NFL says hiring of coaches and General Managers reflects “disappointing lack of diversity”

Getty Images

This year, eight NFL head coaches were fired.  All eight jobs went to white men.

Last year, there were seven.  Six were filled by white coaches.  The only minority, Romeo Crennel, was fired after one season.

“While there has been full compliance with the interview requirements of the Rooney Rule and we wish the new head coaches and general managers much success, the hiring results this year have been unexpected and reflect a disappointing lack of diversity,” said NFL executive V.P. of human resources Robert Gulliver in a statement released to PFT.  “The Rooney Rule has been a valuable tool in expanding diversity and inclusion in hiring practices, but there is more work to do, especially around increasing and strengthening the pipeline of diverse candidates for head coach and senior football executive positions.  We have already started the process of developing a plan for additional steps that will better ensure more diversity and inclusion on a regular basis in our hiring results.  We look forward to discussing these steps with our advisers to ensure that our employment, development and equal opportunity programs are both robust and successful.”

The statement does not specify the steps that are being considered.  But, clearly, something needs to be done.

To the its credit, the NFL has acknowledged that.

91 responses to “NFL says hiring of coaches and General Managers reflects “disappointing lack of diversity”

  1. “But, clearly, something needs to be done.”

    No it doesn’t, Mike. I think 90% of the players are black. Why isn’t anyone clamoring for more diversity there?

    To think that NFL teams aren’t going to give the coaching gigs to the most qualified candidate, simply because one guy has less pigmet than the other, is just patently absurd.

  2. Yes let’s make teams hire the guys they don’t want as long as its in the name of diversity.. If I’m an owner it’s my team and I would hire who I want don’t tell me how to run my team and who I am required to interview

  3. I’m not going to sit here and say that someone should or should not be hired due to their race, but you can not tell me that there are not more qualified minority candidates out there than the men who filled the vacant head coaching positions. To hire someone for the simple fact they are of one race or another is a terrible trend, but some of the candidates that are rehashes are rehashes for a reason.

  4. The NFL has no right to legislate who can hire what and where. For that matter, how come there aren’t any white running backs, defensive backs, etc? Why doesn’t the NFL legislate that too? Why the double standard?

  5. The fact that this is a story is sad. These are billion dollar organizations, it’s stupid to even think for a second they wouldn’t hire minorities if they didn’t think they were the best person for the job. Stop trying to create racism where it doesn’t exist.

  6. This is ridiculous. The Rooney rule already makes a mockery of minority candidates, ensuring they get jerked around and interviewed for jobs they are not even being considered for.

    You really think NFL owners and GM’s would hire white candidates instead of minorities if they thought the minority candidate would get them more wins?

    They could not have a stronger financial incentive.

    Look at the rosters. Plenty of diversity there.

    This is ridiculous. What’s next, complaints there aren’t enough female head coaches?

  7. I am sick of hearing about the rooney rule. Why make someone feel like a token. When the owner is trying to hire a GM/Coach he shouldnt have to bring in a person based on thier skin color. The reason why all 8 coaches were white is because there is only ONE black canditate among all others. Simple as that. Stop trying to create racism stories. If more black/asian/hispanic/indian coaches would be formatable replacements for the coaches maybe there would be more hired.

  8. Why does something need to be done? They are complying with the Rooney rule. Shouldn’t owners be able to hire whomever they think is the best person for the job. There weren’t any female candidates either so do we need to change that now too?

  9. How about the best man gets the job.
    Regardless of color.
    This whole issue has to be emabassing for any minority race.
    Would you like your time wasted because your “interview” is the one that satisfies the Rooney Rule.
    May the best man win, and guess what.
    Nice people always finish last.
    Not many owners are in it to be the nice guy.

  10. With the amount of money that is at stake in the NFL, I believe that this is a non-story. Maybe the 8 coaches who were hired were the 8 best coaches? What does it matter the race? The only one I don’t get is Lovie Smith, how he didn’t pop up anywhere.

