Are NFL Owners Making a Joke of the Rooney Rule?

NFL owners have bypassed black coaches this winter after a season of players' protests.

Are NFL Owners Making a Joke of the Rooney Rule?
Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Getty Images

The Guardian writes that NFL owners spent most of this season “dragging black players to their feet” and trying to stop anthem protests, in case advertisers grew too concerned and pulled their ads. Now, the owners have “spent much time trying to keep white men in charge of their teams.” A handful of coaches have been fired or have left their jobs, only to be replaced by a group “just as white as the one before.” The NFL is nearly 70 percent African American, but only 25 percent of the head coaches are considered minorities, reports The Guardian. Les Carpenter writes that for seven open jobs, owners have appeared to have found six white men. The NFL used to be the standard for promoting minorities with the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coach and general manager jobs. But Carpenter writes that “Rooney died last year and with him seems to have perished respect for a standard he was proud to create.” The misconception about the Rooney Rule is that it is some kind of affirmative action forced on teams. It does not demand teams hire non-white coaches and general managers, but it gives everyone an equal chance. Carpenter says for the most part, the rule has worked since it was implemented in 2003. Good coaches have been found and good coaches have been hired. Since 2003, two minority coaches have taken their teams to a Super Bowl title. But now, Carpenter writes, NFL owners have “frozen out Colin Kaepernick, bulldozed over the pleas of African American players for racial equality in America, stomped on the Rooney Rule and handpicked a new batch of white coaches to lead their teams.”

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.