Ron Rivera calls lack of minority hires disheartening


When it comes to minority hiring, the NFL this year came within one vacancy of mimicking the 2008 Lions, going 0-for-15 in coaching and G.M. positions.

Despite a fairly vocal contingent of fans who seem to not understand the impact of state and federal laws against race discrimination, the NFL realizes its owners can’t hire whomever they want to hire.  And so the NFL rightly is disappointed by the recent trend.

One of the few remaining minority head coaches in the NFL addressed the dynamic in comments to Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer, calling the lack of minority hires “disheartening.”

“I’ll give you a name, Perry Fewell,” Rivera said, referring to the Giants defensive coordinator.  “He’s a great coach and I really think he should have been in the cycle.”

Fewell, as far as we can tell, didn’t even get an interview this year.

“This guy went to the Super Bowl last year and helped design a [heck of a] defense,” Rivera said.  “Sometimes you do sit there and go, ‘Wow, some guys do get overlooked,’ and it’s happened to me, too.  Hopefully Perry will have a great opportunity next year.”

Rivera may have a point.  The last time the Giants won the Super Bowl, their defensive coordinator (Steve Spagnuolo) immediately became a “hot” head-coaching candidate.  A year later, he went to the Rams.  Three years later, he was fired.  One year later, he was fired again as defensive coordinator of the Saints.

Regardless of race, the problem becomes that owners allow themselves to get caught up in whomever the media identifies as the “hot” candidate, locking in on a name before doing proper due diligence.  For whatever reason, the “hot” name far more often than not belongs to a white coach.  (Maybe the media isn’t as liberal as everyone assumes.)

And while we agree with Rivera’s observations on minority coaching hires, we need to mention — and to disagree with — another comment he made about his quarterback, Cam Newton.

“It kind of bothers me when people say, ‘Well Cam is a black quarterback,'” Rivera said.  “Well, he’s a quarterback.  Aren’t we past that yet?”

Unless I’m missing something, I think we are past that.  Though improvements clearly are needed when it comes to hiring coaches, coaches have become color blind when it comes to quarterbacks.  I’m not aware of anyone calling Cam Newton or any other current African-American signal-caller a “black quarterback.”  (I’m wrong, please correct me with links pasted in the comments.)

They’re all quarterbacks, regardless of skin color.  Hopefully, one day, they’ll all be coaches, too.  Without regard to any superficial factor that has no bearing on ability, intelligence, or character.

While no owner or other employer will ever declare that decisions of this kind are being made at least in part based on rate, the numbers are what they are.  And the numbers are, as the NFL freely admits, disappointing.

65 responses to “Ron Rivera calls lack of minority hires disheartening

  1. Yeah, you’re right, we shouldn’t refer to people by race (black quarterback.)

    Then let’s end this black head coach and white head coach bull. If you honestly believe there is some great Caucasian conspiracy to keep minorities away from coaching, then I pity your weakness.

    Whomever will win is all that matters.

    We are becoming a nation of criers and victims.

  2. NFL owners will hire whomever they think is best for the job regardless of race. There are less minority head coaches in the NFL because they are minorities in the U.S.

  3. In todays world race isn’t an issue unless you make it an issue and racism is only applied to whites. The highest paid athletes (and vast majority of athletes) are minorities, the highest paid actor (will smith), tv personality (oprah), musician (jay-z/beyonce), the POTUS is a minority yet people are looking for, finding, and crying racism more than ever in the past 30yrs. Americans love racism, it doesn’t prevent you from acheiving anymore but playing the race card helps you achieve anything.

  4. Ron Rivera you will be fired next year what are you 1-15 in games decided by 7 points . Perry Fewell sucks Ravens whipped the giants D’s ass. That team fell apart . The only reason they won another superbowl was because Eli Manning give me a break with owners cant hire who they want. This is 2013 not 1920 .

  5. I am so tired of hearing about this topic. Until their are more minority “canadites” for head coaching jobs then there isn’t much NFL teams can do about it.

