Ray Anderson: NFL needs to remove Dan Rooney’s name from toothless, embarrassing rule

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Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL alleging discriminatory hiring practices, and late last week, Ray Horton and Steve Wilks joined the suit.

Horton contends his 2016 interview for the Titans head coaching job was a sham. Mike Mularkey, who got the job, confirmed that in a 2020 interview that went unnoticed until the amended lawsuit.

One of the creators of the Rooney Rule is frustrated that things have not improved since the rule was implemented in 2003 and since tweaked many times without success. Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson, who helped implement the Rooney Rule while an executive with the Falcons, said the minority interview requirements are not working as intended.

“In that room, when we were talking about the Rooney Rule, what we talked about was: It can’t be short-lived; it can’t be tokenism; it’s got to be a deep and committed initiative that is sustainable,” Anderson said during a roundtable discussion on race and hiring in the NFL last week at Arizona State, via Kyle Odegard of compare.bet. “We thought we had agreement and promise to that, but over time, we reverted back to the same old practices.”

Anderson, who also served as executive vice president of football operations for the NFL from 2007-14, wants Dan Rooney’s name removed from the rule. The late Rooney, who owned the Steelers, campaigned for diversity and inclusion, Anderson said, while other owners don’t share the same vision.

“I think they should take the Rooney name off the rule that now has no teeth,” Anderson said. “It’s an embarrassment. Mr. Dan Rooney was a real advocate and really meant to have change. I think it does a disservice to Mr. Rooney and the family. I would love to see them make change that is positive, but don’t utilize Mr. Rooney’s name any more because now when you think of the Rooney Rule, very frankly, it’s a negative perception. I think that’s offensive, personally. Mr. Rooney deserves much more.”

19 responses to “Ray Anderson: NFL needs to remove Dan Rooney’s name from toothless, embarrassing rule

  1. It’s all embarrassing. Remove any existence of the rule. Hire the best person for the job, period. It’s not a difficult concept.

  2. If they keep the rule the name should stay, even if they change it people will still call it the Rooney rule

  3. applause. applause.. and more applause. Don’t think Rooney could state this any better, even alive.

  4. It’s not an NFL problem. I’s not even an American problem. It’s worldwide. If the NFL had 32 black head coaches by next year, that wouldn’t even fix 1% of the problem. If the NFL had 32 black owners, still, less than 1% solved. But it’s easier to climb a tiny hill than a huge mountain.

  5. Everyone knows the owners aren’t hiring who they think is the best person for the job. They’re picking guys they know for the most part who they think will best fit in with the personal around them especially the GM. If you want to change the coaches color you need to change the color of the GM’S

  6. The rule needs to go away, period. Hire the person that fits the needs of your team. The person that you want to hire. No mandatory interviews.

  7. I just don’t think there is a way to force an owner to hire someone he doesn’t want to.

  8. Toothless is an insult we don’t hear enough, going to add it into the rotation

  9. How about instead of taking Rooney’s name off the rule, the NFL updates it to honor the spirit of the rule as Rooney intended it?

  10. Hiring the best person for the job has always been the smart thing to do. But the Rooney rule is in place for a reason! The BEST person for the job is RARELY hired. My raiders paid jon gruden 100mill GUARANTEED, for a HS offense and a bunch of yelling and cursing. the Rooney rule shouldn’t be a thing but these owners are stuck in the 60s and are light weight racist.

  11. Reading the comments above, it’s obvious many have no idea what the Rooney Rule is meant to do. No owner has EVER been required to hire anybody they didn’t want to hire. All the Rooney Rule does is give minority candidates an interview. The expected outcome is that minority candidates will earn valuable experience interviewing with teams, and will get their names out there for consideration. Without the rule, most owners will continue to hire retread white coaches who have failed or been (at best) mediocre elsewhere. It’s not like the rule forces owners to interview Josh McKnown.

  12. How could any level-minder person think that the solution to not seeing race as a factor is to mandate that race be made a factor ?

    Is the goal not to see all people as equal regardless of race?

  13. Should not be a Rooney Rule. It’s not hard to do the right thing, lookup the work of Al Davis. Diversity and inclusion!

  14. They obviously don’t know how to implement what they want to do. Forced hiring practices rarely work as intended. Maybe the league needs to work with colleges to start a pipeline of up and coming young people ( male & female ) . Maybe the league could offer to help pay the salaries of them so they can afford to have a decent wage while interning. It’s too apparent a heavy handed approach won’t work.

  15. Affirmative Action was a failure from the start many decades ago because it is blind in its theory, which would make hiring diverse but by no means would take in the best talent. Could you imagine if they forced the draft picks to be determined by race and not talent? It would be a debacle. I’m not saying there isn’t talented minority coaching, I’m saying that determining the best fit for a team by race is like determining the best restaurants by the sign on the building. Rooney’s rule was only suppose to allow for more minorities to have increased opportunity. The rule didn’t fail, the results did not reach the intentions.

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