Search For New NFL Commissioner Begins

Updated: November 16, 2007




Superman might as well

be in the job description

for any African American

aspiring to be the next

NFL Commissioner

The process is now finally underway. The NFL team owners the real owners of the NFL have recently appointed a formal committee to recommend to all 32 owners the “best” choice to follow Paul Tagliabue and lead the world’s most successful sports enterprise to even grander success meaning more profitability for the next decade or so.

The place of Race in Sports

is defined in so many different ways

every single day

In the selection of the next NFL Commissioner arguably the most powerful position in American sports we see the Issue in its most dramatic relief. Not only in the ultimate issue of the “possible” selection of the first African American ever if that is possible at all but even more in how the selection process is orchestrated and the emphasis if any on “fairness” for African Americans, and maybe on an even deeper level probing why are there so few Black executives in America in the potential candidate pool.

The easiest and most obvious place to begin looking for Black candidates is by surveying the articles that have appeared in the media naming names of those who may be on lists of candidates. Only 2 Black names have appeared in any articles and most don’t even bother placing an African American on their list. It is open to Question which journalists are being more honest or savvy.

Hope may spring Eternal but it is hard to believe either of the 2 African Americans being mentioned have a Shot no matter how accomplished. Neither certainly passes the ‘Superman Test’ our view of an African American who would be a serious Contender.

The 2 names that come up are

Harold Henderson and

Reggie Williams

Both are more likely

Clark Kents in this Contest

Harold Henderson is currently NFL Executive Vice President for Labor Relations and Chairman of the NFL Management Council Executive Committee. This is the description of Mr. Henderson’s position in a recent press release ……..

“Mr. Henderson, the NFL Executive Vice President for Labor Relations and Chairman of the NFL Management Council Executive Committee, is the driving force behind the NFL Player Programs. These programs, under the expert guidance of Mr. Henderson, provide invaluable assistance to players in financial planning and money management, continuing education, business opportunities and counseling, and perhaps the most important element — post NFL career planning. ” He is the highest ranking African American in the history of the NFL. No small accomplishment and as such a “member of the family.”

Henderson who clearly appears to be in his 60s ( although we could not find any age information ) would seem to be out of the running for that reason alone. It is virtually certain the owners will look for someone in their later 40s or very early 50s who more closely resembles the profile of the prime NFL fan base and just as much who is likely to be attuned to the technological future remaking Sports. If Henderson was 10 or 15 years younger and with media experience maybe “he could make a run for it.”?

Which brings us to Reggie Williams

Williams would seem to have far less gravitas than Henderson but he certainly better meets the age “requirement.” Williams is the very personable former All Star Linebacker with the Cincinnati Bengals during the late 1970s and 1980s spanning 14 years. Williams is now 52 and has been an executive with the Walt Disney World and Disney’s Wide World of Sports the last 10 years and where he is currently employed.

In reality there seems to be little indication either is in Contention and their names may serve the same function as the so called “Rooney Rule” requiring NFL teams to interview at least one African American before hiring the white head coach they intended all along.

If African Americans are to be anything more than Window Dressing in this Search the Owners Committee conducting the effort to find as new Commissioner needs to issue some believable guidelines and search methods that will be wide ranging enough that African Americans successful in many fields will be given full consideration. That will require a flexible “job description” for the next Commissioner.

The truth is

the Deck is stacked

as usual

favoring the White Guys

unless proven otherwise

it’s the NFL move if

it is Otherwise.