Raiders interviewed Tee Martin and Bobby Johnson to comply with Rooney Rule

Getty Images

As if it wasn’t clear that the Raiders had no regard or serious interest in the Rooney Rule, the candidates they interviewed so they could rubber stamp the Jon Gruden hiring made it apparent.

General Manager Reggie McKenzie said during Gruden’s introductory press conference that he interviewed tight ends coach Bobby Johnson and Southern Cal offensive coordinator Tee Martin to comply with the league’s rule that mandates minority candidates for head coaching jobs.

With all due respect to Johnson and Martin (here comes the disrespect), neither would be considered a serious candidate for any head coaching job in the NFL, for any other reason than to check off a box. That’s not to say they’re not talented coaches, but their resumes lack what you’d call depth.

Johnson, 45, has been with the Raiders as tight ends coach since 2015. He has eight years of NFL experience, as an assistant offensive line coach with the Bills (2010-11), a tight ends coach with the Jaguars (2012), an assistant line and tight ends coach with the Lions (2013-14) before being hired by the Raiders. Prior to that, he worked in the college ranks, at Indiana, Miami (Ohio) and Akron. This is his first known interview for an NFL head coaching job. For some reason.

Martin, 39, played a bit in the NFL. The former Tennessee quarterback (who followed Peyton Manning and won a national title for the Vols) had stints with the Raiders, Eagles and Steelers. All of his coaching experience has been in the sub-professional ranks — at USC, Kentucky, New Mexico, and Morehouse (along with North Cobb and North Atlanta High Schools). This was his first known interview for an NFL head coaching job as well. For some reason.

The Rooney Rule has created valuable experience for a number of candidates, but the way the Raiders used it (when they knew they were hiring Gruden) insults both our intelligence and the spirit of the rule. Again, it’s clear Gruden was the guy they wanted and only being outbid would prevent it. But watching them wipe their feet on the rule so shamelessly only tarnishes the reputation of an organization that has done so many other good things to increase opportunities for a diverse group of talented people, from Tom Flores to Art Shell to Amy Trask.

34 responses to “Raiders interviewed Tee Martin and Bobby Johnson to comply with Rooney Rule

  1. I am a big supporter of the Rooney Rule, but if a team knows with 100% certainty that they want one person and one person only, what are they supposed to do? Either they waste someone’s time who doesn’t have a chance at any head coaching job or they waste someone’s time who may be a viable candidate for other teams. Either way, they are wasting someone’s time.

    (silver lining, even with a waste of time, the person being interviewed to satisfy the rule may see benefit from the “interview” or benefit from their name being floated during coaching conversations)

  2. “It insults our intelligence and the spirit of the rule.”
    ———
    I’m not insulted one bit. It’s the worst/racist rule ever. The best man should get the job, period. Your skin color shouldn’t dictate the outcome of who gets hired.

  3. IIRC, there was another NFL team in the past who were fined for violating the Rooney Rule. Given the ridiculous amount of money they are paying Chucky, and the outrageous taxpayer subsidy they are poised to collect from the State of Nevada, $1 million seems like a nice round number payable to the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation.

  4. You could put up any coaching candidate and they wouldn’t have the qualifications to beat out Gruden for this particular job. Cowher and Dungy have won super bowls too, but they haven’t been studying the league the way Gruden has. Gruden never retired, he just stopped coaching for one team. Also, it’s important for an owner and coach to have a good relationship. No other coach on earth has a better relationship with Mark Davis than Jon Gruden does. Let me know of a minority coach on earth that’s more qualified to coach the Raiders than Jon Guden. No minority was really going to have a shot at this job, but neither was any other white coach not named Gruden. But now Tee Martin will be viewed as a future head coaching candidate because of this interview. Everybody wins.

  5. Geez, Darin.

    I know you hate the Raiders, but that was a bit too much.

    It is what it is and most of the other 31 franchises are guilty of similar conduct, at one time or another.

    The Raiders have done more for minorities than the other 31 combined and that was well before the Rooney Rule.

    The rule has a glaring loophole and teams do what they have to do to get the guy they want.

