Canton, O.H. – The NFL believes it needs more racial diversity, and it is willing to provide massive rewards for teams to get it. According to NFL.com’s Jim Trotter, the league will propose those changes during the virtual owner’s meeting scheduled for May 19.
During his state of the league address three months ago at Super Bowl LIV, Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged a need to increase the opportunities for minorities to become head coaches and general managers. The current Rooney Rule (named after former Steelers owner Dan Rooney) requires that each NFL team interview at least one minority candidate for each head coach and executive office opening.
Now, the league is prepared to compensate teams for their hiring of minority staff. That’s right; racial rewards could soon be coming to organizations that employ minority candidates. In the current NFL — which is more than 70 percent non-white — there are only four non-white head coaches and two non-white general managers.
What is the league proposing?
- Double the number of candidate interviews required to fulfill the Rooney Rule. (i.e., teams must interview at least two minority candidates for any coaching or senior front-office position.)
- Require the Rooney Rule to also apply to coordinator positions, in addition to the head coaching position.
- From the end of the regular season through March 1, disallow teams from blocking assistant coaches from interviewing with other organizations for “bona fide” coordinator positions (i.e., offensive/defensive/special teams coordinator). Commissioner Roger Goodell would settle any dispute regarding the bona fides of such a job.
- A fifth-round compensatory pick award to any team whose minority assistant leaves to become a coordinator for another team.
- Award a third-round compensatory pick to any team minority coach or front office member leaves to become a head coach or general manager for another team.
- Award a fourth-round compensatory pick to any team that hires a person of color as its quarterback’s coach, if it retains that coach beyond one season.
- Any team that hires a minority head coach would move up six spots from its allocated third-round pick during the draft before that coach’s second season.
- Any team that hires a person of color as its senior football executive (i.e., general manager or president of football operations) would move up ten spots in the third round during the draft before that executive’s second season.
- If the coach mentioned above and the executive remains with the team for the third season, that team will move up five spots in the fourth round during the draft before that third season.
Now, that is a lot for the league to discuss. However, what is evident is that racial diversity and affirmative action will soon invade sports, and take precedence over one’s actual ability.
One item that the league has yet to consider is that these racial rewards are more damaging to non-white candidates, and in turn, further discriminate against minority individuals. Should this measure pass, team owners will now be inclined to hire someone based on their race, only to expect to receive a reward.
How can the NFL believe this approach is legitimate? Honestly, if I were a minority candidate now considered for a job, I would have to ask myself, “Is this team interested in my abilities, or my race, and their reward?”
If the NFL believes a Rooney Rule to racial rewards for coaches and staff is the way of the future, then is their next move to reward teams in signing non-black athletes? After all, the NFL racial roster makeup, according to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES), shows that 70% of NFL players are black. Are whites now getting the “what-for” in the new, “diversified,” NFL?