Circumstances suggest Raiders violated the Rooney Rule

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Officially, the Raiders complied with the Rooney Rule by interviewing at least one minority candidate for the vacant head-coaching job before hiring a new coach. Unofficially, the Raiders by all appearances violated the Rooney Rule because they hired a new head coach before the vacancy even existed.

The intelligence-insulting facts that continue to hide in plain sight suggest the following timeline: (1) at some point before last Friday, Gruden’s agent and the Buccaneers had a conversation in which it became clear that the Buccaneers would not be matching or beating the package Oakland had offered to Gruden; (2) at some point before Sunday, the Raiders and Gruden reached an agreement in principle; (3) confident that they had a deal with Gruden, the Raiders fired Jack Del Rio on Sunday.

If the Raiders hadn’t had a deal with Gruden upon firing Del Rio, Gruden would have acquired even more leverage than he already possessed. Indeed, if the possible deal failed to become an actual deal after the Raiders had fired Del Rio, the Raiders would have been screwed. So there’s no way that any owner in his right mind (regardless of hairstyle choices) would have cut Del Rio loose without knowing that Gruden was committed.

Logic suggest that Gruden was committed before Del Rio was terminated, which means that when the Rooney Rule interviews happened there was, as a practical matter, no job to interview for.

Of course, proving that would require the league to launch the kind of investigation typically reserved for teams that the NFL wants to catch red-handed. The league is fully invested in the Raiders relocating to Las Vegas as a thriving franchise, and having a magnetic and engaging personality like Gruden as the face of the franchise advances that goal. In other words, don’t hold your breath (or any other bodily functions) waiting for the league to investigate what appears to be an obvious violation of the Rooney Rule.

That’s not the only rule being violated, apparently. With Gruden not officially employed by the Raiders but unofficially employed by the Raiders, he can tamper with coaches, front-office executives, and players at will. Think about the people he knows after nine years of Monday Night Football. During this awkward period during when everyone knows he’s getting the job but he hasn’t gotten the job yet, he can talk to anyone and everyone under contract with other teams, with no apparent consequence.

The league routinely cites the integrity of and public confidence in pro football when choosing to take action against those teams the league chooses to take action against. In this case, where those notions are being undermined in various ways by a done deal that technically isn’t a done deal, the league likely will do nothing — and every team that ever finds itself in the crosshairs of 345 Park Avenue should be ready to cite this example the next time the league decides to aggressively enforce rules that everyone is breaking and/or no one really even knew about.

23 responses to “Circumstances suggest Raiders violated the Rooney Rule

  1. Chucky is the biggest ‘cheese’ in the NFL. There are so many other adjectives I could use that would get me banned.

  2. “So there’s no way that any owner in his right mind (regardless of hairstyle choices)”

    Gruden should have requested contract language that dictates the Raiders owner must sport a reverse mohawk.

  3. So is it the rule itself you want followed or the spirit of the rule? They followed the rule as written, so that’s good. I am not a Raider fan but I can think of few teams that have followed the spirit of the Rooney Rule ( i.e. advancing the cause for minorities to get greater opportunities in the NFL ) than them. Rule as written, check. Spirit of rule, check. Besides there being yet another example of this rule becoming pointless, what is the problem here?

  4. Before the Rooney Rule was passed in 2003, there were only 7 minority head coaches in NFL history! (They were: Fritz Pollard, Art Shell, Tom Flores, Dennis Green, Ray Rhodes, Tony Dungy, and Herm Edwards)

    Since the rule was passed Mike Tomlin, Marvin Lewis, Todd Bowles, Ron Rivera, Anthony Lynn, Jim Caldwell, and Lovie Smith have served as head coaches. So since 2003 there have been 7 minority head coaches matching the total from 1920-2003. Thus the Rooney Rule has added more diversity.

    But at the the end of the day, the rule does seem to be counterproductive. Take the Raiders for instance. They wanted to hire Jon Gruden because they think he is the best candidate for the job. If Mark Davis really feels like Gruden is the best guy for the job, why should he have to interview anyone else? That’s where the Rooney Rule fails.

