Fritz Pollard Alliance “concerned” about Texans’ Rooney Rule compliance

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The Houston Texans recently interviewed two African-Americans, Ray Farmer and Martin Mayhew, for their General Manager vacancy. Then the Texans tried to hire Nick Caserio for the job. Then the Texans didn’t hire anyone when Caserio couldn’t get out of his contract with the Patriots.

That leads to an obvious question: Were the interviews with Farmer and Mayhew legitimate? Or were they a violation of the spirit of the Rooney Rule, an attempt to check the box by interviewing minorities but not really giving them an opportunity to get the job?

When PFT put that question today to the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s new executive director, Rod Graves, Graves said he had some concerns about how the Texans conducted their G.M. search.

“We are concerned about how the Rooney Rule was used,” Graves said. “They brought those gentlemen in quickly, gave the impression they were looking to make a fast decision, and then they came off of it.”

Despite reports that the Texans do not plan to hire a G.M., Graves said he still hopes Farmer or Mayhew gets a shot.

“I have not heard definitively that they have abandoned their process of replacing their general manager, but if they have, it is a concern,” Graves said. “It is a concern that two outstanding candidates, Martin Mayhew and Ray Farmer, were not part of their alternative plan even if, in fact, they had an initial option of looking at Nick Caserio first. I understand the reasons why Nick may have been appealing, but through my own experience, we’ve always gone into interviews with a Plan B.”

Graves said the Fritz Pollard Alliance would be happy to help the Texans identify candidates for the job, which remains vacant.

“The fact that they interviewed two outstanding candidates and chose not to make a decision after not being able to get their first choice, to me is a concern in the fact that it does circumvent the spirit of the Rooney Rule,” Graves said. “And if there are other reasons why those candidates are not appealing, then we’d like to know how we can help to possibly bring others to the table. I think there are many others out there who are qualified and who deserve an opportunity to be interviewed.”

Graves points to what has become a common refrain about the Rooney Rule: NFL teams have all agreed to abide by its letter, but many teams have circumvented its spirit.

49 responses to “Fritz Pollard Alliance “concerned” about Texans’ Rooney Rule compliance

  1. Did the Fritz Pollarders complain when, for example, Belichick long ago direct-hired Romeo Crennel and/or recently direct-promoted Brian Flores, that the vacancies hadn’t been fair and open? No. And that’s what bothers me about them. The only positive thing they do is keep Fritz’s name alive, but boy do they dine and whine on it.

  2. Don’t know much about Mayhew, but Farmer’s performance in Cleveland would suggest he is not and “outstanding candidate.”

  3. When you FORCE an organization to interview people, you’re going to run into problems. This is a stupid rule, no one was ever hired because of this rule. They were hired on merit. It’s stupid and appeases the idiots.

  4. Obviously, Graves wants to see someone hired for the color of their skin and not for the content of their qualifications. It appears the Texans simply did not think the two Rooney candidates were the fit they are seeking and that is Houston’s decision – not Graves or anyone else. To disclose where the candidates failed to meet the Texans’ requirements would be to harm future opportunities for those men. The Alliance should focus on violations and not try to start a fire where there is not even smoke but that seems to be the objective – here and in other matters.

  5. Affirmative Action was an antiquated policy that disappeared in the American employment scene years ago. It was replaced by a naturally occurring diversity in the workplace that balances experience, competence, and social skills. Employers often use outside ‘headhunters’ to fill key positions, just as the NFL does. Most high level NFL openings are screened by just a few placement firms.

  6. I am in general, not in favor of quotas for anything.

    However, on the other side, I can see the point here. There is strong evidence that the Texans wanted Caserio or nobody. And that’s their right, if they has a very specific set of traits they were looking for.

    However, who is to say they wouldn’t have found those traits in other candidates? Mike Tomlin was on NOBODY’S radar when he interviewed for the Steeler’s job, but he got it. And I realize there are those who think Tomlin stinks, and maybe his tenure has run its course… But that doesn’t discount his outstanding HC record.

