In advance of Tuesday's virtual owners' meetings, the NFL will expand the Rooney Rule, which will now require additional interviews of minority candidates.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Monday that the league will require clubs to interview at least two external minority candidates for head coaching openings and at least one minority candidate for any coordinator job, per sources informed of the decision.
In addition, teams must interview one external minority candidate for senior football operations and general manager jobs. Teams and the NFL league office must also include minorities and/or female applicants for senior-level positions, including club president jobs.
The immediate rule changes, which will be effective after the meetings Pelissero added, come as the NFL continues to search for ways to fix the Rooney Rule after another hiring cycle where minority candidates were significantly bypassed, including just three of the past 20 head coaching openings going to minorities.
The Rooney Rule adjustments are in addition to two proposed hiring changes that are expected to be voted upon during Tuesday's virtual owners' meeting. Changes to the Rooney Rule do not require a vote from owners.
NFL Network's Jim Trotter reported Friday that the league is presenting two resolutions that it hopes could level the playing field for minority candidates. The first proposal would end clubs' ability to block assistant coaches from interviewing for coordinator jobs with other teams. The second is on a proposal that would provide teams enhanced draft stock for hiring minority candidates as head coaches or primary football executives.
I take great pride in my voice and authenticity on DOL. We all know I've never been no grammar King, but if you can get past a typo or twelve I hope you know I'm coming from the right place. The vast majority of the time I'm just trying to make people laugh. The lack of on-deck-circle in my brain has gotten me in trouble in the past and will get me in trouble in the future, but at the end of the day I know who I am and what I truly believe in.
From cataloging my blogs the last few weeks, I've reread a lot of my posts that I've written the last four plus years on DOL. I haven't even scratched the surface of what I've written, but I've read enough to see boatloads (maybe not the best metaphor to use here?) of growth. There's blogs I'm super proud of, blogs that embarrass me (whether it be their execution or take itself) and blogs that I honestly cannot believe I wrote. Despite all the second-hand embarrassment from myself at times; it has been a great exercise in reflection and growth. It's why I hate whenever you see someone pull up old tweets and try to ruin someone's life. People will say "he/she only said that X years ago". like people can't change. People CAN change and need to change. We all have to keep evolving everyday to move forward as a society. Fuck anybody who is actively trying to hurt people that know they made mistakes and are actively trying to fix them. We've all said stupid stuff in our life that could be our un-doing at any point.
I bashed the Kaepernick stuff at first. I just saw it as disrespecting the flag and troops. I may have even written that what he did wasn't brave. I couldn't be more wrong. After you do a little research it's easy to see why he did what he did. While this post isn't about his protests, I applaud Colin for what he did; there's obvious relevance with this topic.
A major reason I made DOL was to stand up for what I think is wrong. The timing of this blog could be perceived as risky given how hard I've been banging the #HireDozo drum, but if I'm the caliber of writer that I know I am; I can pull it off. I'm no one trick Dozo. We're getting serious here.
I always am a little apprehensive to talk about race because of the sensitivity around the topic; especially in today's day in age, but it's been on my mind constantly throughout quarantine. My independent research topic of late has been Jim Crow. I have a blog in my drafts about how fucked it was and how much racism is in our society without even realizing it. Obviously I knew a little about Jim Crow, but our education system does a horrible job teaching its horrors. I should know. Yes, I'm a 28 year old white man. That is a fact. I am privileged AF; something I would have never said a few years ago, but I am (even with the trauma I have accumulated so far in my 10,000+ days of life). I understand that there's things I'll never truly be able to understand. But I fucking hate having to tip-toe around everything (including issues outside of race). I'm living my life like Tiny Tim in Tulips; fearful of offending or fucking myself over because people are too stupid to understand nuance or too lazy to actually address an issue. It's no way to live.
Yesterday, I alluded to the Rooney Rule at the end of my Black Keys blog and as a man of my word here we are.
In case you didn't read the article in reference or are unaware of NFL hiring protocol; in 2003 the NFL adopted the "Rooney Rule" (named after late Steelers owner Dan Rooney) to address the lack of diversity across Head Coaches in the league. This chart shows the increase of minorities in NFL Head Coaching (up to 2017) after the rule's institution in 2003.
In 2017 eight of the 32 NFL Head Coaches (25%) were minorities (tied with 2011 for highest % in league history) in 2020 there were only three (9.38%).
In a league where over 70% of the players are black the percentages just don't add up. How can there only be two black GMs (1/16) in a league where they make up almost 3/4 of the rosters? Say whatever you want about affirmative action, but this chart from a 2018 article shows the clear disparities amongst jobs in the NFL by race.
I completely understand why the rule exists despite how pandering I think it is. Something had to be done to provide opportunities to qualified minorities who were overlooked in the past because of the way they look.
It's insane to me that Eric Bieniemy (the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs) wasn't able to secure a head coaching job this offseason. The numbers his team has put up the last two years and Super Bowl ring on his finger speak for themselves.
Joe Judge, the special teams coach of my beloved New England Patriots was hired by the New York Giants as their Head Coach; despite NO experience as a coordinator.
I get that Joe Judge worked under the arguably best head coach in league history. Maybe he's the next Belichick? But if he was Jermaine Judge would he have gotten this same opportunity at only 38 years old? I think we all know that answer.
