The Miami Dolphins recently hired Mike Tannenbaum to serve as the team’s executive V.P. of football operations. As explained originally by the team, G.M. Dennis Hickey will report to Tannenbaum. Then, after questions were posed to the league and the team regarding whether the Tannenbaum hire complied with the Rooney Rule, which requires at least one minority candidate to be interviewed for a team’s senior football operations position, the league explained that the Dolphins didn’t mean to say what they said when they said Hickey will report to Tannenbaum.
Now, the Fritz Pollard Alliance wants someone to say more about what precisely the Dolphins have done in hiring Tannenbaum.
“We believe the Dolphins need to clarify Tannebaum’s role such as what role he has controlling the draft board and his overall duties and responsibilities,” Fritz Pollard Alliance counsel Cyrus Mehri told PFT via email on Saturday. “Further, they need to explain, given his title, why they think the Rooney Rule does not apply. It appears the Rule applies given his title, but they mistakenly thought it didn’t. If they made a mistake they should own up to it. At this point they have a lot of explaining to do and the FPA is working with the League to try to get answers.”
Mehri, who was instrumental in creating the Rooney Rule more than a decade ago, appears to be right. The Dolphins may have simply not considered the potential application of the Rooney Rule to Tannenbaum, forcing the team and the league to scramble once the issue was raised. Instead of admitting the error, the Dolphins and the league arguably have worked together to navigate around it. Whatever the actual truth, it’s good that Mehri and the Fritz Pollard Alliance are working hard to figure it out.