    Sure some argue that any interview is good because it gives you experience and informs everyone that you are interested in a particular job. But at the end of the day, teams are going to hire whoever they think is the best candidate. It doesn’t matter what the skin color is. IF a guy is a good coach, then their a good coach.

  5. No one cares, the raiders got their guy. Should they not be able to do that? The rule only insults the minorities that go through the process knowing they’re only a check box. The rule is out dated, end it!

  6. Which is why the interviewed TWO minority candidates. So instead of 1 of getting ‘experience and exposure’ you now have two.

    Obvious sham but a good way to fix this issue.

    PS

    Davis should have just fired Del Rio and then pursued Gruden.

    Kind of like breaking up with your ‘meh’ girlfriend after you’re sure you’ve found a better one.

    Dump/fire first. Take a breath. Start over. Called the high road.

  7. In 2018 teams will hire a purple alien if they think he or she would win.
    Its an antiquated rule that allows no exception for history or special circumstances and could pevent a team from hiring its obious clear cut choice by attemptimg to comply according to your stadards.
    Of course if gruden was a minority this would be fine…

  8. Did you end this whole write up, that was very on point & true, with a #Deflategate dig?
    Man do you hold on to some of these things for way too long.
    99% of the story made your point valid & you up and ruin it with stuff that’s set sail years ago.

  9. It’s OK, it’s Reggie McKenzie, he get’s a pass. It ceases to amaze how some teams are allowed to flagrantly break the rules right in the faces of the media yet they softball this one after helping to perpetrate a fraud with 11 of 12.

  10. So if he hasn’t signed a contract there is no violation.
    Sham interview or not, they’ve done nothing against rules.
    Simple and easy.

  11. Why are there no women or Asian head coaches? The Rooney Rule needs expanding to a lot of different groups.

  12. isnt the rooney rule in and of itself racist, discriminatory, and demeaning? i would rather know that i was hired because of who i am and what they see in me rather then an o’callahan rule making them bring irish on staff or a rossi rule because of my % of italian heritage.

  13. lets list the way the raiders discriminate:

    They hire the first black coach
    They hire the first hispainic coach
    They hire the first woman executive
    They currently have a black GM

    yep makes complete sense

  14. do you REALLY think AL would have done this any other way? Maybe the nut doesn’t fall from from the tree…

    pretty damn smart if you ask me.

    too bad so sad… “screw you NFL” in my best AL impression…

    keep creating havoc on Brady instead.. its much more interesting.

  15. do you REALLY think AL would have done this any other way? Maybe the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree…

    pretty damn smart if you ask me.

    too bad so sad… “screw you NFL” in my best AL impression…

    keep creating havoc on Brady instead.. its much more interesting.

  16. Let it go. Its more embarrassing that you keep brining it up. If/when Belichek becomes available are you going to whine and complain that teams are lining up to get him and “wiping their feet” on the Rooney rule?

  17. magikskillz says:
    January 5, 2018 at 1:34 am

    Before the Rooney Rule was passed in 2003, there were only 7 minority head coaches in NFL history! (They were: Fritz Pollard, Art Shell, Tom Flores, Dennis Green, Ray Rhodes, Tony Dungy, and Herm Edwards)

    Since the rule was passed Mike Tomlin, Marvin Lewis, Todd Bowles, Ron Rivera, Anthony Lynn, Jim Caldwell, and Lovie Smith have served as head coaches. So since 2003 there have been 7 minority head coaches matching the total from 1920-2003. Thus the Rooney Rule has added more diversity.
    _______

    You forgot Leslie Frazier, Vance Joseph, Hue Jackson, Romeo Crennel, Mike Singletary, and Raheem Morris.

    The Rooney Rule was necessary when it was instituted, but it’s run its course and doesn’t seem to be needed anymore. Let’s just let teams interview who they want.

  18. The rule is trash….a wrong to fix a wrong ….it is discriminating to non minorities and offers an unfair advantage to any minority candidate. The NFL should be embarrassed it still exists.

  19. This is the problem you create when you combat real racism with a policy which requires you to interview a candidate solely based on the color of his/her skin.

    The Rooney Rule; battling racism with condescension since 2003.

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