Pre-vacancy Rooney Rule interviews don’t work for coaching jobs

On Saturday, we reported that the Redskins already have interviewed defensive coordinator Greg Blache for the head-coaching position currently held by Jim Zorn.  Later in the day, Jason Reid of the Washington Post, after duly dropping a D.C. Steamer on our Blache report, wrote that secondary coach Jerry Gray has been interviewed for the head-coaching position.

Regardless of whether either or both report is accurate (we stand by our Blache report, and we’ve heard rumblings that Gray was also interviewed), the Redskins won’t be able to pull the 114-minute presto-change-o with Zorn and his successor by pre-complying with the Rooney Rule, which requires at least one interview of a minority candidate for every head-coaching vacancy.

The key word, as it relates to coaching jobs, is “vacancy.”

“The rule presumes a vacancy,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told us via e-mail.

In other words, interviews of minority candidate(s) conducted before the coaching job is open don’t count.

So how were the Redskins able to pre-comply with the Rooney Rule before Vinny Cerrato resigned as executive V.P. of football operations?

“The current rule as it applies to GMs is not as specific as for head coaches,” Aiello said.  “We will review it going forward to determine whether modifications are warranted.”

To put it less tactfully, the Redskins found a loophole when it came to making the switch from Cerrato to Bruce Allen.  But that same path won’t be available to the Redskins when it comes to Zorn; they have to comply with the Rooney Rule after the head-coaching job has come open.

Though it might be easy to satisfy the requirement by having Blache and/or Gray return for a “do you still want the job?” follow-up session, there’s a chance that Blache and/or Gray eventually will decide not to participate in a sham process — just like Redskins play-caller Sherm Lewis did nearly seven years ago, when the Lions dumped Marty Mornhinweg with the sole intent of hiring Steve Mariucci.

31 responses to “Pre-vacancy Rooney Rule interviews don’t work for coaching jobs

  1. They need to get rid of the Rooney rule and all others like it. They breed a continuing thought of rascism and do more harm than good. They need to just hire the most qualified canidate and everything will work out.

  2. My God, why are you so freaking concerned about the Rooney Rule? Give it a rest Lord Florio and move on to topics regarding the GAME of football, not the micromanagement of it!


  4. Thanks for providing some, you know, actual, solid information.
    The carrot for Gray is a possible move up to defensive coordinator. Blache is likely to retire but he’s been around for six years and has been very loyal.
    To be sure, the interviews will be shams. So are, I’d conservatively estimate, 50% of all other such interviews.

  5. Most will participate just to have their names thrown out there. Just like showcasing Vick in one of the top offenses. Everyone knows its a sham, but they look good doing it.
    Lions said screw it and just paid the fine anyways. Lewis should of asked for an interview fee somewhere below the $250,000 fine and called it good.

  6. Of course, there is the possibility they interviewed them because they are outstanding at what they do…

  7. The Rooney Rule is stupid like affirmative action. Shouldnt the best person for the job be able to get the job on merit and not the color of their skin? Isn’t the Rooney Rule and affirmative action the opposite of what Dr. Martin Luther King wanted. It was Dr. King who said “a man should be judged by content of his character.” So now put yourself in the owners shoes. Imagine you own and opperate a billion dollar NFL team, especially in todays economy, would you hire a black coach or a black QB knowing the stats? Stats are only 2 black coaches have ever won a Super Bowl and lets face it both Toney Dungy and Mike Tomlin had NOTHING to do with their teams winning the S.B. Peyton Manning is the REAL coach of the Colts and Peyton and Marvin Harison were already there drafted by Jim Mora Sr. And Mike Tomlin won a S.B. with Bill Cowher’s S.B. Champion Steeler team. And there is only been 1 black QB to ever win a S.B. Doug Williams. 1QB and 2 coaches(who had NOTHING to do with their S.B. victories) Sounds to me like a fools bet to spend millions of dollars on a black Coach or QB.

  8. The “sham” is the Rooney rule in general.
    Also, Mike, it isn’t a loophole. Rules are rules and they played within the rules. I like you, guy, but your bias is starting to really get to me.

  9. Typical lil runt snyder BS. It won’t matter who that runt brings in to coach or run the team, he’ll still treat it like a fantasy league and the fans will pay with a losing team for years to come.

  10. I’m but one reader, but geezus leave this alone. I think the Rule has had its’ place, but we have come a long way. People want performance and if the rule hinders a club’s ability to do business (such as make a hire secretly so not tipping their hat to other teams) then it’s STUPID to try and hold teams to only interviewing for a position already vacant. Just stupid.