    Becoming a head coach at any level requires years of climbing the ladder. More then likely you have to start off as a low paid coordinator and work your way through the ranks. If you are a minority that has been able make your way through college (either playing football or getting and education) you are going to have to start at a low level paying job. If you start as a grad assistant you are probably living in a dorm room betting paid $30,000. That is on the high end at a major program. Alot of these minority kids that don’t get drafted probably aren’t going to accept a job like that unless they truly want to pursue a coaching dream. There just are a lot of minority canidates filling the pipe line to get head coaching jobs at any levels.

    I have friend that graduated in ’99 from college, he started off as a grad assistant basically living in the practice facilities on a cot for two years getting paid nothing. 15 years later he still isn’t making over $70,000 coaching. You can make $70,000 grand in almost any other profession within a couple years of graduating.

  6. A lot of white players get into the NFL by being better making plays with their head and not with their body. When these white players retire they are better suited to coaching…maybe(!?).

    Who knows though, are we questioning whether it is racist that 70-percent of the the players are black when blacks only make-up 13-percent of the US population?

  7. Ron should be happy he got to keeps his job. That should count as one minoirty hiring for coaches. Cam has never been called a black Qb by media in the Carolina region that I’m aware of. Stick to the facts Ron and stay out of the race baiting media hype.

  8. It will be nice when the racists of america stop pointing their fingers at everyone else.The rooney rule is stupid.

  9. “In todays world race isn’t an issue unless you make it an issue and racism is only applied to whites.”

    See I tend to think, not talking about something makes it even worse. If we can’t have an open dialogue about an issue, it’s not going to go away by ignoring it. It’s painfully obvious to the NFL and those employed by the league, that there is a problem. Why can everyone else realize that too, or at least be aware that potentially, its a problem.

    And racism is not only applied to whites. Obviously you are BLIND to the world, my friend.

  10. The only group who should be more ashamed of its track record of hiring minorities than the NFL is Division I-A (or whatever it is now) college football. Minorities (primarily black men) have made up about 2/3 of its players for the last SEVERAL DECADES…and yet somehow these men are routinely overlooked or given a chance to grow into coaching positions. It’s a disgrace. I don’t know of an owner who consciously discriminates against minorities, but it seems that a number of them let a number of ex-players who have the ability to coach after their playing days slip through the cracks without any encouragement. I’ve been a football fan for a long time, but it’s a disappointment that the league limits the overall quality of its coaches by not considering more seriously men from all ethnicities. Come on owners, change your approach on this matter…not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it would inevitably make your game better.

  11. I am a Giants fan and I think that Perry Fewell, especially after this season, did not deserve an interview. The Giants had one of the worst defenses in the NFL down the stretch. This isn’t pre-1970s America. Plenty of minority coaches have jobs on various staffs in the NFL.

  12. Says the dummy who hired Mike “3 & out” Shula over Hue Jackson.

    For a Panther fan that should be disheartening. You all will be introducing a new head coach Jan, 2014.

  13. They will never be just “coaches” if idiots like Rivera. Keep pulling up the race card.

    I am sure Fewell is a good person and a good coordinator. Maybe he does not interview well.

    This is not a job at Mcdonalds, you are handing over a multi-million dollar roster. If you do not come with a plan that meets what the owner wants.

    You should not get the job, no matter what color your skin is.

  14. It’s not about being black, it’s how you conduct yourself. Cam is a showboat and he sulks, that’s why he gets criticized. Ever notice how many times people mention the race of Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick? Umm…never. ( I would have said RGIII fits here too but he’s been subject to racism from his OWN race.)
    It doesn’t matter because they are (all 3 of them) hardworking, mature young men.

    I heard some player complaining about why Lovie Smith wasn’t hired. Let’s put it this way. The man’s team missed the playoffs 5 out of the last 6 years or something AND it was reported he would come back ONLY as a HC this year. If anything the Bears were pretty patient with him. Gruden didn’t get the tenure in TB Smith had in Chi and Gruden had a SB win in his pocket.

    Some of the non monorities have been willing to step back into coordinator roles to return, like Norv Turner for instance. Maybe Smith will too after next year. But why let facts come into play when you can just cry about hating the outcome and label it racist with no context and no criticism. Was that same player equally upset that Marty Schottenheimer got fired after going 14-2?

