Due to the lack of minority hires around the league this offseason, the NFL is reportedly considering making changes to the “Rooney Rule” which states that teams must interview at least one minority candidate for front-office and head coaching jobs.
Eight teams have hired new coaches, while seven have filled general manager positions, and not one of those jobs went to a minority. There were six minority head coaches in the NFL in 2012 and there will only be four to open the 2013 season. That will be the lowest total since 2003.
Robert Gulliver, the NFL’s executive vice president of human resources said the following in a released statement:
“While there has been full compliance with the interview requirements of the Rooney Rule and we wish the new head coaches and general managers much success, the hiring results this year have been unexpected and reflect a disappointing lack of diversity.”
“The Rooney Rule has been a valuable took in expanding diversity and inclusion in hiring practices, but there is more work to do, especially around increasing and strengthening the pipeline of diverse candidates for head coach and senior football executive positions.
“We have already started the process of developing a plan for additional steps that will better ensure more diversity and inclusion on a regular basis in our hiring results. We look forward to discussing these steps with our advisers to ensure that our employment, development and equal opportunity programs are both robust and successful.”
I realize that’s a lot to digest, but we wanted much of the statement published. It is true that minorities certainly don’t get a lot of head coaching or general manager jobs in football. The “Rooney Rule” is supposed to help combat that situation. But it can also lead to the same candidate being interviewed over and over with teams having no real interest in hiring him.
Recently fired Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith was this year’s winner of the “interview everywhere” award. He reportedly interviewed with the Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles but didn’t end up with a job.
While Smith is certainly a competent head coach, I know from a source within the organization that the Chargers had absolutely zero interest in hiring him. But they had to check a minority off their list, so they brought him in for an interview.