The decision to table proposed Rooney Rule enhancements that would give teams draft-pick enhancement for hiring minority coaches or General Managers creates the impression that, if the proposal wasn’t tabled, it would have failed to secure the requisite 24 votes to secure passage. That’s not the case, Commissioner Roger Goodell said on a media conference call after Tuesday’s ownership videoconference.
“We table resolutions frequently,” Goodell said, “because the discussion leads to other ideas that make it more effective.”
He added that there is a “great deal of support” for the proposed enhancements, but that a decision was made to consider “suggestions, amendments, etc. and try to strengthen it.”
Goodell also pointed out that the proposal wouldn’t become effective before the next hiring cycle at the end of the calendar year, creating plenty of time to address the situation.
“We hope to meet in person several times before then,” Goodell said.
Executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent separately echoed the notion that the league has ample time to consider the best way to proceed.
“There’s no rush for this,” Vincent said. “Let’s get this right. Coach Dungy said it right. We shouldn’t be paying for people to do the right thing.”
Vincent’s remarks bolstered the sense that specific draft-pick enhancement for hiring a minority coach or General Manager has been, or likely will be, abandoned, and that any effort to make draft-pick currency available under the Rooney Rule will reflect compensation for teams that develop minority coaches and lose them to other teams, either as head-coaching hires or in other capacities. Indeed, when pressed by Jarrett Bell of USA Today to reconcile rewarding teams for boosting diversity with creating an unfair advantage, Goodell mentioned only the competitive consequences of losing a coach.
“We want teams to be investing in the futures of their coaches so they can move on,” Goodell said. “When you lose a coach there’s a competitive issue there.”
Thus, as this measure is revisited, it seems more likely that draft picks will be used to compensate teams that develop minority coaches who leave for jobs elsewhere than to specifically reward a team for hiring a minority coach or G.M.
Regardless, there’s still plenty of time before the next hiring cycle starts. The discussion over the past four days has gotten the attention of the league at large, and it has generated (and will continue to generate) plenty of discussion and ideas regarding the best way to strike the balance between using draft capital as a meaningful incentive without undermining minority candidates who secure the most coveted jobs in the sport.
For now, the biggest takeaway seems to be that, although teams likely won’t be rewarded for hiring minority head coaches or General Managers, they will be compensated for developing minority coaches who accept promotions with other teams. And that will give teams an even greater incentive to develop a deep, diverse, and highly-skilled group of coaches, who inevitably will have opportunities to advance, either with their current team or with another franchise.