  15. Why is that the term minority is only used for Black Americans in the NFL? In my opinion this leaves out the first true minority head coach to win a Super Bowl, Tom Flores, yet for some reason the honor goes to Tony Dungy?

  16. Why doesn’t the media highlight the % of black vs white athletes? Should there be a quota for white defensive backs?

    Clooney Rule for athletes! Its not fair! WAH!

  17. I am a minority and I F$&@ing hate this rule. It is nothing more than REVERSE RACISM! U should be able to hire whoever u feel will best help your team win. PERIOD! Why should u be forced to hire a minority to be your HC or GM? Makes no sense. What is next…requiring a team employs a certain percentage of whites on their active roster? The sport is being overrun (sarcasm) by African Americans. That must be unfair and discriminatory towards whites. Is it not equal to envoke the same rule for active players? Again, this is coming from a 100% minority.

  18. The sooner we as a people and as a country can admit that women and men are different. And that blacks, whites, and asians are different… the sooner we can move on being one people.

    Constantly treating minorities as second class citizens by making sure they have a “leg up” and a special rule that treats them as the butt of the joke (token minority coach interview) doesn’t nothing but insult them and keep them pigeon holed.

    What a joke.

  19. If you believe race should play a factor when hiring a head coach, then you are a racist. Hands down.

    I am white. I am not “disheartened” when my team drafts a black running back instead of a white one. I do not “hope” that Peyton Hillis gets more carries next year because he is white.

    I have a good friend who watches football with me every Sunday. He is black. He does not root for black players to succeed over white players. He wants our team to win. He appreciates good players for who they are, not for their skin color.

    Why do people like Ron Rivera and Tony Dungy think like that? Why do they selectively get to choose which races to support? To a lesser extent, comment’s like Dungy’s and Rivera’s disgust me in a similar way to the “white power” cults we hear about now and again. Racism has no place in today’s society, and that goes for everyone.

  20. I would like to point out that Ron used the word “people” not “media.” So, if you’re being fair, Florio, then you don’t really have a right to disagree with this.

    To say “well show me a time that it happened that you can prove it happened” is child’s play. The media doesn’t resemble everything that has ever been said about Cam. Other people who Ron has spoken with or encountered – in his own life experience – which ( this may surprise you) you may not necessarily know about – may have also been who have said these things and are who he is referring to.

    If a tree falls in the forest and the media isn’t around to see it, doesn’t mean it didn’t make a sound.

    I believe you’re well intentioned but, as a former lawyer, you’re not looking at the totality of the situation.

  21. Hey Ron Rivera, let me throw something out there. How come YOU didn’t pick up Perry, or interview him? Is your record so fantastic that you don’t need improvement. Kind of resembles the pro-lifers that never have or never will adopt a child. You really need to concentrate on your team and keeping your job.

  22. jeremyb91 says: Feb 18, 2013 10:56 AM

    Why is that the term minority is only used for Black Americans in the NFL? In my opinion this leaves out the first true minority head coach to win a Super Bowl, Tom Flores, yet for some reason the honor goes to Tony Dungy?


    Exactly!!! It’s obvious that when it comes to the NFL, the word minority only refers to blacks and nobody else. The Rooney Rule is an insulting joke and it should be eliminated as it is no longer needed.

  23. Rub it in to white people! What is the breakdown for player race? When it comes to football the whites are the minority! The Rooney Rule is a joke!!!!! Rudy rule should be jn play for the true minority!!!!

  24. “It’s painfully obvious to the NFL and those employed by the league, that there is a problem. Why can everyone else realize that too, or at least be aware that potentially, its a problem.

    And racism is not only applied to whites. Obviously you are BLIND to the world, my friend.”

    What’s painfully obvious is that there is a lot of people ingrained with either a victim mentality or guilt “for the sins of my ancestors” mentality, both of which are delusional.

    As far as being blind to the world, show me where anyone but a white person has been accused of a hate crime or unfair hiring practices.

  25. The NFL could just say “When you hire a new coach, he will be other than white”. Make every team hire non-white coaching staffs. Eventually the entire league will be other than white. That is the only way. (hope the sarcasm comes through in text)

    To be realistic about it, there isnt an owner out there who cares what ethnicity coaches or players are. Teams simply want the best ones available and that is it. They want their team to win. Winning is where the money is at. So, should they take a coach that they feel can win? Or should they select a coach based strictly on whether or not they are non-white? Show me a team that would rather lose than to hire a non-white coach. If you think you can answer that, you have an agenda or are just too stupid to formulate an answer.