  11. before any left-wing loosers try to marginalize me and call me a racisist because your to big of cowards to deal with the truth I just figured I would let everyone know I am a minority,so is my wife and 3 children and I dont think you can be racist against yourself. Im just an American who wants equil rights for everyone not a 1950’s style reverse rasicm against the white man. Today racism against the white man has become almost socialy acceptable. And I dont want any hand outs I want to work my ass off and earn everything.

  12. Florio, why are you so focussed on this?
    Clearly you, and the rest of the media were scooped on this. Change was needed in D.C., and the fact that it suprised you, does not suggest something underhanded was done here. Anyone who follows the Skins knows Cerrato was gone. Everyone knows Zorn is gone. The Redskins obviously approached Dungy for the position, and he said no.
    To suggest Blache and Gray get token interviews to comply with the Rooney rule insults the intelligence and character of two VERY GOOD members of the Redskins coaching staff. Much like you and the rest of the media have insulted Sherm Lewis by poking fun at what he was doing in retirement.
    Shame on you!

  13. FYI: Cerrato was not the GM and did not have final say on the roster. The job of Redskins GM was always open and available.

  14. “mihan says:
    December 20, 2009 10:49 AM
    Cue the rednecks claiming reverse discrimination against whites, and how its all Obama’s fault.”
    So far, I don’t see any rednecks claiming reverse discrimination against whites??????
    But in reality…………isn’t that exactlly what this is. For one second, reverse the process and require every team to have at least one white DB and one white running back.
    I’m sure you’ll say that they just aren’t as good as the black DB’s or running backs. That may very well be true and if it is, can’t that same rule apply to coaching jobs??????
    Just sayin.

  15. This Rooney Rule is discrimination. I find it very BS. Why should a team waste their time on people they don’t want? It’s not about race anymore. People need to get over themselves and leave the past in the past. Nobody ever thought Obama stood a chance to be our president, well he won. First time ever and it won’t be the last time either. By the year 2043, Whites will be the minority, so to have this stupid rule is plain discrimination.

  16. There’s an easy work-around to this….
    Hire Mike Shanahan as an Associate Head Coach for Quality Control/Assistant to the General Manager (or something of the like) and have his contract state that he is elevated to the position of head coach when it becomes available.

  17. This just in!!!
    An African American man is the leader of the free world!
    Florio, I’m sure the people in D.C. of all places know this, do you?

  18. Couldn’t a good attorney propose a strategy that would comply fully with NFL requirements where Whiteshirt Vinny resigned, CREATING A VACANCY, an interview was conducted, and THEN Whiteshirt Vinny’s resignation was announced?
    Maybe not. It appears beyond the capability of one attorney-journalist.
    Hey, Florio! This shooting arrows at big targets is fun! I see why you do it.

  19. So a team can pre-interview a HC candidate before firing the current coach, and that interview counts (ie, they could hire the succeeding coach before the current coach is fired.)
    But the minority candidate interviewed in the same manner doesn’t count?
    Yeah. That’s perfectly logical.
    What if the pre-interviewed HC candidate is a minority. Is his hiring then less valid? Or must he be re-interviewed once hired, since his first interview is invalid according to the rule?
    As a minority, I just want to be sure we’re being properly patronized.

  20. # J says: December 20, 2009 10:57 AM
    before any left-wing loosers try to marginalize me and call me a racisist because your to big of cowards to deal with the truth I just figured I would let everyone know I am a minority,so is my wife and 3 children and I dont think you can be racist against yourself. Im just an American who wants equil rights for everyone not a 1950’s style reverse rasicm against the white man. Today racism against the white man has become almost socialy acceptable. And I dont want any hand outs I want to work my ass off and earn everything.
    I am not a left-winger, more of a moderate, and I will not call you a racist.
    I will however call you an illiterate moron. I know 10 year old’s with better grammar and spelling comprehension than you exhibit. Stop wasting your time trolling Florio and pursue your GED my man.

  21. It’s freakin sad how many people don’t understand the importance of this rule.
    I could spend the next hour writing out an explanation that would easily explain to the opposition why this rule isn’t stupid, why it isn’t any form of reverse discrimination, why it isn’t a sham process (see race % of NFL coaches v. college coaches), and why it doesn’t simply reinforce notions of racial difference.
    But frankly Florio, given the attention you’ve given to this topic, I think you owe it to your readers to either write that explanation yourself, or find someone who is most able to articulate the idea. That is unless you think those who’ve commented are just a vocal super-minority (which I truly hope they are).

