NFL Order Could Set Minorities Back

NFL Order Could Set Minorities Back

( – Since 2003, the National Football League (NFL) has been trying to get more minorities in coaching positions under its Rooney Rule. The league’s Workplace Diversity Committee named the rule after the late owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dan Rooney. According to the league website, it hopes to instill diversity and create a “more effective, quality organization from top to bottom.” However, the latest change to the Rooney Rule has some wondering if it will actually hurt the reputation of women and minorities trying to make it big in the NFL.

NFL Announces New Diversity Requirements

On Monday, March 28, the NFL told each of its 32 clubs that they must have a female or a minority person serving as an offensive assistant coach next season. The league chose this position in particular because head coaches tend to have backgrounds overseeing the offense, and they want to see more minorities leading teams in the long run. The NFL reassured teams about this new measure by offering two years of funding for these coaches’ salaries.

While the NFL is hoping this will funnel more women and minorities to higher levels in the league, Philadelphia lawyer Lance Rogers doubts this will work. Rogers said that the NFL “blundered tremendously” with this new rule, highlighting that hiring a minority candidate based solely on race or gender, over someone else is “discriminatory.” The long-time NFL fan also said the rule may do a “great disservice” to minorities if peers believe a team hires them simply to comply with the latest rule change. He lamented that the NFL now seems to be “more inclined to play social engineer[ing] instead of football.”

What Do the Stats Show?

Before the NFL enacted this rule, teams as a whole were already on their way to a more diverse staff. The number of minorities in coaching positions increased from 35% in 2020 to 39% in the season that just finished. Similarly, this year saw an additional two minority defensive coordinators, two minority general managers, and three minority assistant general managers. This latest season also began with a dozen women in coaching positions, a record for the league.

The NFL believes the latest rule change will simply add to this trend. However, many wonder if the rule change was necessary if the league was already heading in the desired direction.

Is This Affirmative Action?

When affirmative action first came into the spotlight, Americans wondered how it would affect equality across the board. If a school gives a student a chance at an education based on their race, does that push aside more promising candidates that the school would have accepted if the color of their skin was not considered?

In a similar vein, many NFL fans are wondering if this rule will hurt some teams that may be forced to choose a less than ideal candidate simply to comply with the latest social engineering requirements the league sets forth.

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