  26. Who was supposed to get hired? Fewell and Lovie were really the only minority candidates, and neither inspired confidence enough to turn over the keys to a $121 million payroll to.

    Most of the coaching vacancies went to no brainers. Teams like Cleveland, Philly, and others got who they wanted ahead of time. Were they supposed to alter their search and hire a black guy, just because he is black?

    I am a black guy. Never been to Africa, nor have my parents. This whole rule is garbage. As mentioned above, there are waaay more minority players than white. Should players be cut simply because of race? No, thats racist. And so is all this talk of complaining about not enough minority coaches.

    These owners have billion dollar teams. No owner in their right mind is going to want to go 4-12 with a white coach vs 10-6 with a minority. There is too much at stake to play the race game with coaches.

  27. While this is ridiculous, I can certainly see the NFL changing the rules and we’ll be hearing about the requirement for all OC’s and DC’s to have a minority candidate interviewed as well.

    If Fewell had job interviews for all open vacancies and didn’t get the job, there would be many still beating the same drum (the marching band type one, not the Native American one) saying that there is a conspiracy. Maybe he’s just not good enough or yet ready to be a coach, maybe he’s happy in NY and turned down requests for interviews quietly, or the Giants did on his behalf behind the scenes?

    All sorts of good coaches may not be good head coaches. Look at Wade Phillips, Norv Turner and Romeo Cronell as constant reminders of that.

  28. Be careful what you wish for. The day the NFL has all black QBs all black head coaches and all black players it the day it has an all black audience. That would be the nail in the coffin for this sport.

  29. so let’s just say teams hire black coaches to more than 70% of the league. Will there be a rule put in place to make sure teams hire more white coaches then? how about a rule that makes teams consider more white/Asian/Hispanic players instead of more than 70% of the nfl being black.

  30. What really cheeses me is the fact that are NO WOMEN coaches.I think the rooney rule should be expanded and be more inclusive to women.The league is clearly sexist too!

  31. How many current NFL minority players after retirement would be able to transition into coaching? Not trying to be funny or a racist but half these kids playing in the NFL aren’t the sharpest or most articulate people in the world. You think an owner is going to hire any of these kids to be the face of their franchise.

    In the entire NFL today I bet there are only a handful of minority players that will even consider going into coaching after retirement. Some maybe lucky to get a media job but a majority of them will be bankrupt within a few years of retiring.

    I have been watching football for almost 40 years, I can probably count on my hand how many form minority players went into the coaching profession. There just isn’t enough canidates in the pipeline to fill head coaching jobs.

  32. When it comes to hiring the players, there certainly doesn’t appear to be any racism. Teams want to win and be successful it appears to me, by picking players based on talent/skills. So why would they pass on a minority coach who can help them win? Doesn’t add up.

  33. I love when the NFL makes HC vacancies a race issue. I don’t recall the NFL releasing press statements about the lack of minority candidates for comish. Last I checked when Goddell was named comish there wasn’t a single minority in the running.

    NFL is such hypocrites.

  34. Last season there were 4 African-American HCs out of 32 positions, or 12.5%. African-Americans are 12.4% of the total US population.

    Where’s the problem again?

  35. There’s a good pipeline of talent brewing for minority coaches in 2014:

    Ray Horton – DC – Browns
    David Shaw – HC – Stanford
    Mel Tucker – DC – Bears
    Alan Williams – DC – Vikings

    Sure, we’d like to see more minorities obtain head coaching positions in the NFL. But I can’t really argue against any of the HC hirings made this year.

    Arians, Trestman, Bradley, McCoy, Kelly, Reid all made sense for the right reasons on their respective teams.

  36. As a diehard Panther fan, all I’d like to say is focus on coaching and winning close games Ron. You’re not yet a good enough coach to opine on who should get hired.

  37. I really doubt any owner would not a hire a minority HC or GM. It’s all about making money. Winning makes money. Enough of this nonsense of needing to hire a minority. I’m a minority myself and would hate to think I would be given job as opposed to earning a job.

