Superbowl Sunday Credit Johnnie Cochran Momen of Silence Should Be Proclaimed

Updated: January 31, 2007


Johnnie Cochran HE LED THE WAY

As predicted here

Weeks before

Chicago & Indianapolis

even won their Conferences

( we’re so smart )

The Story of SuperBowl 41

would become

2 African American Coaches

Look around there is no doubt THE story of this SuperBowl is Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy being the First African Americans to coach in the SuperBowl. This story is literally burying the typical story lines that are almost always about the two Quarterbacks. Even with Peyton Manning being one of the SuperBowl Quarterbacks it can’t top the Dungy – Smith story line.

But the biggest story of all

little covered elsewhere

may be about someone

who won’t be in Miami

this Sunday evening

Johnnie Cochran

Too many people have already forgotten. We always do. Worse yet when the individual is Dead. But it was only less than 5 years ago that Johnnie Cochran launched his challenge to the NFL, that he and a colleague issued the report “Black Coaches in the National Football League: Superior Performance, Inferior Opportunities” that afterwards the NFL began grudgingly to admit the problem of the lack of African American coaches in the NFL.

While the problem is far from resolved there will be only 6 Black NFL Head Coaches for the 2007 season, there is also no doubt that as a result of Johnnie Cochran, his vocal efforts and his report The Rooney Rule was created and why FINALLY Sunday African Americans will be coaching the SuperBowl.

This SuperBowl is a Tribute

to Johnnie Cochran’s effort

and should be recognized

on Sunday in Miami

For our part the Best Tribute we can offer to The Late Johnnie Cochran is to quote extensively from his landmark report from 2002 right here …

” We prepared Black Coaches in the National Football League: Superior Performance, Inferior Opportunities because we, too, love the sport and we believe that America’s Game should represent America’s diversity and the best values in our society. ”

” This Report examines the plight of African American head coaches and head coaching candidates in the NFL. We are the first to apply methods of statistical analysis developed in civil rights enforcement cases to this issue. We bring the knowledge and experience gained from years of battling race discrimination at major corporations. ”

And this ……

” The parallels between the struggles of African Americans at these companies and within the NFL coaching ranks are striking. For years, we have discovered and documented minority professionals are forced to significantly outperform their white counterparts to advance half as far. Even those employees who break through the glass ceiling are afforded far less room for error than similarly situated whites. The same is true among NFL coaches, we have the numbers to prove it. ”

” The cruel counterpart to the superior performance of black coaches in the NFL is inferior hiring opportunities. Our Report describes several manifestations of such limited opportunities, including the higher bar set for black coaches before they are seriously considered for top coaching positions (“moving goal posts”) and the tendency to quickly terminate black coaches. In case after case, NFL owners have shown more interest in – and patience with – white coaches who don’t win than black coaches who do. ”

The report continues …..

” Despite the success of other professional sports leagues, notably the NBA, in providing greater opportunity for African American coaching candidates, the owners of the NFL franchises continue to disappoint. To prompt real advancement on this issue, we include with this Report a Fair Competition Resolution, which we call on the Commissioner to bring before the team owners for a vote, prior to the next hiring cycle.”

It’s conclusions were …

” To ensure increased opportunities for minority coaching candidates, at a minimum there must be diversity among the key decision makers (i.e., in the front office) and among the final slate of coaching candidates for each open position. The Fair Competition Resolution would empower the Commissioner’s Office to reward one or more teams per year with a draft pick for engaging in noteworthy hiring practices that encourage diversity among management decision makers. ”

” We believe that our Fair Competition Resolution can accomplish what no amount of cajoling has – it will make diversity matter to the team owners. The foundation of any fair competition is a level playing field. It is high time America’s Game was played on one.”

These are but brief passages from a monumental historic 76 page report authored by Johnny Cochran and Cyrus Mehri on September 30, 2002. It led directly to the creation of The Rooney Rule and to the fact that TWO African American will coach their teams in SuperBowl 41.

If Johnny Cochran were alive today there is no doubt NO DOUBT he would state emphatically the job of ending discrimination in the coaching ranks is far from done. There will be one less Black NFL head coach next season that this season just concluded. That is NOT progress. Even less so that there is a decrease in Black Coaches following TWO Black coaches making it to the SuperBowl.

The fact is also that the Rooney Rule is still NOT working the way Cochran and his report recommended. The purpose was not for NFL teams to interview African Americans with NO intention of hiring them but only so they do not violate the Rooney Rule. That will not do. It is the same as not interviewing them. Penalties need to be applied to teams that have these “phony” interviews.

For right now

for this week for

SuperBowl Sunday

Commissioner Goodell

should order a moment

of Silence in Honor of

Johnny Cochran

he won’t.

Whenever you want to reach us with comments or better yet an idea for a topic for the Box …….