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John Wooten proud of growing NFL diversity

AP

At least in title, Doug Williams is now in charge of personnel in Washington.

And for the man who has fought for opportunities for minorities in football, it marked a high point, so far.

Via Peter King of TheMMQB.com, Fritz Pollard Alliance chairman John Wooten felt a since of pride with Williams’ being named senior vice president of player personnel.

“It’s so gratifying,” Wooten said. “It tells me how far we’ve come as a league. I will never forget, years ago, when [Dallas president] Tex Schramm said to me, ‘You’re trying to tell us who to hire!’ I said, ‘No, Tex. We simply want a chance to interview for these jobs.’ And now, everyone is just trying to do what they can to make equal opportunity in coaching and the front office a reality.”

Williams’ hiring is significant for several reasons, beginning with the fact he once quarterbacked the team to a Super Bowl title. But he’s also breaking ground in the front office for the team which was the last to integrate, and which has never had a minority as the top personnel executive. (While team president Bruce Allen’s probably still in charge, Williams nonetheless has the top title in the personnel side.)

He also brings to 15 the number of minorities who hold top positions on the field or in the front office, and that number was just 10 in 2013.

Eight current NFL coaches come from minority backgrounds: Ron Rivera (Panthers), Marvin Lewis (Bengals), Hue Jackson (Browns), Vance Joseph (Broncos), Jim Caldwell (Lions), Anthony Lynn (Chargers), Todd Bowles ) Jets), and Mike Tomlin (Steelers).

Wooten also lists seven minorities as holding top personnel jobs. While titles and internal hierarchies differ from team to team, he’s counting Ozzie Newsome (Ravens), Sashi Brown (Browns), Rick Smith (Texans), Reggie McKenzie (Raiders), Chris Grier (Dolphins), Jerry Reese (Giants), and Williams.

Again, not all of those guys have final say over the rosters, but the growing ranks of minorities in personnel departments brings Williams back to the lessons he learned from his legendary coach at Grambling.

“Eddie Robinson never said, ‘You can do this because you’re black,’” Williams said. “He said, ‘If you’re ever going to get a chance, you’re going to get a chance in America.’ And here it is.”

And while the system is far from fixed, and the field is far from level, there is at least progress in the area Wooten has fought for.

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41 Responses to “John Wooten proud of growing NFL diversity”
  1. atthemurph says: Jun 19, 2017 6:52 AM

    “Diversity” is a goal for what reason exactly?

    If we are all equal then “diversity” is meaningless.

  2. exinsidetrader says: Jun 19, 2017 6:53 AM

    This is an example of the insanity of Left-wing thinking. The only diversity that should matter is the one the Left refuses to allow — diversity of thought. How about you hire the best person for the job and leave it at that and not make an issue about their race?

    Seeing everything through the lens of race results in division and increased racial strife. The last eight years proved that.

  3. cuda1234 says: Jun 19, 2017 6:55 AM

    Don’t blacks hold 80% of NFL jobs? And doesn’t that make whites the minority? Where’s the effort to diversify that work force?

  4. yourunclerico says: Jun 19, 2017 6:58 AM

    pathetic.
    quotas are not the way to success
    stop seeing race and gender if you really want to stop racism/sexism.
    no special passes for anyone based on their skin color or genitals.

  5. lingsun54 says: Jun 19, 2017 7:26 AM

    I couldn’t care less about the color of anyone in any position. I want the best person hired for the job regardless of color. We’re already at the point when black people can be hired and fired without charges of racism. Although if there’s a black person without a job that some writer thinks should have a job then they always play the race card.

  6. denverdave3 says: Jun 19, 2017 7:31 AM

    It’s good to see Martin Luther King’s credo about “content of character” being observed, but unfortunately there’s no shortage of bigotry as nearly everybody finds somebody to hate.

    In part, Sly Stone said it this way about 50 years ago and it still applies.
    “There is a yellow one
    That won’t accept the black one
    That won’t accept the red one
    That won’t accept the white one

  7. f1restarter says: Jun 19, 2017 7:47 AM

    No mention of “diversity” for running backs and cornerbacks? Something must be done about this obvious injustice.

