Leslie Frazier: To improve hiring practices, owners must undergo a “massive change of heart”

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Eight days ago, the Brian Flores lawsuit expanded to include two more plaintiffs. The new allegations arose from, among other things, shockingly candid remarks from former Titans coach Mike Mularkey, who admitted to getting the job as a result of a sham interview process.

Meet the Press Reports, a production of NBC News, has taken a closer look at the situation. The episode, which is available on Peacock, includes comments from Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy, former Raiders and Browns coach Hue Jackson, and Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.

Of the three, Frazier is the one who is currently employed by an NFL team. He’s the one who has most recently interviewed for head-coaching jobs. His willingness to speak out carries with it the greatest risk to his short- and long-term career prospects.

Says Frazier during the episode, “There has to be a massive change of heart with ownership in order for this to be rectified. Because at the end of the day, it’s only the owners that can change this. It’s not the Commissioner . . . it’s not committees. It’s the decision makers.”

Frazier is right. The sport is run by rich and powerful people who are used to getting what they want. In most cases, those people enter the process knowing the person to whom they want to entrust such a critical position.

Thus, the “massive change of heart” must commence with a change in how the process unfolds. As Dungy has argued, interviews shouldn’t begin until after the Super Bowl. This will (or at least should) get most (or at least some) owners to refrain from picking their next coach before they’ve fired their current one.

It’s obviously going to take more than that. Maybe an enormous verdict against the NFL and multiple teams in the Flores case is needed to get the attention of the owners. Maybe an independent monitor (as requested in the Flores complaint) is needed to ensure that owners are doing the right things.

Ideally, the league would be less concerned about approving new owners who show up with the biggest bag of cash and more concerned about approving new owners who can be relied upon to follow the letter and spirit of the rules, and not to constantly look for loopholes or exceptions — as plenty of teams have done over the years when it comes to the Rooney Rule.

If the league won’t insist on change, maybe the players should. Consider this thought from Dungy, as told to Blayne Alexander of NBC News “I think the players need to hold the league accountable . . . and those African American players go in and say, ‘Hey Mr. Owner, you need to do a thorough search. And you need to consider strongly these African American coaches . . . not telling you who to hire, but if you don’t consider them then I don’t want to play here.” . . . That’s going to get the owners’ attention.”

Something needs to get their attention. Nothing has yet. Until that happens, nothing will change.

41 responses to “Leslie Frazier: To improve hiring practices, owners must undergo a “massive change of heart”

  1. Ideally, the league would be less concerned about approving new owners who show up with the biggest bag of cash and more concerned about approving new owners who can be relied upon to follow the letter and spirit of the rules, and not to constantly look for loopholes or exceptions — as plenty of teams have done over the years when it comes to the Rooney Rule.
    This would require empathy running the world instead of money.

  2. Why is any of this even a problem? An owner should be able to hire whomever he wants for whatever reason he wants.

  3. The league needs to start smaller first. Sure, the goal is to get more minorities in senior management and head coaching positions, but the practical solution isn’t just hiring them now or whining about it every day. Instead, the NFL needs to encourage more internal minority lower level management and assistant coaching hires, so those individuals can develop, establish connections, and simply give the old school owners more options. Everyone looks at the top of the damn pyramid without realizing they first have to establish the foundation.

  4. A lot of people don’t remember how long it took for Tony Dungy to get a head coaching job. He was in line to be “the guy” for like the longest time and still didn’t land a head coaching gig until 1996. Agree with his recommendation to delay the hiring process until after the Super Bowl. I don’t know if that increases diversity among the head coaching ranks but it makes for a more straightforward and fair process.

  5. All for best man for the job, yada, yada but im seriously curious, when is enough? I mean numbers/percentage wise, where is the line that once its crossed we can say no longer an issue? When 50% of the coaching positions are minorities ? 40%, 60%? Are “we” then going to say, well only 2% is Asian American. Im all for equality, just curious where that line is.

  6. Yes… lets go to an owner of your company and suggest… you will hire this guy or I am not working here anymore.. logical.

    It makes sense for people to hire who they want to hire since they are ohh I dont know… paying the salary.

  7. Hiring someone based on the color of their skin is as dumb as hiring someone based on their eye color.

  8. And after players go talk to Mr Owner and Mr. Owner “considers” that African American individual….. Mr. Owner will hire who they intended to hire in the first place

  9. So nationalize the NFL teams and have The Senate approve the coaches, and coordinators. State government can approve team composition, training facilities, food suppliers, parking staff et cetera. The Supreme Court can adjudicate any major differences of opinion then peace and harmony will reign because you can legislate goodness.

  10. “Maybe an independent monitor (as requested in the Flores complaint) is needed to ensure that owners are doing the right things”

    Note the end of this sentence… “doing the right things”. This should make everyone scared of what is to come.