  7. Isn’t it about time to get rid of this stupid rule? Just hire the best person for the job and be done with it.

    ====
    Accept before the rule almost 0 minority applicants would be given an interview.

  8. Alright, in all honesty, to refer to Ray Farmer as an “outstanding” candidate is beyond laughable. You really wanna go over his draft picks in CLE?

  9. The letter of the Rooney Rule violates the spirit of the Rooney Rule.

  10. The Rooney Rule is a joke. NFL teams would hire green dudes from Mars if they could win football games….

  11. Plenty of reason to question the moves the Texans are making but this isn’t one of them. They complied and did the interviews. End of story.

  12. Silly rule. Hire the best candidate regardless of race, religion.
    It seems as if everything going on, does not involve the experience, background, previous positions. Just be P.C.
    What a sham.

  13. Man, scary how ignorant people can be.

    The Rooney Rule in not a “Quota System”

    The Rooney Rule is not “Affirmative Action”

    The Rooney Rule does not force anyone to hire “Less Qualified” candidates.

    All of the above comes directly from posts on this thread.

    All the Rooney Rule does is make teams at the very least give an interview to a minority candidate, something that never used to happen,and USED to ensure NOT even picking from a pool of best candidates for the job. There are dozens of positions where it has worked. Brian Flores the latest, because he was given an interview by the Cardinals last year to satisfy the R. Rule, and that put him on the radar to execs for the Miami job.

    Stupid or not, it is about the simplest rule to comply with ever.

  14. Isn’t it about time to get rid of this stupid rule? Just hire the best person for the job and be done with it.
    —————————————-

    That would be great except for years they didn’t hire the best person, just someone from the old boys club that had no members of color. Thus the need for the Rooney Rule. It has created some opportunities for a handful of coaches but for the most part, as in the Texans example, it has been a farce. What old boys club you say? The one that kept bringing back retreads with poor records like the Jeff Fishers of the world.

  15. Make stupid rules, expect stupid results.

    The rule is a farce, thus, the interviews are a farce.

    Ultimately, the team will hire or not hire to their choosing, which will most certainly be based on merit, regardless of skin color.

    I think rules like this CREATE most of the racism experienced today. It creates a divide. It sends a message that NFL Executives and owners are so incompetent that they cannot see talent beyond skin color, and that this rule opens their eyes to fully qualified candidates they’ve purposefully ignored. Of course, that’s fake news.

  16. nflfan12blog says:
    July 16, 2019 at 4:22 pm
    Man, scary how ignorant people can be.

    The Rooney Rule in not a “Quota System”

    The Rooney Rule is not “Affirmative Action”

    The Rooney Rule does not force anyone to hire “Less Qualified” candidates.

    All of the above comes directly from posts on this thread.

    All the Rooney Rule does is make teams at the very least give an interview to a minority candidate, something that never used to happen,and USED to ensure NOT even picking from a pool of best candidates for the job. There are dozens of positions where it has worked. Brian Flores the latest, because he was given an interview by the Cardinals last year to satisfy the R. Rule, and that put him on the radar to execs for the Miami job.

    Stupid or not, it is about the simplest rule to comply with ever.

    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    And the Texans complied with it……

    BUT! That is increasingly becoming not enough, since every team that complies and then hires the guy they wanted in the first place is accused of not following the “spirit” of the rule.

  17. This is a no win rule. Many people have criticized teams for conducting sham interviews. You can’t identify someone as the guy you want unless it’s a minority

  18. youngnoize says:
    July 16, 2019 at 3:19 pm
    Bob McNair’s dream lives on. Without this rule, African American’s wouldn’t even get a shot at some of these positions. I think everyone knows such even if they won’t admit it.

    ——-

    While I totally agree with you, the simple fact is that racists aren’t going to hire them even if they interview them. So it becomes an exercise in futility for the candidate. Some might argue that it is good interviewing experience for the candidate, however I believe there are better ways to receive interview coaching and career advancement skills that might be more effective. The league and the Fritz Pollard Alliance might get better results if they eliminate the Rooney Rule and provide career advancement training and interview coaching seminars instead.

