Rooney Rule helps the NFL find the best coaches
The National Football League's annual head-rolling on the season's most losing teams was especially bloody this year.
At the end of Black Monday, seven head coaches and five general managers lost their jobs. Reverberations down team organizational charts will create job vacancies for offensive and defensive coordinators and other staff. This Seattle Times editorial looks beyond the pro-football version of musical chairs to the possiblities opened by the Rooney Rule.
The rule requires NFL teams to interview - read: Interview, not Hire - a person of color for head coach openings. Those who doubt the need for such diversity guidance ought to go here to educate themselves about the league's hiring before the 2003 rule was instituted. I'll try and find a link to this report, Black Coaches in the National Football League: Superior Performance, Inferior Opportunities," that led the league to develop diversity policies.
At the end of the football season every year jobs open up. That's plenty of opportunity to make good, strong hires that include people of color. Some argue falsely that a focus on diversity precludes simply hiring the best person. That's a false choice. The best person can be a person of color. Indeed, one of the coaches fired Monday, Lovie Smith, will likely have a new job by the time you read this. Smith's coaching for the Chicago Bears had been considered good - Chicago went 10-6 - and his dismissal surprised many in NFL circles. As this article points out, Smith's already being scouted by the Buffalo Bils and other teams.
But a single hire does not change the largely white landscape of NFL operations. Only the Rooney Rule can do that.
Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
Postman On Politics