    No more, no less.

    Time to fry bigger fish, my friend.

  6. The Rooney rule is like most of the US Federal Government laws and regulations, made with the best intentions but filled with all sorts of unintended consequences that does more destruction than good.

    If the NFL were smart (and there is little evidence of that lately), they would sunset the rule for the end of next season and declare it a PR success. Not sure what they will point to in support of its success but they can just make it up as they go along, sort of like the refs, the catch rule, suspensions for players and god knows what else.

  7. If they interviewed Herm Edwards would it have made you happier? Would it have made you feel like they were taking the rule more seriously? The ONLY reason they fired JDR was because Mark has wanted Gruden from the start. His contract was up, JDR had a rough season and the stars aligned.

    On a second note, do you think Herm Edwards or some other serious candidate would be dumb enough to believe they stood a chance?

    The first paragraph makes it sound like the Raiders would have no intention of hiring a minority coach. But they had the first female executive in NFL history. Art Shell coached there TWICE, Hugh Jackson, Flores was the first Hispanic coach in the NFL (Also the first minority coach to win a Super Bowl and the only person to win one as a player, assistant coach, and head coach), and isn’t the GM black? This is not a case of the Raiders not respecting minorities. This is a case of they had the shot at their guy and took it. I am not saying their history gives the Raiders a pass, but given the circumstances, having to interview a minority is more disrespectful to said minority and to Jon Gruden.

    In your other whining articles, you state the point of the interviews is also to get coaches names out there. Well, now Tee Martin and Bobby Johnson got their names in the NFL circle just like you wanted in the first place.

  8. The rule itself wipes its feet on minorities in general wasting their time for a sham interview and criticising the Raiders for who they chose to interview spits in the face of Martin and Johnson insinuating they don’t deserve to have their names put out there. I’m sure no minority coach who could be considered a realistic option would be willing to waste their time being interviewed for a job they know they’re not gonna get which is one of the problems with the rule. So if a team doesn’t interview a minority they’re criticised but if they can only get lesser knowns to go through with an interview they’re still criticised? And besides isn’t the whole point of the rule to get exposure for lesser known minority coaches? How do you know this won’t lead to an NFL coaching job for Tee Martin?

  9. “All of his coaching experience has been in the sub-professional ranks — at USC, Kentucky, New Mexico, and Morehouse (along with North Cobb and North Atlanta High Schools).”
    My first job interview at the professional rank was for CEO of a company too. So me & Tee have 1 thing in common.

  10. –This is his first known interview for an NFL head coaching job. For some reason.–

    Perhaps Martin took the interview knowing he wasn’t going to get the job with the thought that he knew that his name would get out so that he might be called about moving up to the NFL as an OC or something like that.

  11. niners816 says:
    January 9, 2018 at 4:05 pm
    “It insults our intelligence and the spirit of the rule.”
    ———
    I’m not insulted one bit. It’s the worst/racist rule ever. The best man should get the job, period. Your skin color shouldn’t dictate the outcome of who gets hired.
    ————————————————————————

    How did the “best man” rule work out when ONLY white coaches were being hired.

  12. It looks like the only candidate the Raiders could have interviewed without being chastised by this writer would have been Tony Dungy.

    Too bad he is really retired.

    Cut the Raiders a break DG.

  13. I’m wondering if this is why McKenzie didn’t bother to return the Packers call. I’d have loved to see him running the show for the Pack, but if he felt they were calling just because of the rule then, yeah, hang up on them.

  14. The rule was not instituted for situations in which a team is looking for a new coach only because one particular coach that it wanted is available. There is no way to comply with the Rooney rule in this situation without insulting our intelligence. I like the rule when you’re searching for a coach, not when you already have one.

  15. Todd Bowles and Hue Jackson still have jobs because of racism. A better coach and his family is starving because of this. Rooney rule is racism. The fact that this writer Gantt thinks black men need the Rooney Rule is proof cucks like him are the true racist. I don’t think black men need Rooney Rule. I see them as equals. Mic drop.

