Raiders will be latest team to find a way around the Rooney Rule

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Whether you like the Rooney Rule or not, it remains in place. Which means that teams must comply with it, or face the consequences.

Which means that the Raiders, who are expected to hire Jon Gruden to replace Jack Del Rio, have a problem.

But here’s the thing: It’s become incredibly easy to comply with it.

After a few potholes early in the life of the provision that requires every team with a coaching vacancy to interview at least one minority candidate (e.g., a phone interview of Dennis Green by the Cowboys before hiring Bill Parcells in 2002, and no interview by the Lions before hiring Steve Mariucci in 2003), teams have figured out how to check the box.

Even when it’s clear that a team has decided who it wants to hire, assistant coaches who hope to get their name in circulation and/or to perhaps secure favorable consideration for future jobs by helping the league avoid an awkward spot now will be happy to accept an interview for a job they know they won’t get. As to a job that seems to be on track to be filled quickly by a candidate who has been flagged as the next coach of the team by his current employer, there’s always a chance the team pre-complied with the Rooney Rule by secretly interviewing a current member of the staff or a candidate who currently is not attached to any NFL team.

Regardless, expect news to emerge quickly of the Raiders either interviewing someone soon or already interviewing someone, securing compliance with the Rooney Rule and avoiding any problems with the league.

50 responses to “Raiders will be latest team to find a way around the Rooney Rule

  1. The Raiders currently have a Black GM (Reggie McKenzie). And in their history they were the first team to ever hire a Hispanic HC (Tom Flores) and the first team in the modern era to hire a Black HC (Art Shell).

    I stopped defending Al Davis in his last 15 years and I think Son-of-Al is a horrible owner. But in light of above history, any attempt to link the Raiders with violations of the “spirit of the Rooney Rule” is ridiculous.

  2. The Rooney Rule is outdated. Owners will hire the best people they think for the job, regardless of skin color. Wins and Money mean more than the skin color of those getting the wins and helping fill the pocket of the owner.

  3. araidersfan says:
    January 1, 2018 at 11:45 am
    The Raiders currently have a Black GM (Reggie McKenzie). And in their history they were the first team to ever hire a Hispanic HC (Tom Flores) and the first team in the modern era to hire a Black HC (Art Shell).
    I stopped defending Al Davis in his last 15 years and I think Son-of-Al is a horrible owner. But in light of above history, any attempt to link the Raiders with violations of the “spirit of the Rooney Rule” is ridiculous.

    ******
    …and the first woman CEO, Amy Trask.

    My question is haven’t we been speculating about Jon Gruden coming out of retirement for about a decade? Let’s not put the cart before the horse.

  4. The Rooney Rule is ridiculous. But when the Raiders “interview” Art Shell today over the phone for 10 minutes the Fritz-Pollard Alliance can pat themselves on the back for all the good work they’re doing.

  5. For a $100K “donation” to his cause, Jesse Jackson will interview for any job. There is the out for all the teams hiring coaches.

  6. Hey, the Raiders have a strong history of minority hiring in key positions, but call it what you want, and despite that history, it’s still a violation of the spirit of the rule. That’s like saying it’s okay not to interview/hire a minority cause you’ve got a bunch of minority friends.

  7. Can the Bengals comply by saying they interviewed Marvin Lewis, today, since he is not under contract?

  8. For the minority interviewee, even though – by appearances sake – the job looks to be taken, it is still an excellent opportunity to get your name in the consideration ring (for other positions), as well as practicing for an actual interview later this offseason or in the future. Regardless of the profession, practicing interviewing for a potential promotion is invaluable. You get to learn about another organization, on their dime no less, talk football for several hours and gain knowledge and experience that otherwise would not have been acquired. Heck, it may even lead to a salary increase with the present organization.

    I don’t think it’s nearly the injustice some make it out to be.

  9. 1.Teams act in their best interest. 2. The Rooney Rule presumes they don’t and that they don’t because they are racist.

    It is time for the un-American Rooney Rule to go. It is unconstitutional anyway.

  10. Without the Rooney Rule Mike Tomlin might not be the Steelers coach. They were set to hire Russ Grimm. The rule is there for a reason. The NFL has too many old recycled white guys that get too many chances. You all are correct about the raiders and their support for minorities. Just watch the crowd shots at their games.
    Meanwhile, I am nominating Amy Trask for NFL commissioner. Bye Roger.

  11. No one cares except the media about this stupid rule. Im a “minority” and I would be deeply offended if somone interviewed me just to meet some stupid rule requirement. Id be mad they wasted my time. Give the job to the best person, white, black, hispanic,etc.

