The Rooney Rule, which requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority before hiring a new head coach or general manager, has been weakened in recent years by teams following the letter of the rule but ignoring its spirit. Those teams included the Browns in their hiring of G.M. John Dorsey, and the Raiders in their hiring of coach Jon Gruden.
Now the NFL is taking some steps that it hopes will strengthen the Rooney Rule.
At today’s league meeting, the NFL confirmed that the Rooney Rule has been updated to require teams to go outside their own organizations to interview a minority candidate, or to interview a candidate who is on the league’s career development advisory panel list.
That doesn’t solve the fundamental problem that Gruden’s hiring illustrated: Sometimes an owner makes up his mind about who to hire as his next coach or G.M., and his mind isn’t going to change. In those cases, an owner is still going to interview a minority candidate he’s not planning to hire. And if minority candidates take offense at that, or decline such interviews, it’s hard to blame them.