Marvin Lewis: Draft incentive plan was “definitely offensive”

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After a proposal was floated last week that the league was considering rewarding teams for minority hiring with draft position, the reaction was immediate.

And it wasn’t necessarily positive.

Former Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis had strong feelings about that proposal — which was tabled this week as the league expanded the scope of the Rooney Rule.

“It was offensive, definitely offensive,” Lewis said, via Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun. “It was like having Jim Crow laws.”

That language is certainly stronger, but it’s not totally different in theme from Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy, who said he was concerned about the “unintended consequences” if such a plan had been enacted.

The league shelved that proposal, and instead expanded the Rooney Rule to require teams to interview at least two external minority candidates for head coaching jobs, at least one minority candidate for any of the three coordinator positions, and at least one external minority candidate for the senior football operations or General Manager jobs. The league also expanded the scope to other executive position outside of the football operation, and removed team’s ability to block assistants from interviewing for coordinator jobs.

It’s at least a sign of recognition of the problem, in a league with four minority head coaches and two minority G.M.s.

“We had come a long way as far as assistant coaches, but we never made any inroads in management,” Lewis said. “This will be a plus requiring more than one minority to be interviewed because it will cause them to take a deeper dive. This will allow more minorities more opportunities.”

Former Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome was more measured in his words, but chose to see this week’s moves as a positive.

“Am I concerned about the lack of hiring?” he said. “Yes, I am. But I fully understand there is a sincere effort to change the hiring process.”

As the league’s first minority G.M., Newsome’s seen the slow march of progress, and hopes that the latest steps are at least moving in the right direction.

10 responses to “Marvin Lewis: Draft incentive plan was “definitely offensive”

  1. Ozzie was a great mentor to Eric descosta. He didn’t even follow the rooney rule.

  2. Is there any evidence that teams hire by race? I’m all for equal opportunities but passing over a deserving candidate just to make some sort of social justice statement hardly seems like a winning strategy.

  3. cincy85 says:
    May 21, 2020 at 10:15 am
    Is there any evidence that teams hire by race? I’m all for equal opportunities but passing over a deserving candidate just to make some sort of social justice statement hardly seems like a winning strategy.


    They aren’t passing anyone over. The teams can still hire that deserving candidate if they want. They just need to interview minorities as well.

    This is a good thing. It gives minorites a chance to interview. Even if they are sham interviews its gets their profile up when its reported that so and so is interviewing with team A or B.

    Diversity in coaching has gotten much better, especially in the assistant ranks. Those guys coming up will eventually start getting opportunities as head coaches as well. But they have a long way to go with front office diversity.

  4. Oddest part is how some of the people most behind these ideas seem to want to be protected from themselves. As an example, John Mara has been big-time behind these things and he could have been hiring every minority he could find for years.

  5. A lot of influential, black people in football hate this proposal. That should say everything Roger and the owners need to know right there.

  6. “Not necessarily positive”???

    I haven’t heard a single positive reaction from a player/Coach/Executive. Not one.

  7. That would have been the end of my time watching NFL games if they had done that. Such a disgustingly racist proposal to even suggest bribing teams to hire based on race instead of merit. This country is fall apart to this kind of political virtue signaling, but the NFL doesn’t need to take part in it.

  8. I don’t think anytime an owner hire’s a head coach for anything other than he thinks his hire is the best coach on the block, and that should be the end of the dicussion.
    Rooney rule or any other rule.

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