By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
NFL Stepping Backwards In Black Hires
Yet with Super Bowl XLII days away, that momentum has seemingly stalled.
African Americans were shut out of three NFL head-coaching jobs, not to mention three front office positions, and only Kevin Sumlin landed one of the 18 Division I-A college vacancies.
“The fact that people are considered; that probably is progress,” Dungy said. “But you look at the bottom line, and you ask, ‘What happened?’” Something is afoul in football.
Dungy and Fritz Pollard Alliance executive director John Wooten provided positive spins on the recent NFL hirings (the Washington Redskins have yet to replace Joe Gibbs).
“We’re up to 8, which is actually an all-time high,” Keith said before letting loose an uncomfortable laugh. “But high compared to what?”
Appalling is more appropriate to describe the racial “advancement” that has been made in the nation’s most popular sport, one in which more than half of collegiate and 70 percent of NFL players are identified as African American.
Only five of the 32 NFL head coaches are African American, while six of 119 Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches are African American (the other two minorities are Mario Cristobal of Florida International, who is Latino-American, and Ken Niumatalolo of Navy, who is Polynesian-American).
Race is not often mentioned when managers in Major League Baseball, or coaches in the National Basketball Association or NCAA are hired and fired. That’s because the percentages aren’t as abominable as football, and plum jobs have been handed to black and white candidates, alike.
“You would think colleges would be ahead of the professional game. It’s an academic environment, and it’s not all supposed to be about winning, and it’s more open minded and progressive,” Dungy said. “But it just seems like when they do open up, the door has been closed for minorities.”
Specifically, minority coaches generally get their foot in the door as head coaches at programs that “historically haven’t been good,” Dungy said.
“That’s the tough part,” he said. “There seems to be a struggle to get an opportunity when a Nebraska opens up, or a Michigan opens up.”
Some people are wondering whether the Rooney Rule — the NFL mandate that teams interview minority candidates before hiring a head coach — has served its purpose.
In fact, if anything, the NFL should expand the reach of the Rooney Rule to other front office positions.
“Is it where we want it to be? No,” Wooten said of the diversification of the NFL. “There are still bumps. But the lights are shining on the bumps, and everyone is working together.”