NFL makes adjustments to Rooney’s rule to make it easier to hire minorities

To ensure more opportunities for diverse candidates, the NFL added requirements on the hiring of offensive assistant coaches and women in general.

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — To ensure more opportunities for diverse candidates, the NFL has added requirements around the hiring of offensive assistant coaches and women in general.

The measures announced at the owners’ meeting Monday include adjustments to the Rooney Rule adopted in 2003 and amended frequently in an effort to improve opportunities for people of color and women for nearly all jobs in the league and the league. ‘team.

From this season, all 32 clubs must employ a woman or a member of an ethnic or racial minority to serve as an attacking assistant coach. The person will receive a one-year contract and work closely with the head coach and offensive staff to gain experience.

In recent years, head coaches have mostly had attacking backgrounds. The pipeline for minorities on this side of the ball is lacking, as Steelers owner Art Rooney II reiterated on Monday.

“We recognize that we have seen progress on some fronts,” said Rooney, chairman of the league’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, “but we still have some way to go on some fronts. other fronts.”

The NFL has seen an increase in the number of people of color in all coaching positions, from 35% in the 2020 season to 39% last season. There was a record increase in the number of defensive coordinators to 15, up from two; an increase in minority managing directors (five to seven) and deputy managing directors (three to six).

Teams will receive league funding for the coach’s salary for up to two years.

Overall, the inclusion of women in all requirements of the Rooney Rule is designed to address the under-representation of women in key positions in football. The league believes this will “encourage the further identification and development of female candidates and the ability to provide them with an additional opportunity to interview for open positions.”

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A total of 12 female coaches at the start of the 2021 season was an all-time high.

Dasha Smith, NFL chief administrative officer and one of the league’s highest-ranked women, noted that for the first time a woman was interviewed for a general manager position this year.

Smith also said virtual interviews will no longer be acceptable for head coaching and general manager positions, and there will be specific requirements for applicants to become attacking assistants. These would include at least three years of experience at the college or professional level.

There are currently five minority head coaches in the NFL. There are seven black general managers.

The league also released a resolution to increase diversity in franchise ownership and created a diversity advisory committee that includes Peter Harvey, a former New Jersey attorney general; Rick Smith, former general manager of the Houston Texans; and Don Thompson, former president and CEO of McDonald’s Corporation.

Early Monday, Mike Tomlin said he didn’t hire Brian Flores as an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers out of sympathy for the former Miami Dolphins head coach.

Tomlin, who like Flores is African American, did it because Flores is “a good coach.” That Flores sued the NFL and three teams — the Dolphins, Giants and Broncos — for racist hiring practices in no way deterred the longtime Steelers coach, Tomlin said.

A member of the league’s powerful competition committee and one of the sport’s most influential coaches, Tomlin has spoken forcefully about the lack of minority head coaches in the NFL. He, Lovie Smith of Houston, Mike McDaniel of Miami, who is biracial, Robert Saleh of the Jets and Ron Rivera of the Commanders are the five minority head coaches among the 32 teams. About 70% of players are black.

“I haven’t been involved in any discussions and no, I don’t have a level of confidence that would make me believe things are going to get better,” Tomlin said. “I’m more of a guy who shows me off than a guy who sits down and talks things out.

“I think we’ve gone through the whole discussion and the subject and we’ve done a lot of beneficial things,” Tomlin added of the adjustments to the Rooney Rule passed in 2003 to improve job opportunities for minorities. “But we have to land the plane. We have to hire capable candidates.”

That, by Tomlin’s estimation and actions, includes Flores, whose lawsuit has been a major topic this offseason. Flores was fired by the Dolphins after helping turn around a struggling franchise during his three seasons as coach, going 19-14 over the past two years.

Flores cites a series of text messages with Patriots coach Bill Belichick three days before his scheduled interview with the Giants for the head coaching job. These texts led Flores to believe that Brian Daboll had already been chosen as the new coach.

Belichick declined to comment on the lawsuit and any role he may have had. Giants owner John Mara said Sunday he was not interested in any settlement with Flores and “I think the truth will come out. The allegations are false.”

— A former Super Bowl coach returns to the league. The Indianapolis Colts have hired John Fox as their senior defensive assistant. Fox led Carolina and Denver to conference championships before losing in the Super Bowl.

“It was a role I really wanted to add,” Colts coach Frank Reich said. Fox will work with new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.

“A great complement to Gus,” Reich said of Fox. “Our goal with John coming in, not for him to bring us his system, but for him to come and learn our system and bring some of his experience. How does that fit.

– The NFL awarded the 2024 Draft to Detroit on Monday. The city was a finalist for the 2022 event, which will take place next month in Las Vegas after the 2020 draft, originally scheduled for Las Vegas, was held virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We think we’ve really proven to the league that we’ll put on a great show,” Lions president Rod Wood said, “and how important it is to our city and to our fans.”


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