A process about which most had forgotten finally came to an end on Monday, when the Chiefs (as expected from the get-go) named Brett Veach their new General Manager.
With the big-picture question answered, there’s still one nagging issue about a job search that went largely unnoticed and unscrutinized, even though it played out during the slowest time on the calendar for NFL news.
Who did the Chiefs interview to comply with the Rooney Rule?
The team didn’t announce an interview with a minority candidate, and published reports had disclosed only four total interviewees: Veach, Seahawks co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer, Titans director of player personnel Ryan Cowden, and Chiefs co-director of player personnel Mike Borgonzi.
Team spokesman Ted Crews tells PFT that the Chiefs interviewed two minority candidates. The Chiefs have not yet disclosed the name of either candidate.
ESPN’s Louis Riddick reportedly was a candidate, even if he publicly (and stridently) denied it. Some believe that he did indeed receive an interview, which would have constituted compliance with the Rooney Rule.
At this point no one knows whether Riddick did or didn’t get an interview because the team has neither announced it nor leaked it to the media conglomerate that the Chiefs partially own.
If the Chiefs never announce or leak the name(s), it won’t be the first time that has happened. This year.
The Jaguars hired Tom Coughlin to serve as executive V.P. of football operations at a time when it wasn’t even widely known the Jaguars were looking to fill that job. The team and the league claimed that the organization complied with the Rooney Rule, and that was the end of it.
A lack of transparency doesn’t seem to fit with the spirit of a rule that champions inclusiveness and diversity in a job search and, ultimately, more opportunities for the minority candidates who receive interviews for high-profile, powerful jobs. But if the team and the league are committed to silence, if the candidates are on board with that approach, and if the ever-growing army of reporters working for the media conglomerate partially owned by the team aren’t willing or able to work their network of sources to get to the truth, we all need to get used to a new normal that includes mystery compliance with the Rooney Rule on a routine basis.