Editorial & Opinion, Feature, International

Calling it out- NFL Foul!

by Karon Reynolds-r












Lack of Diversity in NFL Coaching

The entertainment and excitement of American football cannot be denied. All of the different aspects of the game such as interceptions, touchdowns, and fumbles make for absolutely great plays and crowd reactions. The National Football League (NFL) is one of the most famous professional sport organizations in the country. Throughout the years, the NFL has seen many changes and differences. However, there is one pressing issue that has always caused debate. The NFL is not satisfactory when it comes to diversity with the head coaches of the league.

There are 32 teams in the NFL. Currently, there are only two black head coaches in the National Football League. Those coaches are Mike Tomlin who coaches the Pittsburg Steelers and Lovie Smith who coaches the Houston Texans. Lovie Smith was a very recent promotion as well. This past season two black head coaches were fired from their position. Ron Rivera and Robert Saleh are the only two other colored head coaches in the league. In the year 2003, the Rooney Rule was passed within the NFL. This rule basically requires NFL teams to at least interview minority candidates for positions such as head coach and management as well. So, is the Rooney Rule still being upheld and enforced? One of the coaches that was fired this past season, Brian Flores who previously coached the Miami Dolphins, filed a lawsuit against the NFL for racial discrimination. In an interview that he was a part of he explained that he was

interviewed by a particular team just to comply with the Rooney Rule and believed that he did not get a real chance with them. He also stated that the Dolphins owner, Stephen Ross, offered him $100,000 for each loss the team would get for that particular season; in other words, he was offered payment for intentionally throwing (losing) games. When asked during the interview why he felt he needed to file a lawsuit Brian stated that, “we need change.” The response may have been simple, but it is a big deal nonetheless.

“…he was offered payment to intentionally throw (lose) games.

Is the Rooney Rule working or being enforced? I definitely do not think so. Brian Flores is not the only one to go through these racial issues within the league, but he spoke up on it which is very significant. How can a league have a higher percentage of black players, but a very minuscule amount of black or colored head coaches? Aside from the nominal number of coaches, there are only four black general managers and zero black owners. It is also very ironic that a couple days after the Brian Flores lawsuit, the Houston Texans promoted Lovie Smith (former NFL head coach and an African American), who was an associate coach and defensive coordinator to head coach of that team.

The NFL needs to do better. The Rooney Rule needs to be a large factor in the league once again. There is a diversity issue within NFL management and coaching that needs to be addressed and dealt with. I am sure that there are many great candidates for head coaching positions in the NFL. The Brian Flores lawsuit will help to shine the light on the racial issues in the league. Change may not happen in a day, but it’ll definitely happen once the work is put in.

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