  16. “the outrageous tax subsidy they are poised to collect from the State of Nevada”.

    Do you live in Nevada? If not, you shouldn’t care and it is none of your business how Nevada spends it’s money.

  17. So, my takeaway from this article is that the preventative measure to this social crime would have been to forgo being honest and still give not just the required one, but two minority candidates, some real interview experience, that the Raiders should have been dishonest and concentrated on being very convincing in their lies to both those candidates as well as the media in making it seem like the candidates actually had a chance to unseat the guy the team wanted so badly that they gave a ten year/100 million dollar contract to.

    Well, that sounds swell! Not a life lesson that I would teach my Son.

    I’m more convinced than ever that in in this first quarter of the 21st century that success (read “revenue”) means a heck of a lot more to NFL ownership than the color of someone’s skin. Scrap the rule and call it a success…

  18. footballneblog says:
    January 9, 2018 at 4:31 pm
    niners816 says:
    January 9, 2018 at 4:05 pm
    “It insults our intelligence and the spirit of the rule.”
    ———
    I’m not insulted one bit. It’s the worst/racist rule ever. The best man should get the job, period. Your skin color shouldn’t dictate the outcome of who gets hired.
    ————————————————————————

    How did the “best man” rule work out when ONLY white coaches were being hired.
    ——
    Idk, let’s ask Ron Rivera, Jim Caldwell (now fired), Todd Bowles, Mike Tomlin, Marvin Lewis, Hue Jackson, etc. They were/are heading coaches this year and thru are minorities. Dont forget the Niners just hired Ken Norton jr yesterday as well and he’s black.

  19. firecracker87 says:
    January 9, 2018 at 4:35 pm
    Here is my question. When has the Rooney rule resulted in the best man for the job getting the job?
    ———————————

    Hue Jackson

  20. If the owners and GMs really were racists then why do we see teams paying more minorities millions of dollars a year to be employed by their businesses?

    If the Rooney Rule is right then there should be a McKenzie Rule where ever spot on the roster has to have at least one White, Hispanic or Asian trying out for it. If not then fine the team. Whites, Asians and Hispanics are far under represented on the rosters of the 32 teams.

    Something must be done.

  21. I actually think the Rooney Rule should remain in place, as is. It isn’t perfect and has loop holes/no penalty that keeps a team from not living up to its spirit. However, it also provides exposure to minority coaches/executives that might otherwise go unnoticed in the good ol’ boy system that is the NFL.

  22. Dr. John Wallace says:
    ” A better coach and his family is starving because of this. Rooney rule is racism.”

    Good Lord. Please Doctor, give us the name of this undiscovered, starving coach
    so we can send his family a food basket. We wouldn’t want such brilliant talent
    to starve to death. It has always bothered me that sparkling white coaches
    lay famished, while black coaches get all the cushy jobs based on nothing more
    than nepotism, their connections within the coaching fraternity, and
    the hated Rooney Rule.

    .

  23. I’m in favor of minorities having access to opportunity but the Rule does not truly accomplish this and feel the rule is insulting on its face. That said, it’s a rule. Just like psi rules. They should be enforced. So what will the Guardians of Integrity do in this case?
    To Grudens comment to Woodson, Tuck Rule was a Rule and was called correctly. Whining is not the Raider Way. Hopefully he gets a chance at redemptiom. In any case we got chucky back to kick around and that’s good for entertainment.

  24. It’s not the Raiders’ fault they had to comply with a stupid rule that forced them to make 2 men probably feel like idiots. They knew they weren’t getting the job, but probably did it out of obligation. If they could have just hired who they already knew they wanted, they could have saved those guys’ time and probably some embarrasment, but I guess the NFL doesn’t care about that because the Rooney Rule sounds good for PR.

  25. footballneblog says:

    January 9, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    firecracker87 says:
    January 9, 2018 at 4:35 pm
    Here is my question. When has the Rooney rule resulted in the best man for the job getting the job?
    ———————————

    Hue Jackson

    ————————————————————————————–

    The Hue Jackson who’s won exactly one game in the past two seasons? Ok, if you say so.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!