Twenty years after the NFL implemented the Rooney Rule, the league still only has 6 minority head coaches employed.
Ahead of the report’s release, in October, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell discussed the topic of the league’s diversity in a press conference, saying, “How do we continue to have diversity be a part of our league and make us better? There’s significant progress. But … I’m probably always frustrated by the pace of the progress. It’s never enough for yours truly. We obviously know we have work to do here.”
In a league where the player base sits at approximately 75% Black or men of color, the disproportionate number of Black head coaches, coordinators or other positions with the potential for advancement is concerning. However, Rod Graves, the head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group that champions diversity in the NFL, sees some reason for an optimistic perspective.
Graves added, “I credit Roger Goodell. I credit the diversity committee and the owners, quite frankly, for recognizing that these are important areas for the league in terms of its commitment to equal opportunities. But as a billion-dollar business, I’m always of the opinion we should be doing more and we should be much further ahead.”
Defensive Coordinator can be a pipeline position to head coach, a position that is occupied primarily by Black or men of color, but on the other side of the ball, all but four coordinator positions are held by white men. As it relates to the head coaching prospects of Black coaches, this typically means that unless a team prioritizes a defensive-minded coach, those Black coaches will not go any farther than Defensive Coordinator. This is particularly true as the league trends more towards younger offensive-minded coaches.
“This is what we’re trying to address,” Troy Vincent, a former NFL cornerback and current NFL executive vice president of football operations, told USA Today. “The development of young coaches to become quarterback coaches, offensive quality control, hopefully, an offensive coordinator, then potentially one day be considered a head coach.”
Reich continued, “For all the resources we have, and for all the good men and women that are in this league — and I really believe that — something is missing. Because we’re not seeing the results we should see in areas of leadership in the league. We need to see more progress.”
Source: Black Enterprise