic talented in general.

    __________________________________

    Baseball called and asked why there is no such thing as a 5 tool player in Football?

    If you need someone to run a straight line, you are correct. Then take a look at the top 3 decathletes from the past 40 years of Olympics.

  25. ubepunkedagain says: Jan 22, 2013 10:29 PM

    Yes..whoever edits these is a punk. I wrote a logical, clear response to the article and like so many was removed. There was no bad words and nothing harsh but I guess the editor doesn’t like common sense or any comment contradicting his opinion. Must be a control freak..bet she has something on the side weirdo. Quit stalking my comments.

  26. dietrich43 says: Jan 22, 2013 11:22 PM

    Will the NFL help teams line up sham interviews for these positions like they use to bring out Art Shell for the token hc interview? If the Owners think this is so important, why not mandate then when a team is sold, at least one minority lead ownership group be allowed to make a bid? And if the Fritz Pollard alliance is so behind this initiative, what will they do to help it along and advance minority coaches? Or will they continue with their usual tactic of complaning and criticizing someone else’s decision while offering no help or improvements?

  27. unkleruckus says: Jan 23, 2013 7:37 AM

    Baseball called and asked why there is no such thing as a 5 tool player in Football?

    If you need someone to run a straight line, you are correct. Then take a look at the top 3 decathletes from the past 40 years of Olympics.

    I will take a look. If you will give me a list of the top golfer, basketball player, etc…. I understand the fear. American White men once upon a time dominated every sport , now they don’t dominate any. Hockey (Canadians) baseball (Latinos ), golf (euros, and the best in the world is black), basketball, football, track and field , boxing, etc… I guess there is still bowling.

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