  38. The term running quarterback should be taken a couple of steps further. Running QB = IR QB. IR QB = half time QB. Half time QB = half pay OB. Which ends up doing no service to the team. In Ten Years we will see who has the best numbers and most games played between RG3 and Luck. Time will prove this statement

  39. the term minority explains this pretty well. there are simply less minorities than majorities so it we would make sense that less minorities have been hired. there are only 32 NFL head coaching jobs in the whole world.

  40. What I love about these veiled comments about racism is that how come no one ever goes down the list, and calls out which coach is an illegitimate hire? Come on Rivera, start naming names. Why won’t the spinless press ask a follow up, for him to name names. Rivera, who is the sham coach hired by what racist owner? Name names.

    Cricket sounds and lonely tumbleweeds nearby.

    This is part of many aspects of the new 21st century racism: false racial claims by either racist white liberals who are taught to behave this way or the spinless portion of minorities bowing to peer pressure from those who demand they interpret their “social duty” a certain way instead of just having one’s own mind. This only results in actually holding the country back and keeping it divided; the unintelligent who do these things don’t have an ability to understand this.

    Know why Rivera thinks what he does? Because he’s been taught he has to.

  41. The NFL needs to quit this bullsh@t!

    The real reasons are plain and simple why the most teams (owners/shareholders/ Robert Kraft & Ralph Wilson) won’t take a risk on Head Coaches who are QB’s (Qualified and Black) is because they really don’t possess adesire to or have a need to and are not really required(pretend the Rooney Rule is effective) because he who has the gold makes the rule! (insert Roger Goodell here). The “rationale” of not having sufficient candidates is a falsehood at the very least.

    The NFL has over 80% of the contractors (aka) professional football players who are African- Americans and less than 1% of African-American current head coaches. Why is that? It’s America!

    If you truly want to hire someone you can, Jerry Jones proved that by hiring that old fart from USC…..(Union of Senior Coaches) if you truly don’t want to hire someone, you can. Ask Lovie Smith about this one! Are we really to believe Lovie is happy being out of the game even though he is still getting paid? I think not!

    Like I said, if the NFL was really serious about hiring qualified Head Coaching candidates, why on earth would you need a rule…why not make it the Norm? (not Norm Van Brocklin either!) The NFL is not obliged to follow the federal hiring practices.

    Stop this nonsense and deal with the truth, plain and simple. Goodell and his bosses need to look at the men in the mirror….instead of the gameday attendance $$$$$$. As long as the fans are still coming to the stadiums and/or watching on Game Day Sundays, who gives a crap?

  42. Lol I like how he used the term “vocal contingent” to downplay the fact that most believe it should be the employer’s right to hire whomever they feel is most qualified for the job.

  43. Too much money involved in the sport to think owners are sitting in their offices conspiring of ways to not hire minority candidates, which Florio clearly seems to think is the case.

  44. And yes, the term black QB has been replaced with “running QB” which has been applies to every single black QB in the League in recent times, regardless of the validity of how it relates to the player. Newton, as Rivera stated, is a prime example.

  45. Does no one pay attention to football? This is NOT a race issue, nor has it been a race issue for a long time and the reason their isn’t that many minority coaches is because the NFL has been barking up the wrong tree as far as who and where the Rooney Rule needs to be applied.

    Most of the best assistant coaches are the ones getting the interviews and getting hired. Let me give you the names of some assistant coaches out their in the NFL. Brian Schottenheimer, Rob Ryan, Pat Shumur, Mike Nolan, Kyle Shanahan, Wes Phillips and Scott Turner. Now are you understanding? Coaches are hiring their friends and now THEIR KIDS to all the good coordinator spots while legends like Chris Carter and Deon Sanders (and for that matter Brett Favre and Troy Aikman) are either coaching guys on their own time or coaching HIGH SCHOOL football. Stop nepatism in assistant coach hiring and you’ll have more minority coaches than non minorities in the NFL sooner than later.

  46. Lets just end the fuss! Whites will be the minorities soon. I think they re are more minorities in this country that reported by the government. It’s all propaganda!

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