Eric Bieniemy was the OC of the hottest offense in football the last two seasons, but can't get a head coaching job in the NFL? He has to go coach in college to earn the chance to lead men at the professional level? Meanwhile anybody who was white with a pulse on the 2012 Redskins got a chance. It just isn't right.
How about Kliff Kingsbury? He went 35-40 and had a losing record in four of his six seasons as the Head Coach of Texas Tech. He got rewarded for that performance with an NFL Head Coaching job. Idc about the numbers his offense put up....5 games under .500 in six seasons is the only number I need. I'm 16th in the Hot Garbage league in offense and am 11-4. Your record is all that matters.
To put some jimmies on this wtf is going on Sundae; Kliff replaced Steve Wilks (a black man) who was fired after only one year on the job! While Wilks did go 3-13; an undeniably shitty record.... he was only given one year to turn around a team with a rookie quarterback and track record of being the Arizona/St. Louis/Chicago Cardinals. Not exactly the most fair of circumstances.
The NFL, the rest of pro sports and society in general have a long history of discrimination for desirable jobs. There was still serious talks in the 1980's and late 80's at that, about whether or not a black man was capable of being a starting QB in the NFL; 40 YEARS after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. Doug Williams famously put that to rest during the Redskins Super Bowl run in 1987.
Black players were not only discriminated as signal callers, but other positions as well. In the 1960's there was the notion that black men weren't smart enough to play middle linebacker (the QB of defense). It wasn't until 1967 when Garland Boyette of the Oilers and Willie Lanier of the Chiefs became the first starting African-American MLBs in pro football (in the American Football League). Willie would go on to be a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and NFL 100 All-Time Team after his days as the heart and soul of the Kansas City Chiefs defense. His Chiefs' defense featured eight black starters in 1969 when they beat the Vikings in Super Bowl IV; the final year of the AFL. (America's Game: '69 Chiefs is a must watch for football, history, and Civil Rights fans)
I just find it incredibly pandering and demeaning that the NFL was seriously considering incentivizing owners to give more opportunities to minorities with better draft capital; basically saying the longer you keep them, the better your pick will be. As I wrote this blog the NFL officially announced they are tabling this idea. Thank God.
I don't wanna say AA does more harm than good because I don't necessarily think that's the case; its helped disenfranchised people get a fairer shake. I just believe that jobs should go to the people who are most qualified and wish we didn't have to play these stupid games. I hate nepotism and favoritism. I don't care if it's 32, 7, 21, 15, or 0 minority Head Coaches. It should be about who deserves it. Eric Bieniemy (I've had to google to make sure I'm spelling it right every time..if only the rules of I before E were to blame for his unfair treatment) should be an NFL Head Coach. He deserves the opportunity. There shouldn't have to be rules in place to be a good person. If an owner is only going to hire someone of color because it gives them a better draft pick; which in short could become a chance to make more money... then they really aren't that different from some other owners of a few hundred years ago.
I just find it incredibly pandering that the league has to have this rule in place and even more disheartening that it has to be there for change to happen. It's an insult to the intelligence of football fans and people in general. Just like getting rid of the term owner in the NBA. You own a team. It's an asset. You don't govern it. I don't govern my car or PS4. Even Michael Jordan has said becoming an owner was his biggest accomplishment.
If a team has a candidate that they are 100% sure of at Head Coach and he's white; interviewing two minority coaches just to say you did, is insulting to their intelligence and time. What good does that actually do? It's just like all the BS fake fixes in schools that don't actually make any positive change at all, like Fake-Transgender Bathrooms. We've all interviewed for a job we know we aren't going to get. It sucks. Sure the interview experience is cool, but so is a paycheck. Wasting the time of qualified candidates to check a box so you can act like you did the right thing is wrong. We shouldn't still be at this point as a society in 2020. How can we have serious discussions about America being the greatest country in the world with all these skeletons in our attic?
It's clear something has to be done. But I also get mad at times with the way things are still written. This year there were five coaching changes; one was a minority hire. (Ron Rivera in Washington). That's 20% of the hires this year. It's also an incredibly small sample size. What would make people happy? If there had been 3 out of 5 hires would these actions still have been put in place? What about two?
IMO the "3 out of the last 20 head coaching hires are minorities" stat is far more troublesome than 1 out of 5 this year. The lack of diversity at the coordinator level is even worse. There's only two black OC's in the NFL; Bryon Leftwich and the previously mentioned Bieniemy.
Despite low numbers in 2020; there were at least five minority head coaches in the NFL from 2004-2017 (with the exception of four in 2013). Of course there's the positive angle of this ruling. Now by forcing teams to interview more minority candidates, hopefully over-time this will lead to more jobs. Perhaps it will open some eyes? One thing that I do like about this move is how it stops teams from being able to block coordinators and assistants for looking for better jobs outside of the organization. I'm in favor of anything that gives the worker more power and autonomy.
It really just bums me out that things like this have to exist. Maybe it's just the idealist in me, but doing the right thing really isn't that hard. I hate the whole "how is this still happening in X year thing?" because there's already too many example to count and it'll get ya boi even more sad. There has got to be a better way to do the right thing than using people as pawns to it make look like change is happening when it really isn't. And will somebody for the love of God sign Cam Newton?