    Word of mouth gets around quickly in any environment. When teams see someone they think has the right skills, they’ll be interested.

  19. When you force someone to hire based on skin color I stead of qualifications, this is the result or you get u qualified people running things. Just hire the qualified person no matter color and all good.

  20. Remembering Al Davis …
    He was the first to hire a black head coach.
    He was the first to fire a black head coach.
    He did what he thought was best for his team – as it was, as it will be, and as it always should remain.

  21. luvkcchiefs says:
    July 16, 2019 at 4:55 pm
    When you force someone to hire based on skin color I stead of qualifications, this is the result or you get u qualified people running things. Just hire the qualified person no matter color and all good.
    ——————————–

    That always sounds great when it’s a white person saying it.

    Tell me they were hiring the “best person available” when all the quarterbacks were white because black people “don’t have the necessities” as Al Campanis put it.

    Tell me they were hiring “the best person available” when they hire Kliff Klingsbury from a losing college program.

    And don’t give me the argument well we elected a black president. Does that mean all of our racial problems are solved? You just have to look to the current occupant of the corner office to know maybe that decision shouldn’t be put in the hands of the people.

  22. I have a fundamental issue with the assumptions of this complaint. Houston interviewed its candidates, and wanted Caserio. Maybe it REALLY wanted Caserio; maybe it STILL wants Caserio. Remember, it isn’t that Caserio declined and will never be available, but rather that his hiring was blocked. Caserio will eventually becoming available, and perhaps Houston would rather wait for its candidate than hire someone as a token placeholder. WOULDN’T IT BE WORSE FOR THE TEAM TO TOKEN HIRE SOMEONE KNOWING IT WOULD FIRE THE GUY AS SOON AS CASERIO BECAME AVAILABLE? If anything, this seems more honest. There is no rule that a team must move on to another candidate as a “plan B” if “plan A” is (temporarily) prevented from being hired. Perhaps plan B is to simply wait? Hmm…

  23. I would like to hear Rod Graves define what he thinks is an “Outstanding Candidate”. Surely the won /loss record is not one of the ingredients the Pollard committee thinks holds much merit.

  24. Yes, maybe Doug Whaley will get another chance to run a team into the dirt…
    ***********************************

    Doug Whaley isn’t the only one who ran organizations in the dirt. There are good old boys just as bad.

  25. This is unreal. They forcibly interviewed two middling (at best) GMs and now they are being reprimanded for doubling down but essentially being told they have no right to hold out for Caserio?

    I think Caserio would be foolish to go there, but that is another story.

  26. allsyntax says:
    July 16, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    Make stupid rules, expect stupid results.

    The rule is a farce, thus, the interviews are a farce.

    I think rules like this CREATE most of the racism experienced today. It creates a divide. It sends a message that NFL Executives and owners are so incompetent that they cannot see talent beyond skin color, and that this rule opens their eyes to fully qualified candidates they’ve purposefully ignored. Of course, that’s fake news.
    —————————

    Have you watched football more than a year? The NFL’s Chief Executive has proven himself incompetent many times- do you think front offices are any different? Why do you think the same coaching retreads happen year after year? Coaches who outright stink, repeatedly get hired. Mike Mcoy has had like 6 NFL coaching jobs- stunk everywhere- not unusual at all. Most hires happen in the NFL because of nepotism and cronyism- been that way forever.

    Those “competent” owners and Execs you speak of ignored far more talented black QB’s for DECADES. Al Davis was in the forefront of hiring the best regardless, and he took major criticism from other owners for doing so- this is well documented. Heck, Rush Limbaugh even said in the eighties that he didn’t think black athletes had the intelligence for the QB position- crazy.

    It is better to go on a “farce” interview, than no interview at all- don’t understand how people can’t grasp this simple concept- whether they get hired or not, they have succeeded in “networking”- which is one of the most important factors in future placement. That’s true in any business.