    I am not a racist person either. I am a Vikings fan and couldn’t be happier with Leslie Frazier. Extend the man! It’s just these stories get old. Let’s face it. Romeo Crennel was garbage. May the job go to the best person suited for it. Throw the Rooney Rule in the trash.

  11. Yeah, cause it’s not like Romeo Crennel, Lovie Smith, Rod Graves, or Ray Horton just sucked at their jobs or anything. I mean, the Cardinals must be racists for not hiring an assistant from a staff that led them to a 5-11 record. I can’t see why they wouldn’t retain the GM and hire an assistant from that stellar organization.

  12. This is a joke…The best candidate that fits the needs of the team should be hired, regardless of race, religion etc…This time around all the hires were white, but I gurantee if Shaw was willing to leave stanford, hed be a head coach right now.

  13. This has the potential of being overblown. Out of all the canadiates, only Ray Horton was a coach who was hot/qualified enough to warrant a job. Lovie Smith will also eventually land another job somewhere as well. Recently, some of the black coaches have been poor. Romeo Crennel was an awful coach, and has had multiple chances. Same goes for some who previously had jobs like Raheem Morris or Hue Jackson. Also, there is a minority in a job with Ron Rivera, and he’s not doing so hot either.

    People can play the “race” card all the time when it comes to NFL jobs, but the fact of the matter is I don’t think anyone in the NFL would avoid hiring a great coach because of color, there just aren’t that many great coaches right now of color.

  14. while i love the idea of diversity, it is unfair to criticize a team for not hiring a minority candidate if, in their opinion, the best candidate is white.

  15. Am I the only one who thinks this isn’t an issue and that maybe, just maybe, all the head coaches that were hired were hired because the GM thought they were good coaches and weren’t paying attention to skin color?

    The nfl is a what have you done for me lately league, general managers aren’t going to pass over a black candidate they think would be a phenomenal coach because he is black, even a racist GM would rather win a superbowl with a black coach then a losing season with a white coach. The only problem is what the media is making a problem.

  16. It’s sad that this is news, and we as Americans are so preoccupied with diversity that this will balloon into something more than the owners choosing the best candidate for the position.

  17. Employers should be allowed to hire the people the find most qualified to successfully perform their jobs, not unfairly favor because of skin color. I never hear anyone complain about there being more minority players.

  18. As a white male, I find “reports” like this racist. I guarantee if candidates like Mike Tomlin, Leslie Frazier, and Marvin Lewis were available, this wouldn’t be an issue. The only coach available that was African American and legit, was Lovie Smith, and if you ask Bears fans, he is better suited in a DC role. The fact that anyone would give a job to a candidate simply because it “diversifies” their organization, over a much more competent and qualified candidate is discrimination.

  19. The fact that they are giving this so much attention is disappointing. Each club will hire which coach they feel is the most qualified coach in their eyes. Whether that coach is white, black, or purple. The NFL should butt out, they satisfied your rule.

  20. I’m all for giving the job to the person who is most qualified and meets your needs.
    When hiring is based on preference points for race, gender, religion or sexual preference than the whole process becomes tainted.
    And really, why stop at coaching if this is such an issue. They could mandate that all cornerbacks meet certain race criteria as well couldn’t they?
    NFL teams are built on competitive selection. If you’re the best performer then you make the team or get a starting position. Should the Head Coaching position be a different standard?

  21. I’m glad my team found a coach this season based on who they felt was best for the job. If they waited until next season they might have been forced to hire someone based on the color of his skin.

  22. This is ridiculous. Why is assumed that if the minority doesn’t get hired that something went wrong? What if the white guys who were hired were the guys the owners actually wanted?

  23. pretty soon it will be mandatory that a team has to fire their coach every 4 years if he isn’t a minority. I love the rooney rule but it’s so ridiculous! People arent getting hired because they arent good enough! or dont have the track record to back them up!

  24. Short of telling teams who they must hire what else can be done? If candidate A is better than candidate B why should skin colour matter? Maybe I’m missing the point here….