  8. lioninthehouse says: Jun 19, 2017 7:49 AM

    Just curious, Darin,

    With regard to “And while the system is far from fixed, and the field is far from level, …”

    You threw it out there, so how do YOU define “level”?

    Based on the country’s demographics? Or a state’s?
    Based on the NFL’s player demographics?
    Based on how you “feel”?

    C’mon, Darin. Tell us. I’m really curious.

  9. blowfishes says: Jun 19, 2017 7:56 AM

    How long before NFL teams are obligated to interview women for all staff vacancies? I’m not against anyone applying for positions, but teams should appoint the best person rather than have to go through pointless interviews with a candidate that is only there because they meet certain criteria. How many times has the media reported their views on whether a candidate was really in with a shot of the position or if they’re only their to meet policy?

  10. 700levelvet says: Jun 19, 2017 8:01 AM

    It’s simply a ill conceived Dan Snyder PR ploy…. Nothing against Doug Williams, he’s a good guy. But this is the owners mantra.. Be it free agent signings, executive promotions or whatever… He owns a business that at this time, has no downside… Profit, 365 days a year. He’s known this and exploited this since when he bought the team from a great owner…Everything in Redskins land is a gimmick…

  11. pat123438 says: Jun 19, 2017 8:04 AM

    “And while the system is far from fixed, and the field is far from level…”

    Please, tell us exactly what would ‘fix’ the system and make the field ‘level’ in your enlightened eyes??? Explain this…

  12. absolutevisuals says: Jun 19, 2017 8:12 AM

    It’s only 54 years since black people were allowed to vote, and about 39-40 years years since Warren Moon was initially told by NFL scouts he couldn’t be a QB in the NFL and to switch to receiver, because of racism and eugenics.

    So yeah, it is actual progress and not race politics or whatever faux-outrage somebody is going to come up with.

  13. myspaceyourface says: Jun 19, 2017 8:12 AM

    When will the NFL mandate diversity in teams draft day selections? The NFL may have to cut back to 6 rounds or add a round to make 8 (LOL)

    Keep everything even.

    When will the NFL mandate diversity in the players they put on the field?

  14. streetyson says: Jun 19, 2017 8:13 AM

    Happy for Doug but I think Kevin Warren – the Chief Operating Officer of the Vikings, who was also previousy VP of player programs and football legal counsel for the Rams, has pushed higher/deeper/longer into NFL exec levels.

    I doubt the Rooney Rule had that much impact – I see the waterhsed as earlier, as being inevitable that once high numbers of black players got into the league (and in line with the overall civil rights movement etc) that black coaches and execs would later follow organically. To me the Rooney Rule is a symptom growing out of all that rather than a cause/origin.

  15. pkrlvr says: Jun 19, 2017 8:22 AM

    Diversity goes both ways. About 11 percent of the population is black, yet 25% of coaches are black and about 80% of the players are. At what point are they still minorities in the football world?

  16. factschecker says: Jun 19, 2017 8:27 AM

    I see that general intelligence must be wandering into the realm of being a minority.

  17. fwippel says: Jun 19, 2017 8:29 AM

    True diversity will be achieved when people (led by media outlets doing the reporting) stop paying attention to what race, sex, national origin or any other thing that would qualify one with minority status someone may be, and focus the conversation on qualifications and character.

    “Eddie Robinson never said, ‘You can do this because you’re black,’” Williams said. “He said, ‘If you’re ever going to get a chance, you’re going to get a chance in America.’ And here it is.”

    Hats off to our nation, a nation that fixes its problems better than any that has ever existed.

  18. 4sacroc says: Jun 19, 2017 8:34 AM

    No diversity on the playing field though is there?

    Funny how best talent wins a roster spot, but we must have diversity (affirmative action) in front office, which doesn’t equate to best talent in each case.

  19. dcpatfan says: Jun 19, 2017 9:13 AM

    exinsidetrader says:
    Seeing everything through the lens of race results in division and increased racial strife.
    ________________________
    …you made the bed…..lay in it.

  20. dcpatfan says: Jun 19, 2017 9:17 AM

    ….but hey! we can eat at the same lunch counter now so I guess were making some kinda progress!