  12. So Tony Dungy can make sure a black coach (Caldwell) takes over for him and they don’t have to interview a white coach before it happens, reverse discrimination and racism against white coaches on full display. I’m so sick of this double standard garbage

  13. So in other words, it advances the cause of equality for the Raiders to insult a minority coach by using him as a token in the NFL’s ongoing quest to comply with the PC police?

    This is another prime example of process trumping common sense.

  14. THERE’S A WIDE MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE ROONEY RULE.

    The “Rooney Rule” IS NOT INTENDED TO GET MINORITY CANDIDATES IMMEDIATE COACHING/EXECUTIVE OPENINGS.

    It’s designed to get minority coaches out there and familiar with the Owners and GM’s out there.

    Head Coaches and GMs are often as much for their professional experience and accomplishments as well as how comfortable the Owner, Front Office/GMs believe they can work with the potential new hire. While I won’t debate to what degree professional racism exists, much of the segregation of minority coaches and executives comes from simple social segregation. There are quite a number of 2nd and 3rd generation coaches and even some executives. Even Bill Bellichick is the son of a famous football scout. Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan are both sons of former prominent NFL coaches and executives. Now both of their coaching skills and accomplishments warrants their current head coaching opportunities but doors were initially opened for them because of the relationships their families had in the NFL (at least I’m certain of that in Shanahan’s case). If familiarity with HC/Executive candidates plays a significant role, then getting minority candidates in front of Owners and Front Offices to help foster more familiarity with some minority candidates.

    So those token interviews for candidates that have no chance at getting an open position are really interviewing so that they gain exposure to Owners/Front Offices for future positions.

  15. It’s a very stupid rule. It should go by qualifications, and who the GM/Owner wants, not the color of skin. That’s the issue with this world these days, crap like this just tells everyone that they should be considered for something because of their skin color, thus the race card gets thrown on the table every chance it can.

  16. steelersteven says
    You all are correct about the raiders and their support for minorities. Just watch the crowd shots at their games.

    Watch the crowd when they move to Vegas…it ain’t Oakland.

  17. The only abuse of the rule is when a team interviews a clearly unqualified internal candidate for the purpose of getting official compliance.

    If a team takes the time and interviews an actual qualified candidate then they are in compliance with the letter and spirit of the rule.

    The idea is that someone like Mike Tomlin interviews with the Raiders then it allows them to be seen by other teams as a quality candidate if he doesn’t get the Raiders job, this in tern allows him to become a more viable candidate in future jobs if he isn’t successful with the initial interview. Ultimately the Raiders still hire who they want and if Tomlin is actually a good candidate it’s more likely he will get a future opening which would make the league better if he was a good candidate and a good coach that would have otherwise gone under the radar.

    The problem with the implementation of the rule is that teams don’t want to spent time interviewing candidates that they don’t consider viabile for their opening so they go with their shortlist and if their shortlist doesnt’ comply with the Rooney rule they will often tack on some RB/LB coach that isn’t even considered a strong contender for an offensive or defensive co-ordination position.

    Really the NFL either needs to get rid of the rule or actually make it so that compliance needs to be certified by the league and they have the right to reject clearly non-viable candidates as being in compliance with the rule. The way it is, isn’t actually working in a manner that suits anyone.

  18. “steelersteven says:
    January 1, 2018 at 12:10 pm
    Without the Rooney Rule Mike Tomlin might not be the Steelers coach. They were set to hire Russ Grimm. The rule is there for a reason. The NFL has too many old recycled white guys that get too many chances. You all are correct about the raiders and their support for minorities. Just watch the crowd shots at their games.
    Meanwhile, I am nominating Amy Trask for NFL commissioner. Bye Roger.”

    That is legit fake news since Ron Rivera was interviewed before Tomlin and his interview complied with the Rooney rule and in that case you could say the rule may not have worked as intended since it took Rivera another four full seasons before he got a head coaching job despite how good that Bears D was in 06.

  19. Time to stop beating the drum over this antiquated rule. Owners want to win. Period. They will hire whomever they feel gives them the best opportunity to do so. White, black, brown, purple, green or plaid – it doesn’t matter.

  20. allforfunnplay says:
    January 1, 2018 at 12:21 pm
    THERE’S A WIDE MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE ROONEY RULE.

    The “Rooney Rule” IS NOT INTENDED TO GET MINORITY CANDIDATES IMMEDIATE COACHING/EXECUTIVE OPENINGS.

    It’s designed to get minority coaches out there and familiar with the Owners and GM’s out there

    ———————————–

    So do hosted workshops or something instead, but take it out of the interview process and stop the kabuki-compliance dance that takes place every time an owner wants to hire a person who isn’t a minority.

