As the Miami Dolphins prepare to start the process of interviewing for the replacement to G.M. Jeff Ireland, the organization responsible for promoting minority hiring in football has a word of caution for its constituency: Don’t do it.
According to the Miami Herald, the Fritz Pollard Alliance recommends that minority candidates decline to interview for the General Manager position unless it will be a “real” G.M. position.
“If it’s just going to be a personnel guy, my opinion is our guys don’t need to be going in and taking those interviews, ” John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, told the Herald. “I don’t know if the new people [owner Stephen] Ross is interviewing are going to be true general managers.”
Wooten specifically is concerned that the next G.M. will essentially have the job that was offered to Ireland before he left the team — a position without ultimate authority.
“[You're] now going to have the same position that you’re offering Jeff Ireland?” Wooten said. “Then our guys need to stay where they are.”
While we agree that no candidates should interview for a job without full information about what the duties will be, the idea of rejecting a General Manager’s job because it amounts to what’s known in league circles as “G.M. Light” would be a mistake.
For most if not all of the candidates linked to the Miami job, “G.M. Light” would be a promotion. Basically, “G.M. Light” is better than no G.M. at all.
Under Wooten’s theory, minority candidates also should pass on the chance to become “G.M. Light” in Tampa, where coach Lovie Smith reportedly has control over the roster. Throughout the league, teams have General Managers and Vice Presidents of Player Personnel who don’t have final say over the roster. From the Patriots to the Steelers (sort of) to the Chiefs to the Eagles to the Rams, plenty of General Managers don’t hold full and complete control.
If Wooten is going to apply that standard in Miami, then Wooten needs to apply that standard to every other team that uses a “G.M. Light.”
Regardless, the Dolphins have become the target. And if no minority candidates will interview for the job, the Dolphins won’t be able to comply with the Rooney Rule, which requires that at least one minority candidate be interviewed for every vacant coach and G.M. position.
UPDATE 8:25 p.m. ET: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has issued a statement explaining that the G.M. position will entail full control over the roster.