  21. tim8450 says: Jun 19, 2017 9:41 AM

    I see a lot of white guys that seem to be afraid that if black candidates are given an equal opportunity to interview for jobs, then maybe these candidates can get the jobs. Fear & racism, still alive and well.

    Just be the best candidate and it won’t matter who interviews, but at least grant equal access to the interview process. That doesn’t seem so outrageous to me. The arguments against this practice fall apart so quickly when you start to peel back the layers.

  22. nbptma says: Jun 19, 2017 9:41 AM

    This is liberal media blah, blah, blah.

    Really? we need diversity in football? What a joke!

    Why is it that the liberal media always cite the racial mix of coaches and front office staff and NEVER refer to the 70% of players in the league being black???

    Hire the best.

  23. tim8450 says: Jun 19, 2017 9:53 AM

    nbptma says:
    Jun 19, 2017 9:41 AM

    … Why is it that the liberal media always cite the racial mix of coaches and front office staff and NEVER refer to the 70% of players in the league being black???

    It’s because players are picked based on measurable performance and front office professionals were historically picked by whether they “look the part”.

    The fact that there are so many excellent minority players, and so few in the office positions, pretty much supports that point, doesn’t it?

  24. 4sacroc says: Jun 19, 2017 10:29 AM

    I’m certain all of those kids at SU Newhouse School and NU just love seeing the illiterate clowns masquerading as journalists/broadcasters at BSPN. Same with the good ones recently laid off.

    Forced diversity = driving audience away.

  25. coutre says: Jun 19, 2017 10:47 AM

    Does John Wooten realize that the majority of league office jobs are completely made up so that minorities can be placed into them?
    Take Troy Vincent’s department. He has hired a bunch of minorities in a bunch of completely made up jobs that have zero responsibilities except showing up every day and pretending to look busy. Look at Kim Field, Rod Graves, Damani Leech, Jamil Northcutt, Dawn Aponte….all of these minorities have jobs that are no more than titles. The NFL would be better off w/out these failures taking up office space.
    Is this good for the NFL or culture? How come no one else gets these “opportunities”?
    Sure…owners make up job titles for their family, but nepotism and affirmative action are terrible for morale, and are short-term and long-term company killers.
    Hire people that know what they are doing. Hire smart people. Hire successful people.
    Don’t hire to fill or create quotas. Don’t hire just to make John Wooten happen. This just reinforces the culture of entitlement.

  26. pigchampion says: Jun 19, 2017 10:47 AM

    so guys like Jeff Fisher, Rex Ryan, Brad Childress, Kevin Gilbride , Bruce Coslett , Les Steckell. Dave Campano Marty Morningwhig , Mike tannenbaum, , John Idzik were always the best candidates according to most of the viewers here.

    interesting takes.

  27. patsfan4lifesbchamps says: Jun 19, 2017 11:04 AM

    Hopefully my New England Patriots are taking notes. We could use a little more diversity at Foxborough.

  28. Phoenix11 says: Jun 19, 2017 12:01 PM

    Why is it when we say minority its essentially blacks… nots Latinos not Asians or any other ethnicity. No outrage that Rivera is the only Latino, even bunch him up with all the other coaches…

  29. alonestartexan says: Jun 19, 2017 12:15 PM

    absolutevisuals says:
    Jun 19, 2017 8:12 AM
    39-40 years years since Warren Moon was initially told by NFL scouts he couldn’t be a QB in the NFL and to switch to receiver, because of racism and eugenics.

    ——-

    Lol, the year Warren Moon was eligible for the draft and was being asked, as you put it, to move to receiver (which makes no sense considering how damn slow he was) Doug Williams was starting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Let’s not forget George Taliaferro, Marlin Briscoe, Eldridge Dickey, James Harris, and Joe Gilliam before him.