  27. if it wasn’t for this rule graves wouldn’t be working. worst gm alive * (see cards) complete idiot.

  28. There is way to much money involved for teams to say nah im not hiring this guy because he is ( what ever ) color.

    if anything this rule is racist and makes a mockery of minoritys who are getting interviewed just so teams can get through a stupid rule.

  29. If it wasn’t for this rule, the best person for the job would be hired… heck, I think caucasian defensive backs should get a shot in the nfl also while we’re talking about “checking the boxes”…

  30. I wonder if the Fritz-Pollard Alliance would be concerned if all the minorities given interviews were either Asian or Hispanic? My guess is that they would.

  31. The Fritz-Pollard Alliance is, by definition, a racist organization. Fighting racism with racism. I just don’t see how that makes any sense, to anyone, except Art Rooney I guess.

  32. The original intent was to present prospective black coaches / front office personnel to the ownership for a ‘look see’ _with no strings attached_ . Then the Fitz Pollard Alliance was created to ‘brow beat’ ownership when the desired results weren’t achieved. That move hasn’t achieved results either.

  33. So why didn’t this rule get enforced when Tony Dungy annointed Jim Caldwell as coach to replace him when he retired ? No white candidates were interviewed. So why wasn’t that an issue? That alone shows how racist this rule is and only applies to white men applying for a job

  34. Can’t think of any process more demeaning than fake, phony interview. The pat on the head and thanks for coming by. Is the their anything more demeaning or belittleing?

  35. This is nothing. I’ve had several cases where I’ve interviewed 3 or 4 people for a job and none of them made me want to pull the trigger. Just because somebody qualifies for an interview doesn’t mean they’re automatically in the mix for the job.

    THAT SAID, I’ve also had a case where I interiewed a couple of people, fell totally in love with one and wanted to go to offer, and HR told me I had to interview at least 2 more people first. I did, and one of those two blew me away and got the job.

    THere are so many things that go into the interiew process – is the interviewee qualified enough? Does he have the interpersonal skills we need? Is she a leader? Will he grow into the job or has she already outgrown it? Is he a good fit with the oganization?

    Maybe the Texans just weren’t blown away by anybody other than Caserio. And maybe they want him so badly they’re okay waiting a year. That doesn’t make them blind to minority hiring and they shouldn’t be accused of such.

  36. I have two points: 1) The Texans have had a black GM for 10 of their 16 years of existence and that guy was not fired but, rather stepped away due to the illness of his wife. Secondly, the Rooney Rule exists to give minorities a chance to be heard during the search process. The only thing it guarantees is that these minority candidates be listened to and considered during the process and that the individuals gain from the experience for their future opportunities. That’s it. At the end of the day the team can hire whoever they want. Had they been blown away by one of the guys they talked to, he would be in the big office today.

  37. footballpat says:
    July 16, 2019 at 5:09 pm
    luvkcchiefs says:
    July 16, 2019 at 4:55 pm
    When you force someone to hire based on skin color I stead of qualifications, this is the result or you get u qualified people running things. Just hire the qualified person no matter color and all good.
    ——————————–

    That always sounds great when it’s a white person saying it.

    Tell me they were hiring the “best person available” when all the quarterbacks were white because black people “don’t have the necessities” as Al Campanis put it.

    Tell me they were hiring “the best person available” when they hire Kliff Klingsbury from a losing college program.

    And don’t give me the argument well we elected a black president. Does that mean all of our racial problems are solved? You just have to look to the current occupant of the corner office to know maybe that decision shouldn’t be put in the hands of the people.

    —————

    Maybe you and some of your buddies should get together and purchase a team and hire whomever you want. To that end, the owners have every right to hire whomever they want for whatever reason they want. If you don’t like it…then don’t support the team.

  38. I understand the intent of the rule. That said, when an organization knows who it wants at the outset, any other effort becomes a waste of everyone’s time. Can you imagine if back in January of 2000, when Bob Kraft was looking for a replacement for Pete Carroll if he had to conduct interviews? Everybody on the planet knew he wanted one man and one man only.

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