  22. NBC are race baiters who are part of the State Run, Drive By Media hence the reason Florio keeps touting the racist Rooney Rule.
    I don’t care what anyone says, the best man should get the job regardless of skin color and the owners should be able to hire whoever they want without being subjected to a pathetic race baiting rule…

  23. The Rooney Rule is a joke and always has been.
    Teams will always get their guy even if they have to put on a dog and pony show just to please a few whiners.

  24. @scrapdawg12
    “By the year 2043, Whites will be the minority, so to have this stupid rule is plain discrimination.”
    Irregardless of whether whites are the minority by 2043 there is absolutely no way that any white man can call discrimination. Discrimination would be saying that a white man counts as only 3/5 of a person, requiring white people to use separate inferior services and facilities, providing a lower quality of education, writing zoning ordinances to prevent them from moving into an area, to be targeted repeatedly by police for the color of your skin, or to be lynched/hung/beaten to death because you looked at a woman of a different color.
    It amazes me how for almost 300 years whites in this country held down blacks in so many ways, and now whites are so scared of being discriminated against.
    Cue the “it’s so hard being a white male these days” crowd. Try talking seriously with someone who is black about what it is like to be black, if you are open minded you may gain an understanding that although you think they have all of the advantages this is clearly not the case. Do not accept the history that you were taught in school, after all who do you think wrote that history, it is most certainly a white version of history.
    Just because you are a Republican does not make you a racist, but if you are a racist you are most certainly a Republican. I would be concerned about such a situation, especially if one day you (speaking to the Repubs who are white, I am guessing that is all but 5 of you) are going to be the minority you will need to forge bonds with members of other racial descent to be able to gain any traction within the government. Or you could always keep the racists on board, then you would have buddies to cry about discrimination with.

  25. JagRoar says: December 20, 2009 12:00 PM
    NBC are race baiters who are part of the State Run, Drive By Media hence the reason Florio keeps touting the racist Rooney Rule.
    I bet you think Fox News really is Fair and Balanced too.

  26. @ stnmmc
    Again Fox NEWS is fair and balanced. If you watch it, rather than just talk about things you have heard from the White House, you will see that they spend the entire day covering news stories and then at 8pm their “opinion” shows begin and no one claims those aren’t one sided. You are an ignorant idiot and part of a larger problem.
    @ Abe
    I could spend 2 hours writing to you to explain why everything you said was retarded. This percentage of coaches that are black is just dumb and a played out explanation. Be sure to look at the percentage of the population that each race is. Your math is off, your ignorance is off and just because you got your job because of the color of your skin and not your abilities doesn’t make it fair or acceptable..

  27. Whats next? Drafting players or hiring free agents based on the Rooney Rule. That would be a no fun to watch; teams getting players based on color rather then ability. Why then expect it of coaches and management? If you can do the job, its yours thats they way it should be. Why disgrace and make a mockery out of the rule and the people it is meant to help? Its such a crock of ****. Just get rid of it.

  28. Dearest Chap, just because you’re tired of hearing the truth doesn’t mean it’s played out.

  29. @ chapnasty
    I have watched Fox News. And you make the mistake of assuming that I am a blind follower of the White House, when in reality I am not. I have major issues with both parties, and to this point have seen nothing to claim the current administration is any better than the last, nor can I say it is any worse. They do report the news during the day, but if you honestly believe that the news they report is fair and/or balanced then you are just a sheep. Rupert Murdoch and his cronies choose which stories to show you, and they are obviously stories that advance their agenda. I have also seen plenty of opinions offered during these news casts in the form of one liners and side comments. Keep in mind that I feel very much the same way about MSNBC, obviously on the other end of the spectrum.
    I just find it hilarious that whichever party is not in power constantly claims government involvement with the primary news network, as was done with Bush and Fox and is being done with Obama and MSNBC.
    Anyone who blindly believes that any of these “news” networks are offering the news up without any agenda or slant is a sheep that is unable to understand that the truth, not all the time but much of the time, lies somewhere in between.
    And in this case I think it is safe to say that you are one of those sheep. I know from other posts that you are a hardcore conservative, so most likely you are so stuck in your ways that you are unwilling to find that middle area where the truth, and in many cases a solution to the problems we face as a nation, can be found. If you were a hardcore liberal I would say the same thing.
    But hey, what do I know, I am ignorant. This much is obvious because I immediately began calling names when someone did not agree with my position….oh wait, that was you.
    baaaaa baaaaaaa

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