NFL Eyes Boosting Teams' Draft Status if They Hire Nonwhites

AP Photo/Butch Dill

 

 

The NFL wants some racial rectification.

As reported by The New York Times Friday, National Football League owners will meet Tuesday to discuss new proposals of the Rooney Rule.

Haven’t heard of it?

Here’s a bit of info, via SBNation:

It was named after former Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, who spearheaded an effort to put the policy in place in 2003.

Why was the Rooney Rule added? Calls for increased diversity in the NFL’s coaching ranks spiked in 2002 when two of the few African-American coaches in the league at the time — Tony Dungy and Dennis Green — were fired, despite finding success during their tenures.

Civil-rights lawyers Cyrus Mehri and Johnny Cochran, and two former NFL players, Kellen Winslow and John Wooten, campaigned for change that eventually led to Rooney recommending the policy.

As relayed by The Daily Wire, potential expansion of the Rule would award teams for hiring folks who aren’t white.

It could even affect their draft position.

From the Times:

In one proposal, a team that hires a nonwhite head coach would move up six spots from their position in the third round of the NFL draft that precedes that coach’s second season, according to a person with knowledge of the proposal who was not authorized to speak publicly about it.

If you’re interviewing GM’s, there’s an incentive to lose that Slavic chick’s application:

Teams that hire a nonwhite candidate to fill the general manager’s position would move up 10 spots in the third round of the draft before that executive’s second season with the team.

And the benefits encourage teams to not only hire ’em, but keep ’em:

A team would lose either advantage if it fired the new hire after a single season, a provision designed to circumvent a tanking strategy and discourage firing coaches after one losing season, as happened to Steve Wilks, the African-American head coach of the Arizona Cardinals team that went 3-13 in 2018.

Still, not everyone’s in favor of the race-based reward.

Per NBC’S Pro Football Talk, Anthony Lynn — black coach for the Los Angeles Chargers and one of only four minority heads in the league — told CBS Sports it’s a move in the wrong direction:

“I think sometimes you can do the wrong thing while trying to do the right thing.”

It appears Anthony sees the plan as a sign of desperate times, but he’s not ready to relinquish hope that qualified people will get their just deserts without coercion:

“I think that there are a lot of qualified African-American coaches that could be a head coach in this league, and I just pray that we do our due diligence and give these guys an opportunity. There are some qualified applicants and they need an opportunity, and I think this is — out of desperation this is something that has been thrown out there.”

“Sometimes we hire people that we have something in common with, or someone that looks like us,” he observed.

It applies to him as well:

“Someone that came from the same background as I did, you’re more comfortable doing that.”

Interestingly, Anthony believes it’s a mistake to think offensive and defensive coordinators are the obvious choices for the top spot.

From NBC Sports:

Lynn also suggested that the league should expand from the presumption that offensive and defensive coordinators are the natural candidates to receive a promotion to head-coaching positions, arguing that non-coordinator assistants (including assistant head coaches) should get greater consideration.

In fact, he asserted, “There are a lot of brilliant guys that can call plays but can’t lead a damn team.”

Does Anthony think he was ever denied a promotion because of his race?

He noted that his meeting with the Chargers was his sixth, although he felt more prepared by that point. And it looked to be a better fit.

He also conceded that perhaps many white coaches suspected they were right for jobs they didn’t get.

As for fan response to raised Rooney reinforcement, comments at NBCSports.com tended toward agreement with Coach Anthony:

“I always liked Anthony Lynn and held him in high esteem. He has solidified my high regard for him.”

“I think Anthony Lynn is fantastic…he could coach my team all day long. And he’s right on this issue.”

And some accused the league of racism:

“So if a white man and a black man equally qualified for a job, the black man will be chosen 100% by color of the man’s skin so the team gets the pick. Now if thats not the pure defination of racism, I dont know what is.”

“If the owners pass this measure they are blatantly admitting that they are racists. No other way to look at it. They would literally be saying “We just don’t have it in us to hire non-white coaches. We must be bribed to do it.”

One reader asked, “What ever happened to hiring the best man for the job?”

Notably, some pointed out that hiring a head coach to gain auxiliary advantage would be foolish — for both parties:

“Why would a billionaire choose to move up 10 spaces for a special teamer rather than sign the HC he wants?”

“No minority coach wants a Head Coaching job so the team can get a better draft pick. They know if the team starts doing poorly, they will be blamed and make for an easy scapegoat when fired. Getting the job the right way means they’ll be given a real shot to build the franchise and will have support from ownership.”

Others agreed there’s still a problem jonesin’ for a remedy:

“I agree with Lynn. However, this does not mean that there shouldn’t be some type of change to the Rooney rule. It is obviously not working. There needs to be more opportunities given to minorities, not just as coaches but executives as well.”

“Don’t let any privileged entities tell you that there isn’t a pool of great future coaches of color. You can shut that lame argument down. What I’m waiting for is ‘the right thing’ to be done since America drafted its Constitution with the serpent of slavery and oppression coiled under the signing table.”

“I’m not sure I agree with the league’s stance. I’m with Coach Lynn on this one. We’re people of color who have many talents. We don’t want to be patronized by anyone. All we want is a fair shot and given the same opportunities as everyone else. But that’s not happening. What is the best way around this? I don’t know, but giving inducements is not the answer. Education is.”

One commenter seconded the good heart of the program:

“I understand the Rooney Rule has been flawed from its beginning to today, but the intentions are still good.”

But if I had to guess, for most football fans, one reader hit the nail on the head more than any other:

“I can’t wait till football season starts, and we can actually talk about football instead of sociology.”

I’m sure a lot of folks are with ya, fella.

Or…female.

I certainly don’t wanna seem discriminatory.

-ALEX

 

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