  25. There are 4 minority coaches in the NFL or 12.5%. Has anyone done a survey of the number of white receivers in the NFL? I’ll bet that number is lower than 12%.

    We’ll never be color blind as long as color is the issue.

  26. this year there will be 0 non black rb’s selected in the draft, 0 non black wr’s, 0 non black db’s…. where is the story on that? giving non black kids chances to play those positions out of college. oh that’s right, the whole double standard thing

  27. The NFL has always hired underqualified white coaches or recycled terrible white coaches before giving black coaches an oppurtunity. What is so different outside of the token interviews black candidates go through to get passed over?
    Honestly, when black coaches do get jobs, the owners deplete the roster of talent, refuse to spend money on new talent and only give black coaches 2 years to win i.e. Raheem Morris with the Bucs.
    Comparing coaching situations does not make me a racist, I am just willing to acknowledge and compare the situations while discussing the problem.
    Atleast you are willing to talk about it and I appreciate you for that.

  28. Romeo went 2-14, Andy Reid is a proven winner, NOT RACIST.

    Lovie has been on the hot seat for years, and was given a lot of opportunities, 2 late season collapses sealed his fate. NOT RACIST.

    Horton was passed over because of the Success Arians had with a rookie QB (which the cards need). Cards want to improve offense. Also, unlike Arians, he has no HC experience. NOT RACIST.

  29. One more thing, interviewing someone for the fact that they’re a minority tarnishes the spirit of the Rooney Rule. So again, stop with the nonsense and forcing minorities into positions they may not be qualified for.

  30. This is ridiculous, why does it matter what color skin you have? If you’re good at your job you will get hired. One could say there is a growing problem at the WR position as there are almost no “white men” that play the position. Why don’t we start a Rooney Rule at every position in the NFL?

  31. I’m sick of this affirmative action nonsense. As it is, the Rooney Rule does nothing other than perpetuate the notion that minority coaches NEED help or NEED assistance to get jobs and that they are incapable of landing interviews on their own.

    I’m sure that these teams interview candidates and make decisions that are best for the team, not to satisfy politically correct diversity standards. I find it extremely hard to believe, if not implausible, that any GM narrowed down his choice to one white candidate and one minority candidate and ultimately made his decision based on the color of the candidate’s skin.

  32. With so few head coaching jobs in the NFL would you really expect some huge percentage of minorities to be hired for the few vacancies?

  33. The more we view people on the basis of skin color (even when trying to help them, as in this case), the less progress we gain towards total equality. The reality is the best man will always get the job (especially since most teams already have a short list of candidates they will hire ahead of time), and compliance with the Rooney Rule is a waste of everyone’s time. Get rid of it, don’t expand it.

  34. ALL people should be interviewed and/or hired based on the content of their qualifications, not the color of their skin.

    Not the other way around.

    I am all for equality of course, but anyone who is the right man for the job should be hired. Teams should not be force fed candidates. IMO

  35. I guess everything MLK worked for has been distorted beyond recognition. Coaches should be hired dependent on the “content of their character” and not the “color of their skin.”

    Journalists should investigate why more minorities aren’t becoming coaches (interest? access? legitimate roadblocks?), which is more likely why there aren’t more Head Coach hires than every NFL owner and GM being racist.

  36. So the logic here is to hire minority coaches because of their skin color. So let’s force teams to hire unqualified minorities, and when the unqualified minorities fail because they weren’t qualified, let the perception build that minorities aren’t good head coaches.

    The best men for the job get hired for the job. Period.

  37. A coach should be hired based on who is best for the job and not their race, color, religion, etc. Just to throw this out there. Right now there are 3 coaches in the NFL that are African American with 32 NFL coaching jobs makes it around 9% of the league. Based on the CIA World Factbook, the African American race makes up 12.85% of the population. Ratio wise, the make up of the NFL is pretty close to the US population.

