NFL clubs issue joint statement regarding diversity in ownership

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The challenges arising from the hiring of minority candidates for key positions within NFL organizations flow in many respects from the fact that so few teams are owned by minorities. One team — the Jaguars — is owned by Pakistan native Shad Khan. There are no Black controlling owners of any NFL team, and there never have been.

With the goal of changing that reality, the NFL issued a joint statement from all teams on Monday.

“The NFL member clubs support the important goal of increasing diversity among ownership,” the statement declares. “Accordingly, when evaluating a prospective ownership group of a member club pursuant to League policies, the membership will regard it as a positive and meaningful factor if the group includes diverse individuals who would have a significant equity stake in and involvement with the club, including serving as the controlling owner of the club.”

It’s generally a worthwhile objective, but it overlooks the fact that the financial barriers to qualifying as a controlling owner are very high. Under current rules, the controlling owner must be able to write a check for 30 percent of the purchase price, and no more than $1 billion of the remaining amount can be raised via debt. There has been speculation about the owners potentially relaxing those rules; at the end of the day, however, owners who are selling teams will want to generate the most money. They’ll want the best overall deal, no matter how it’s structured and to whom it’s sold.

As to the Broncos, some have wondered whether the rules would be relaxed to allow media mogul Byron Allen to emerge as the winning bidder. Because the team currently is held in trust, and because the trustees have a fiduciary obligation to maximize the financial return, only so much can be done to make it easier to make a deal with a group led by a minority owner.

Ultimately, it’s a factor that will potentially break a tie, or maybe provide the edge in a situation where the offer involving the minority owner is close to the best offer.

Even if this new approach works, teams don’t go on the market very often. The issues with minority hiring in the NFL run far deeper than the absence of Black controlling owners. Having one or two or three won’t change much, in the grand scheme of things. All owners need to look at their own practices and procedures, and they need to conduct an honest assessment of where things need to change.

16 responses to “NFL clubs issue joint statement regarding diversity in ownership

  1. Since assistant coaches make up the majority of new head coach hires, the problem would appear to be with current head coaches

  2. Once you’ve reached the level wealth where you are able to buy into a NFL team, is preferential treatment really needed?

  3. I love it. The Rooney Rule for owners.

    Naturally this has nothing to do with the impending Brian Flores lawsuit against the NFL.

  4. Apparently everyone forgot to inquire about the percentage of minority owners of the Green Bay Packers. I’m quite certain there are hundreds if not thousands.

  5. How does this work with the highest bidder scenario that the seller would want?

  6. Shouldn’t the NFL have change the rules to add some character reference requirements? Did they learned anything from the past years? Another sleazy or shady owner? Paying the most didn’t prove moral.

  7. There are more than enough minority multi-millionaires and billionaires who can afford sports Teams in the US. The shortage is in minority millionaires and billionaires that have the patience to deal with the non-minority owners that believe that rules don’t apply to them.

    It’s a proven fact that minority coaches and GM’s (specifically black ones) are held to a higher standard than non minority coaches and GM’s so imagine the short leash a black owner would have compared to the current ownership groups who have run ins with the law quite a bit but have the ability to make their issues disappear because of political connections. It’s a cute statement though.

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