Why is it so hard to hire black leaders in a majority black league??
Three black former NFL head coaches say the league needs to rethink its Rooney Rule for promoting minority hiring after 15 top vacancies – eight head coaching jobs and seven general manager positions – were all filled by white candidates since the regular season ended a month ago.
“I know the concept is good and something we need to do,” said Tony Dungy, who was with the Indianapolis Colts during the 2006 season when he became the first black coach to win a Super Bowl. “Obviously, it’s not working the way it should.”
The Rooney Rule, implemented in 2003, was named for Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, who steadfastly pushed the league to require every team to interview at least one minority candidate every time there is a coaching or general manager opening.
Before the rule went into effect, the NFL had had only six minority head coaches in more than 80 years. Since it has been in place, 12 have been hired.
But none were hired this year to replace the two black coaches who were fired – Romeo Crennel in Kansas City and Lovie Smith in Chicago – and the one fired black GM, Rod Graves in Arizona.
It’s hard out here for a head coaching pimp.
Herm Edwards, former coach of the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs and now an ESPN analyst, has called for not only revising the rule but perhaps even changing its name.
“When you use the Rooney Rule and not correctly, you put a little bit of a bad mark on Mr. Rooney’s name, and that is not good,” Edwards said Wednesday. “If it keeps going this way, we might need to take his name off the rule. It is not being used in the right manner that Mr. Rooney meant it to be.”
Robert Gulliver, the NFL’s executive vice president of human resources, said that the hiring results were “disappointing” and that he expects to make revisions in the rule.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group of minority coaches and front-office, scouting and game-day NFL officials, wants the Rooney Rule expanded to apply to coordinators, assistant head coaches and club president positions.
Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell had this to say about the Rooney Rule:
“It has been a great rule and it has worked in the past,” he said. “Just like anything else, you have to, after a certain period of time, revisit it and take a look and see if it needs a little tweaking. I think it does in this particular case.”
Caldwell added: “That’s one of the reasons that the Rooney Rule was put in place, because you’re trying to avoid those situations, if possible. We’re at that stage where guys like Lovie Smith, who didn’t get an opportunity, who had won and been very successful previously … obviously, there’s some concern there, and that’s why I think the rule is going to be revisited.”
There are currently four minority head coaches: Tomlin, Frazier in Minnesota, Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati and Ron Rivera in Carolina. Minority general managers include Baltimore’s Ozzie Newsome, Detroit’s Martin Mayhew, Houston’s Rick Smith, the New York Giants’ Jerry Reese and Oakland’s Reggie McKenzie.
We know that the “Good Ol’ Boys Club” runs the NFL, but it’s ridiculous that African-Americans have to jump through hoops just to get an opportunity to coach. Especially considering that most of these men have played the game and are more qualified than some of their white counterparts.
Image via AP