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More Interviews Didn’t Equal More Minority Hirings In NFL

More Interviews Didn’t Equal More Minority Hirings In NFL

The NFL expanded the Rooney Rule to give more minority candidates opportunities to become a head coach and reward teams who develop them.

The NFL expanded the Rooney Rule to give more minority candidates opportunities to become a head coach and reward teams who develop them.

More interviews didnt equal more hirings this offseason.

According to an analysis of candidates known to have interviewed for seven head coach openings this month, 11 were minorities and 16 were white. Only two of the seven jobs went to minorities.

Some consider it progress but most agree theres a long way to go.

Theres still work to be done in this area, no question about it, Pittsburgh Steelers team president Art Rooney II said Thursday.

The Houston Texans hired David Culley this week, making the 65-year-old longtime assistant the leagues third Black head coach hired. The New York Jets previously hired Robert Saleh, the son of Lebanese immigrants and the first NFL head coach who is known to be Muslim.

Culley and Saleh join Pittsburghs Mike Tomlin, Miamis Brian Flores and Washingtons Ron Rivera as the leagues only minority head coaches. In a sport where about 70% of the players are minorities, the lack of diversity among the head coaching ranks sticks out.

Rooney said the league will take another look at the rule named after his father, Dan Rooney, who was chairman of the NFLs diversity committee.

We didnt make as much progress on the head coaching side as we would have liked, Rooney said. But I would say we did make some progress on the general manager side, which is encouraging. And then well have to look on the coordinator side to see how much progress we make on that front.

There are a lot of pieces to it that were going to have to sit down when its all said and done and really analyze what happened, and are there things we can do to strengthen the opportunities for minority coaches. I think last year we did take a number of steps that I think over time are going to pay dividends, but thats not to say we cant do more, and well take another strong look at it this offseason.

Two of the seven vacancies for general manager were filled by minorities when the Atlanta Falcons hired Terry Fontenot and the Detroit Lions tabbed Brad Holmes. They join Clevelands Andrew Berry and Miamis Chris Grier as the only Black GMs in the league.

Perhaps an increase in minority executives will lead to more minority head coaches. Ultimately, the owners are the ones making the decision and 31 of the 32 are white. They have to be convinced.

I got this job simply because I was the best football coach that they wanted in this situation, and I happen to be African American, Cullee said Friday. Im proud of that. Im happy for that. And I hope if me getting this job because of that reason allows other teams in this league to see that … so be it. Im part of it and Im for that.

In November, the NFL implemented a resolution that rewards organizations with draft picks for developing minority coaches and front office executives who become head coaches, general managers or team presidents for other clubs.

That was part of a seven-point mobility plan designed to enhance opportunities.

Last May, the NFL amended the Rooney Rule to stipulate teams must interview at least two minority candidates not associated with their own team for a head coaching vacancy. Also, one minority candidate has to be interviewed for coordinator positions as well as high-ranking positions in the front office, including the general manager role.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy had six interviews but was passed over again. Coach Andy Reid, quarterback Patrick Mahomes and other Chiefs expressed disappointment that Bieniemy didnt get an opportunity.

Its very shocking that he didnt get a job, wide receiver Tyreek Hill said. I know deep down inside hes going to look at himself in the mirror and say, What can I do better so I can get that job? Hes that kind of dude. He wants to get better and he wants to become a head coach. His time will come.

The list of Black candidates who interviewed for head coaching positions included five guys who previously held the position: Marvin Lewis, Jim Caldwell, Todd Bowles, Leslie Frazier and Raheem Morris.

The Eagles interviewed their assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley, who left for Detroit after Nick Sirianni was hired to replace Doug Pederson. They also interviewed Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, Bowles and Saleh.

The Jets interviewed then-Saints secondary coach Aaron Glenn. He later joined Dan Campbells staff in Detroit.

Many players, and their union leader, have voiced their concern about the lack of diversity in the coaching ranks.

A rule or any modifications to a rule that has very little transparency and very little accountability, none of us should be surprised when it fails, right? NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said this month. So, I think to the leagues credit theyve asked the NFLPA and us to help them improve diversity across the NFL, not only coaches or head coaches but entire coaching ranks, NFL team front offices, the league office, and ultimately ownership. Those are conversations that I know were going to start to have with the league after the Super Bowl.

But, to me, it has to start with those two things. Without a level of transparency and accountability, none of us should be surprised when there are only incremental steps of change or times where weve gone backward. There are concrete ways of addressing this. A lot of them mirror what people have been doing in corporate America for years. But increasing transparency, giving someone the responsibility of increasing diversity and then making it accountable, I think if you have those three things as the core of how you want to make the league look like its membership and its community. I think those are the only ways to go about it.

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AP Sports Writer Will Graves contributed

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