    We don’t talk about the lack of Hispanic Coaches in the NFL. There are only 32 Coaching Jobs in the NFL. The decision should only be based on who is best for the job. I have no problem if there are 3 African American Coaches or 30 African American Coaches. The only thing that should matter is who is best possible candidate.

  38. So to hire them because of their skin color is good but to not hire them because of their skin color is bad. With as much money that flows to a team doing well I really really really don’t think the owners give a rats ass what color these guys are.

  39. One idea about “steps being considered” is to extend the Rooney rule to coordinators or even other assistants. Idea is lack of minority coordinators may be the biggest reason league doesn’t have more minority coaches. Not endorsing, just passing along information.

  40. “To the its credit, the NFL has acknowledged that.” (that’s a verbatim quote; atta boy, grammar check.)

    The NFL (ie Goodell, etc.) represents the collective will of the owners. The owners can override their GMs, etc. if they really saw the need to promote diversity, in all its forms.

    The league has apparently become so scared of itself that it seeks cover from its own shadow.

  41. I have a few views on the subject:

    1. Its sad to say but racism does still exist in today’s society, so to say that some of those rules aren’t needed isn’t totally true.

    2. I also feel that the person best qualified should get the job no matter the skin color. If the better man happens to be a white man why give it to someone else based on color alone.

    3.If Mike Tomlin and Jason Garret go to interview for the same HC job I have Tomlin getting job 7/10 times.

    4. I am a black cowboy fan..

  42. I can’t believe the NFL has to issue a statement about this. Why don’t we just give everyone a Lombardi trophy too so nobody’s feelings get hurt. Whoever broght this “fact” to light really needs to get over themselves and realize that they weren’t the best candidate.

  43. Why would an owner not hire the best candidate possible?

    To hire a candidate just because he is a certain skin color is absurd.

    I am sure if a cant miss minority prospect is made available he will be hired.

  44. 12.6% of the population is black in the country. There are currently 3 HC in the NFL that are black that I can think of (Marvin Lewis, CIN, Leslie Frazier, MIN, and Mike Tomlin, PIT), so 3/32. Thats 9.4% of the HCs. With such a small number compared to the entire US population, I understand its hard to put a % on the amount of HCs that are black but what’s a good number? 5? That’s how many there were last year, which was 15.6% of the HC population, which is higher than the US populations %. Where are the latino, asian, and women coaches? They seem to be under represented. I mean, this is a private industry that can govern itself in terms of getting the best people in the best positions. This is ridiculous.

  45. The NFL surely but slowly pulling the football league down the drain. Just as sure as we set and say yes to everything the NFL and the commissioner Roger Goodell say and do we are just like them. The NFL and Roger Goodell don’t care nothing about the coaches nor general managers, cares less about the players and their safety. Its all about the dollar bill nothing else, lying and cheating organizations out of their money and also the players. The time Roger Goodell been as commissioner the game of football are getting boring because he are trying to add what the game of football don’t need, subtracting the great and enjoying parts out of the game.

  46. Well I know when it comes to Mike Lombardi there is no way that one can look at his résumé and say that he deserves to be the VP or personnel of the Cleveland Browns. He does not have any successes in his body of NFL work when he was making key decisions.

    What were the Browns thinking? You have Dave Razzano with the Colts out there who is 1000 if not 1,000,000 times the scout Lombardi is. It’s unbelievable.

    I think it’s more ineptitude than racism. Hiring Lombardi was just plain foolish. It’s like shooting yourself in the foot before you run a race. The Browns willingly handicapped themselves before embarking on their rebuilding process.

    I have yet to see an OC better than Hue Jackson get hired this year though. The man has proven he can develop QBs, WRs , and RBs. Even our O Line was beasting under Hue. He’s An obvious difference maker. Just look at what the Raiders did with him vs. what they did without him.

  47. Yeah, billions of dollars are at stake. There’s no way that Norv Turner’s son is not the best man for the job.

  48. It’s simple – figure out how many black coaches the NFL wants. If the league is below that number, force each team with a coaching vacancy to hire a black applicant until the minimum number of black coaches are in place.

