Roger Goodell on lack of diversity within the league office: We’re not doing good enough

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's Super Bowl Press Conference
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Jim Trotter of NFL Media read off the dismal diversity numbers in the NFL in a question to commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday: Twenty-four of 32 teams have had one Black head coach or none in their histories; the Bills, Commanders, Cowboys, Falcons, Giants, Jaguars, Patriots, Panthers, Rams, Ravens, Saints, Seahawks and Titans have never employed a non-interim Black head coach; the NFL has never had a majority Black owner; the league has one Black club president; it has seven minority General Managers, with five hired in the past 12 months; and the NFL has only three Black head coaches, two of whom were hired after Brian Flores’ lawsuit.

To end his one-minute, 47-second question, Trotter asked Goodell specifically about the league office and NFL Media.

“When we look at the league office, of the top 11 executives, there are only two people of color,” Trotter said. “When we look at NFL Media Group, where I work, there is not one Black person at the senior level in the newsroom who makes decisions about a league whose player population is 70 percent Black. Why does the NFL and its owners have such a difficult time at the highest levels hiring Black people into decision-making positions?”

“We look at the same numbers and they’re really part of the effort that, again, looking at how do we become more effective in our policies and procedures,” Goodell said. “We work really hard, we believe in diversity. We believe in it as a value. We believe it’s made us stronger. People have come into the league who are diverse have been very successful and made us better and we just have to do a better job. Is there another thing that we can do to make sure we’re attracting that best talent here and making our league inclusive? If I had the answer right now, I would give it to you.”

Goodell sent a memo to top NFL executives last week after Flores filed his lawsuit, acknowledging the league’s failure to make progress on increasing diversity among head coaches. He called the numbers “unacceptable.”

He used similar language Wednesday in response to Trotter’s question about hiring at the decision-making level of the league office.

“I think what we have to do is just continue and find and look and step back and say, ‘We’re not doing a good enough job here,'” Goodell said. “We need to find better solutions and better outcomes and so, let’s find more effective policies. Let’s make sure everyone understands. Let’s make sure that we’re looking at diversity and, actually, incentivizing that for everybody in our building, including with compensation. Let’s make sure that when we’re dealing with vendors outside the building, we’re hiring diverse vendors and bringing them in and giving them an opportunity to succeed, just like we do with white vendors, or (in regard to) people of color, how can they come in and contribute to the NFL.

“So, I think it’s not a single answer. . . . The single responsibility comes on all of us in the NFL, and we have to be the ones that make that change and we are the ones that have to make sure we bring diversity deeper into our NFL and make the NFL an inclusive and diverse organization, that allows everyone the opportunity to be successful.”

10 responses to “Roger Goodell on lack of diversity within the league office: We’re not doing good enough

  1. I think the real problem is that coaching is very much a fraternity, similar to Hollywood. A small group of people have ‘made it’, and it’s nothing but their sons, nephews, buddies, alma mater friends, etc that keep getting the same opportunities and experience, which leads to more opportunities. Some of these coaching trees have been around 30-40 years – the Bill Walsh, Bill Parcells type trees, have their 2.0 and 3.0 versions, and it’s everyone’s children and nephews and friends, and alma mater buddies, etc. Al Davis > Mike SHanahan > Kyle Shanahan + Sean McVay + Matt Lafleur & Mike MaFleur & Mike McDaniels. It’s one big buddies & friends club. Like George Carlin said, “It’s a big club, and you aren’t in it”. The reason black coaches aren’t breaking into coaching consistently I feel has more to do with that. Backwards thinking from several decades ago is playing out to this day.

  2. Doesn’t Goodell have a say in the hiring decisions at the league level including NFL media? Saying he’s seeing the same numbers is essentially saying he’s not interested in correcting anything. The main thing I heard in that press conference is that there needs to be a minority owner for an NFL team to be serious about hiring minority coaches. That’s ridiculous.

  3. Roger could lead by example and surrender his job to a minority. Somehow I doubt that happens though.

  4. With all of Goodell’s comments lately, sure seems like there was a lot of “Merit” to Flores’ charges in the lawsuit.

  5. In what sport do good/great players translate into great coaches?

    It doesn’t matter what race or sport.

    Just win and you’re in.

    Not so simple.

  6. The owners and the League will hire whoever gives them the best chance of success. Hell, the League even hired Roger himself!

  7. This “failure” is all on Goodell. He’s been the ‘leader’ of the NFL and has failed miserably, again.

    I really got a kick out of him calling out Washington’s investigation of itself, given his own incompetence when it comes to investigating anything without his inherent bias. Or maybe it is just his stupidity, not sure.

  8. Troy Vincent isnt the example you want. Might want to fire him and replace him with someone competent.

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