  21. the previous lack of minority HCs was due to the lack minority coordinators and position coaches……now that there are more minorities in those positions more are getting shots at HC….the rooney rule was a joke…..the program that actually helped was the one that groomed them from player to position coaches

  22. Not long after The Raiders hired the first black HC, they also became the first team to fire a black HC. As Bum Phillips famously said after being fired by the Oilers, “there ain’t but two kind of coaches. Them that are fired, and them that are gonna be.”

  23. Regardless of the Rooney Rule, can we have an article or two about how stupid it is to hire Jon Gruden as an NFL head coach in 2018? The guy’s a television beer commercial actor now, not a professional head coach. He’ll drag that team right down the Turkey Hole.

  24. What the Rooney rule fails to acknowledge is what about all the other qualified candidates regardless of race or color who did not get a fair shot at an interview?

    What if the rule extended to – you must interview one offensive minded coach and one defensive minded coach, you have to interview at least one current coordinator and one current college coach, you must interview at least one former head coach etc…

    Instead of focusing on race, focus on actual experiences thus creating a more diverse pool of candidates

  25. averagjoe says:
    January 1, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Not long after The Raiders hired the first black HC, they also became the first team to fire a black HC.

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

    Not sure what you’re getting at by “not long after” but Art Shell was hired for his 1st stint as Raiders HC 4 games into the 1989 season and he was fired by the Raiders after the 1994 season. That’s almost SIX full years as Raiders HC in his 1st stint which is longer than the average duration for an NFL HC and longer than any Raiders HC since that time (including Gruden’s 1st stint as Raiders HC).

  26. Rooney Rule is ridiculous. Any type of preferential treatment based on skin color is racist and should be highly illegal.

  27. It doesn’t surprise me that minority candidates are not averse to going along with the nude-nudge wink-wink nature of Rooney Rule interviews. Both sides are realistic and understand that these interviews are generally not relevant for the current job. Instead, they get a candidate’s name in circulation for consideration of future positions, as you mentioned. I honestly think as far as these types of employment equity initiatives go, it’s a pretty good one. There is clear benefit for the target group while not being overly restrictive to employers. Where’s the problem?

  28. When does it end, all this yelling about equality , exactly what is the percentage of men of color on the NFL roster?

  29. Here’s a good idea. There are a lot of white scouts and black scouts around the league. Some will eventually be promoted to GM jobs. It’s hard for any owner to know which ones are the best talent evaluators because they don’t have any kind of system in place for keeping track of hits and misses. How do we know Babe Ruth and Ted Williams were great baseball players? Because someone was keeping stats. Owners would gladly hire a black scout to run his organization if he knew this scout had a better record of hits and misses than the white scouts. These owners pay hundreds of millions of dollars in salaries to black men over the years. They’ll hire whoever they think will make them a winner. Babe Ruth might still be sitting on the bench because he didn’t have Ron Wolf pushing his name.

  30. bjwbrown2011 says:

    January 1, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    “steelersteven says:
    January 1, 2018 at 12:10 pm
    Without the Rooney Rule Mike Tomlin might not be the Steelers coach. They were set to hire Russ Grimm. The rule is there for a reason. The NFL has too many old recycled white guys that get too many chances. You all are correct about the raiders and their support for minorities. Just watch the crowd shots at their games.
    Meanwhile, I am nominating Amy Trask for NFL commissioner. Bye Roger.”
    ****************************
    That is legit fake news since Ron Rivera was interviewed before Tomlin and his interview complied with the Rooney rule and in that case you could say the rule may not have worked as intended since it took Rivera another four full seasons before he got a head coaching job despite how good that Bears D was in 06.
    *******************************

    I believe the first guy was more right. The Steelers were all set to hire Russ Grimm, but they thought that since the Rooney Rule was named after their father, perhaps they should hire a black coach. So they hired the well qualified Mike Tomlin. Had the Rooney Rule not been in existence, they would have hired Russ Grimm. Whether or not they interviewed Rivera didn’t matter. They could have interviewed 15 minorities and still hired Grimm. So they didn’t hire Tomlin to comply with the rule, the Rivera interview accomplished that. But they did hire Tomlin because the rule had their name on it. Neither one of you were 100% right, and I’m sure there’s more to the story than I know too..

  31. docsmith54 says:
    January 1, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    It is time for the un-American Rooney Rule to go. It is unconstitutional anyway.

    ————–

    A private company (the NFL) and the member organizations (teams) adopted the Rooney rule in accordance with its bylaws. While I agree it is ridiculous, it is NOT unconstitutional.

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