    Or just give extra draft picks to teams that hire black coaches.

    Or else just shut up about the process, and let teams hire who they want.

  49. I am doubting that the owners, that have huge amounts of $$ in play, are rejecting qualified candidates based on skin color.

    They shouldn’t be forced to hire based on skin color to satisfy some arbitrary, feel good quota.

    Let the most qualified candidate win the job…

  50. If Roger Goodell is co concerned with diversity in positions of NFL leadership he should make a powerful and visible statement and lead by example- resign today from his $9 million dollar a year position and recommend that a minority replace him.

    And if he really wants to make a powerful statement of his commitment to diversity in NFL leadership above and beyond the nonsense of the Rooney Rule (which merely makes a mockery of minority candidates), Dan Rooney should today sell the team he worked SO hard to own (inherit) to a minority for a fraction of its current value.

    Talk is cheap.

  51. They waited this long to speak out? How about when the vacancies occurred Goodell should’ve reiterated this?

  52. You know it’s not like anyone hired J. William Fullbright, Al Gore Sr. , or Bull Conner as their head coach. Give it a rest, the last time I checked the president was Black.

  53. A lot of white guys haven’t been hired as Head Coaches over the last six years either. It must be that the guys who got the jobs are a lot whiter.

  54. Hey NFL, the reason Smith, Horton and Crennel cant find HC jobs has nothing to do with them being black, its because being from the defensive side of the ball in the modern NFL makes you toxic.

    What HC job was filled by a defensive-minded head coach or DC?

    Smith did a good job in Chicago, but he doesn’t know what to do with an offense, and in the modern offense focused, quarterback focused NFL that doesn’t cut it.

    If Chip Kelly was black you don’t think he would have been chased as hard by Philly? Its wasn’t because hes white it was because hes an offensive “genius.”

    If there was a black OC that had developed a young QB, the NFL wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  55. when will the NFL finally realize there are hardly ANY white running backs? Its so terrible that white men can’t get past this color barrier that exists.

    Get off it NFL – best guy for the job gets the job. The fact that teams have to waste their time/money to interview someone just because of their skin color is so absurd.

  56. “I passed on numerous minority candidates because I believed that they gave my football team a much better chance to succeed,” stated an anomomous NFL team owner.
    STUPID! Hire the best person for the job, not the “right colored person” for the job.

  57. Lovie Smith getting passed over by half these clowns is alarming to me.

    The NFL has an image to protect, and it looks bad in 2013 when they only have 4 minority coaches, not even seeking one out since Tomlin 6 years ago.

  58. Is this the same NFL that used to trot out Art Shell as the token interview so teams couod comply with the Rooney Rule?

  59. Obviously everyone on here lives in a bubble and can’t possibly fathom a reality in which remnants of racism still exist EVEN when money is involved. SMH…

    is it possible that there weren’t any good candidates out there for a head coaching position because they aren’t given the opportunity as coordinators and position coaches to be groomed for this spot?? Someone please tell me the stats for minority off coords in the league ????

    And is possible that some REALLY good minorities got looked over in favor coaches that leave you scratching your head? Chudzinski??? Oh yeah what an AMAZING offense he put together this year huh

  60. I’m not sure why the NFL doesn’t just cut to the heart of the matter and simply state that they are disappointed that there were no black coaches hired. Why aren’t they clamoring for gender discrimination? I wonder if they would have released any statements regarding this if an Asian had been hired.

  61. I am a very senior Black Male who has seen a lot in this life that has helped shape my perspectives. The Rooney Rule (good intentions and all) is an ineffective and insulting waste of time. And, this entire issue could – and does – go round and round with no real solution in sight. I don’t pretend to have an answer. Primarily because, from my perspective, other than the guy at Stanford, there just aren’t a bevy of qualified “minority candidates of any color” to choose from. And where do you start to even adjust that reality? If I was a team owner needing to win in this ultra competitive NFL, I would hire the best I could find, and his color would NOT matter.

Leave a Reply

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