    Based on the quoted position, it is hardly a stretch to see a future in which the NFL MANDATES that a certain number of teams MUST have minority coaches, and if a club refuses/fails to obey they will sanctioned and/or punished for it.

    Believe me when I tell you, this is not a fantasy, and it is right around the corner for the NFL.

  11. The Player – I ain’t playing here no more.

    The Owner – don’t let the door hit you in the arse.

  12. So the idea is you need to look the color of the skin of someone before hiring that person and that should be a relevant aspect in the process of hiring someone?

  13. I order to get the owners to be thinking of minority coaches, they must create a way for owners to learn all coaches better. Some sort of situation created multiple times a year where coaches and owners meet. Somehow having the coaches present something to the owners without giving away secret sauce, but enough for owners to see how they think. Maybe it has to be third party hired to actually work with coaches to present information that makes them look good like motley fool or morning star do for stocks. Make it annual so it helps coaches also move up. It could be funded by the league.

  14. Leslie Frazier was a head coach for 3+ years and produced a 21–33–1. He had his chance as a head coach and he failed. There has been a lot of whining about this yet nobody has been able to explain how owners hiring the people they think are the best candidates for the job is wrong. The Rooney Rule is wrong. And forcing owners to employee people based on the color of their skin is wrong.

  15. Hue Jackson and Tony Dungy were both hired twice in the NFL as head coaches. Dungy is a rare example of a head coach voluntarily leaving their job. Leslie Frazier was a head coach in the NFL.

    Dungy and Frazier are somewhat rare examples of head coaches who played in the NFL as well.

    While they may have great insight, they aren’t great examples of discrimination.

    What is the expectation for the number of minority coaches in the NFL? If it is to match the demographics of the players, that is ridiculous as most NFL head coaches didn’t play in the NFL.

    Ultimately, getting opportunities in the NFL does come down to networking. The starting QB at my college wasn’t a particularly impressive individual. His break was that his high school coach had risen to head coach in the NFL. That got him a low level assistant job that he eventually parlayed into an NFL head coaching job. He was a miserable failure.

    Improving networking opportunities for minority coaches and banning nepotism are fair ways to help minority coaches get a better chance. Forcing interviews or paying off teams with draft picks for hiring minority coaches is not the way to do it.

  16. If an owner thought a green martian would lead his/her team to a Super Bowl they would hire them.

  17. In order for you to get hired again you need to figure out to hold on to a lead late in the game.

  18. Fair comment. For aspirations of Leslie getting another Head coaching job went down the down the drain as a result of the 13 seconds defensive alignment he had against KC.

  19. I agree with Dungy no interviews until after the Super Bowl. As far as Leslie Frazier goes, he’s been in the NFL a long time on many different teams and was the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, he’s 63 now, his career has been very successful because he is a good coach, not because he’s black, why is he lobbying for an artificial situation? Why don’t these guys like Dungy and Frazier put their expertise to good use and educate other black coaches to be better coaches, maybe have coaches camps like player camps in the off season?

  20. Those same players can then sit out or go play for another professional league with a smaller wage scale, while forfeiting their salary.

    When the players start cutting the checks and not cashing them, then we can talk. Until then, the NFL is no different than any other private company.

  21. So the idea is to have players, who are hired completely based on their ability to perform, to force their bosses to hire coaches based on skin color. Bizarro World.

  22. Really? Frazier has had opportunities and squandered them. Wehave become a world of crybabies.

  23. directdriver says:
    April 15, 2022 at 1:15 pm

    Just hire the most qualifying candidate for the job, period.

    And you think this really happens? All these NFL sons that get coaching jobs just happen to be the most qualified? And I got some swamp land in Florida that I want to sell to you.

  24. Stop referring to people as labeled groups or catagories . Hire the best candidate and there won’t be any so called rectification needed.

  25. Massive change of heart is correct. Change from best chance of winning to politically correct, or more accurately, politically imposed.

  26. Even if that were an acceptable premise to begin with, you cannot legislate is legislate a change of heart.

  27. It’s not just a race issue. It’s a retread issue. Why did epic failure Lovie Smith get a HC job over Byron Leftwich?

  28. When the establishment starts dictating who should be hired for coaching positions,… or any other positions in any industry based on skin color,… we’ve failed. The best candidate gets the job. PERIOD !

  29. If NFL owners thought a squid could get them a championship, they’d hire it. I thing to see here but hurt feelings.

  30. Leslie Frazier just gave up about 600 yards and was in the wrong defense when they had the lead with 13 seconds.

    There has to be a better spokesperson than this guy.

  31. If they want to fix this problem they should give draft picks to the team that hires black head coaches.

  32. So interesting. The same people that are crying racism are also trying to figure ways to get coaches hired solely based on their skin color. Not surprising

  33. And all the little soldiers lined up and recited their lines, hoping Big Brother would look down and smile upon them, finally admitting them into the club.

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