Black NFL Coaches & the 'Rooney Rule'

We hear it all the time.  "Teams will never win a Super Bowl with a Black Quarterback."  Well, the same sentiments have consistently echoed for teams with a Black coach.  Even though Black coaches have won Super Bowls, they are still deemed as not as smart or as good of leaders.

The Rooney Rule had been instituted to ensure minority candidates for general manager and head coaches could receive a "fair" shot at being hired.  It is no secret that the diversity among head coaches in professional sports is horrible.

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart stated that the Oakland Raiders complied with the Rooney Rule.  “I can tell you we believe the Rooney Rule was complied with,” Lockhart said. “Minority candidates were interviewed and we will wait and see the decision they make.”

First Black NFL Head Coach, Art Shell coached the LA Raiders 1989-94

It is not a secret that the Raiders had been courting former Super Bowl coach and Monday Night Football commentator, Jon Gruden for the past couple of years to come back to coach his former team.  The question is does this violate the Rooney Rule?  The Rooney Rule was not created for teams to interview Black applicants for coaching positions that they had no chance of getting. Its intention is to actually be objective when considering all applicants (Blacks in particular) and determining who's the best candidate for the job.  In this instance, it certainly looks as if the Raiders interviewed their tight ends coach Bobby Johnson and an "unidentified college coach" just to satisfy the rule.

Tony Dungy became the First Black NFL Coach to win a Super Bowl (Indianapolis Colts 2006)

Jon Gruden was hired to be the coach at a deal work $100 million dollars.  White privilege shows that when your career coaching record is 95-81, you still may get the biggest coaching contract in the history of sports.  Should teams be allowed to just go through the motions when hiring their coach to comply with the Rooney Rule or should they be fined?  Yes there is a fine if a team does not interview minority coaches but what if teams do interview minority only to avoid a fine? And if so, how can the intent be proven?

This is not a shot at the Raider organization because they have been fairly progressive in hiring the NFL's first modern-era Black coach (Art Shell), African-American general manager Reggie Mackenzie and for more than ten years had a female CEO in Amy Trask.

Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin became youngest NFL Head Coach to win a Super Bowl (2009)

11 minority coaches have been hired since the Rooney Rule was created and currently 8 out of 32 teams have minority head coaches while 6 out of 32 teams have minority general managers.  Clearly there is a need for the Rooney Rule in a league where the percentage of minority players is 70%.

Tony Dungy, the first Black coach to win a Super Bowl, and his former assistant coaches accounted for 39 percent of Black head coaches since the Rooney Rule was put into place. With Dungy gone who will now be the coach to set up the new minority head coaching tree?  Due to Tony Dungy and the Rooney Rule, Mike Tomlin was able to become the youngest coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl.

 

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