Owners of the National Football League are currently debating on a move which will be the most radical fusion of social justice and sports this country has ever seen.
On Friday afternoon, league sources reported that the NFL, in an effort to improve the number of “diversity hires” in league front offices, could change the draft process to the where wins and losses would no longer be the deciding factor of draft positioning but how many minority coaches and GMs an organization has.
New proposals that the league is considering includes:
- If a team hires a minority head coach, that team, in the draft preceding the coach’s second season, would move up six spots from where it is slotted to pick in the third round. A team would jump 10 spots under the same scenario for hiring a person of color as its primary football executive, a position more commonly known as general manager.
- If a team were to fill both positions with diverse candidates in the same year, that club could jump 16 spots — six for the coach, 10 for the GM — and potentially move from the top of the third round to the middle of the second round. Another incentive: a team’s fourth-round pick would climb five spots in the draft preceding the coach’s or GM’s third year if he is still with the team. That is considered significant because Steve Wilks and Vance Joseph, two of the four African-American head coaches hired since 2017, were fired after one and two seasons, respectively.
If the proposal passes, the on-field success of a sports organization could now hinge on how many minorities they hire into their front office radically changing the way the game is played.
Under the proposed resolution, clubs would be prohibited from the end of the regular season to March 1 from denying an assistant coach the opportunity to interview with a new team for a “bona fide” coordinator position on offense, defense or special teams.
Any dispute about the legitimacy of the position would be heard by the commissioner, and his determination would be “final, binding and not subject to further review.”
If a minority assistant left to become a coordinator elsewhere, his former club would receive a fifth-round compensatory pick. And if a person of color leaves to become a head coach or general manager, his previous team would receive a third-round compensatory pick.
One final provision: Any team that hires a person of color as its quarterback’s coach would receive a compensatory pick at the end of the fourth round if it retains that employee beyond one season. The provision is an attempt to get a more diverse pool of coaches working with quarterbacks since the trend of late is to hire head coaches with offensive experience — 24 of the past 33 hires have been from the offensive side of the ball — and it’s considered even more beneficial to have worked with quarterbacks. Currently, there are only two African-American QB coaches in Pep Hamilton of the Chargers and Marcus Brady of the Colts.
The league office is also looking at further enhancing the Rooney Rule by doubling the number of minority candidates a team must interview for head-coaching vacancies. It also is expected to apply the rule to coordinator positions for the first time.
League Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged a need to increase the opportunities for minorities to become head coaches and general managers.
“Clearly we are not where we want to be on this level,” he said.
“It’s clear we need to change. We have already begun discussing those changes, what stages we can take next to determine better outcomes.”