That didn’t take long.
Only one day after former Dolphins coach Brian Flores filed a landmark racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL and three team, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) called for a hearing on the issue of systemic racism in the NFL.
“While 70 percent of National Football League [NFL] players are Black, it is unacceptable and reprehensible that, after the recent firing of Houston Texans Head Coach David Culley and Miami Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores, we are left with only one Black head coach in the NFL out of the 32 head coaching positions,” Rush wrote in a letter to U.S. Representative Jan Schakowski (D-Ill.), Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, a committee that has jurisdiction over professional sports.
“Incredibly, there has never been a Black owner of an NFL team. . . . I am afraid that this lack of diversity is not a coincidence or a mere accident, but more systemic in nature. Simply put, this is bold-faced racism. Coach Flores is risking his career to raise allegations of racism against the NFL, as did Colin Kaepernick when he protested police violence against Black men and boys. The firing of David Culley and Brian Flores are not unique. These are allegations that surface time and time again.
“It is the responsibility of this Subcommittee — given our jurisdiction over professional sports — to shine a bright light on these allegations and to thoroughly investigate these concerns. As such, I urge you to swiftly hold a hearing on the issue of systemic racism in the NFL, especially as it relates to ownership, coaching, and general management positions.”
The NFL relies on significant widespread public attention and revenue. It’s appropriate for Congress to examine and regulate the league’s hiring practices. Indeed, when Congress began exploring the NFL’s handling of the Washington investigation, the NFL did not push back against the propriety of a Congressional investigation.
Next up? Possibly, an investigation regarding the allegation that the Dolphins and Browns paid coaches and/or other employees to lose games.