    But let’s keep thinking Moon went to Canada because of racism. 😏

  30. silvernblacksabbath says: Jun 19, 2017 12:34 PM

    tim8450 says:
    Jun 19, 2017 9:53 AM

    The fact that there are so many excellent minority players, and so few in the office positions, pretty much supports that point, doesn’t it?
    ————————————————-
    Not at all… Let’s let Pac Man Jones be a coach shall we?… lol

  31. silvernblacksabbath says: Jun 19, 2017 12:35 PM

    Phoenix11 says:
    Jun 19, 2017 12:01 PM

    Why is it when we say minority its essentially blacks… nots Latinos not Asians or any other ethnicity. No outrage that Rivera is the only Latino, even bunch him up with all the other coaches…
    —————————-
    And no Tom Flores or Jim Plunkett in the Hall of Fame.. Both have 2 RINGS!

  32. heymister24 says: Jun 19, 2017 12:51 PM

    Minority white players should file a discrimination suit.

  33. thedoctlc says: Jun 19, 2017 12:53 PM

    “Diversity” is a goal for what reason exactly?

    If we are all equal then “diversity” is meaningless.

    ==================================

    News flash Mr. White Privilege: we’re NOT all equal.

  34. damcmp says: Jun 19, 2017 1:01 PM

    half those teams suck!!!!

  35. LakefrontLegend says: Jun 19, 2017 2:11 PM

    Bring up diversity and people get so threatened. Some of these comments are comedic gold.

  36. manderson4150 says: Jun 19, 2017 2:12 PM

    Why isn’t John mentioning the lack of white DB’s and safeties……I for one will not be satisfied until this matter is addressed….

  37. raideralex99 says: Jun 19, 2017 2:58 PM

    patsfan4lifesbchamps says:
    Jun 19, 2017 11:04 AM
    Hopefully my New England Patriots are taking notes. We could use a little more diversity at Foxborough.

    ************************************************
    I remember a few years back when Jason Whitlock wrote an article saying the teams that have the most white players have the best winning record. The Pats were #1 … now we know Belichick’s secret … diversity.

  38. tim8450 says: Jun 19, 2017 3:15 PM

    The Patriots are only lacking in this area because some of their successful coaches, Pepper Johnson, Romeo Crennel and others have been poached by teams who want the success they had with the Patriots.

    Nice try though.

  39. Phoenix11 says: Jun 19, 2017 3:18 PM

    LakefrontLegend says:
    Jun 19, 2017 2:11 PM

    Bring up diversity and people get so threatened. Some of these comments are comedic gold.
    _____________________________

    When adding “diversity” only really refers to blacks. Again, where’s the outrage for Latinos and Asians being underrepresent in all aspects of the sport? Seems only one race is identified as a victim.

    In the end should equality of opportunity (best man for the job), not a quota of whats perceived as under-represented which again isn’t even blacks…

  40. aj66shanghai says: Jun 19, 2017 3:47 PM

    Lots of false equivalencies and straw man arguments. To be expected, in a country where there are more people that despise higher education than there are that aspire to it.

    Forget all your trigger words, snowflake nation, and find your safe space. There’s no quota, no affirmative action, no identity politics. Just a simple way to gently ensure that black men around the league get to sit in a chair and have a chance to prove they are the best guy for the job. Nobody is forced to hire anyone, everyone gets to choose who they think is the best candidate.

  41. jgedgar70 says: Jun 20, 2017 9:12 AM

    This is a very complex issue, with no simple answer.

    Sometimes the Rooney Rule is a farce, as the hiring manager already knows who he wants to hire, and that person happens to be a white guy, but we have to find someone to meet the requirements of the rule. Such an interview is a colossal waste of time.

    On the other hand, there is a case for the rule – when a hiring manager doesn’t look outside his own comfort zone. This hiring manager will only consider those he has been around for many years, and a lot of white folks have only been around other white folks most of their lives. These people could be shut out of some opportunities – not because the hiring manager hates black people, but because he isn’t familiar with black people’s work because he’s never been around them much and doesn’t know what their qualifications are, and just hires someone he already knows. In these cases, the Rooney Rule can be useful.

    One day, we will reach the point where whites in powerful positions no longer need quotas or Rooney Rules to ensure everyone has equal opportunities. For now, there are enough of us white guys that still live in caves and don’t know jack squat about any other ethnicity that need exposure to people that don’t look or think like them.

    Like I said, it’s complex and complicated. The best I can do on an individual basis is treat everyone fairly, and use my connections with other groups to educate myself on their world and avoid being ignorant.

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