Owners of the NFL approved of new amendments to be added into the Rooney Rule Tuesday.
The league now requires teams to interview at least two candidates from outside their franchise for a head coaching job. It also requires at least one minority candidate to interview for coordinator roles.
Teams also can’t deny assistant coaches and executives from interviewing for a coordinator role or assistant manager role. A number of executive roles are included in the rule to interview minorities or female candidates.
All 32 NFL teams are to establish a minority coaching fellowship program. The fellowship is being described as a chance to “provide NFL Legends, minority and female participants with hands-on training in NFL coaching.” This is in the hopes of building a pipeline of minority and female candidates for teams to look at.
Notably Left Out of Rooney Rule
NFL Network did report last week the league was considering measures to reward teams higher third-round picks should they hire a minority candidate. This measure was tabled and no vote was placed for approval. The addition would have helped teams move six to ten spots if they hire a minority candidate. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell commented more about why it didn’t get to a vote.
“There was a great deal of support,” Goodell said. “But there were also some suggestions, amendments and thoughts that we may want to go back and talk to others, including the Fritz Pollard Alliance, and try to strengthen it and try to make sure it does what we were originally intending, which is to reward teams and coaches for developing minority coaches that can go on to be head coaches in this league.”
There’s no word on when they will bring the measure back to a vote in the near future.
Is This Enough to Cause Change?
If fans can say anything about this move, it shows the NFL acknowledges this is an issue. It has been apparent for a long time that the league has had issues hiring minority candidates. The NFL currently have four minority head coaches and two minority general managers. Only two minority head coaches were hired in the past two seasons: Miami’s Brian Flores and Washington’s Ron Rivera.
Progress is great, but the league still has a lot of work to do.
The incentive measure they tried to pass might not have been the best approach. Some people found it offensive, while some found it to be the first step to progress. The intentions were good by the league, but would it be enough to get teams to hire minority candidates?
In the end, it essentially all falls on the owners to give minority candidates a chance. Owners in the league have been criticized for not hiring enough minority candidates and the evidence shows. The draft pick reward approach to the Rooney Rule is not enough. NFL owners have to look at themselves in the mirror and figure out why they don’t want to hire them.
The argument can be made that they are hiring who they feel is the best candidate. When does that argument stop working? The league is heading in the right direction, but this will be a common problem. Hopefully a problem that won’t be reoccurring for years.