Next Tuesday, the NFL will propose a resolution in regards to the issue of minority hirings throughout the league. While some form of action beyond the ‘Rooney Rule’ is long overdue, what’s being proposed is laughable, and could make a significant problem even worse and actually set progress back.
The NFL’s suggestion to the problem is to introduce an incentive for teams to hire minority candidates as head coaches and in the front office. The proposal goes as follows:
- A team that hires a minority coach will move up six spots in the third round of that year’s draft.
- Any team that hires a person of color as their primary football executive would move up 10 spots.
- If a team was to fill both spots with a minority, they would move up 16 spots.
- A team’s fourth-round pick would climb five spots if either hire finishes their third season with the team.
The fact that it’s actually come to this is troubling. The idea that these kinds of incentives should be necessary for teams to do their due diligence is appalling. It has become a metaphorical slap on the face that you have to be given something to do what in some believe is the logical and right thing to do. Considering Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, it’s a travesty that sports franchises today have to be rewarded in order to give minorities an equal footing in the hiring process.
Secondly, it does nothing to add merit to the hire itself. If this policy passes, every future minority hire will look like a means to an end. As a result, the next brilliant minority coach won’t be looked at as an intelligent hire, but instead will be viewed as a shortcut to build a contending roster.
This proposal could be a disaster from both sides. Not only could it lead to minority hires that may or may not be ready, but it could also lead to white coaches not receiving deserved opportunities. True equality is not created by giving a disadvantaged side an advantage, but in actually putting the two sides on a level playing field.
In all, there is no positive outcome from this policy. We will only be left with disgruntled applicants, and hires that feel like nothing more than a pawn.