NFL Rule Proposal Rewards Teams With Draft Bumps For Hiring Minorities, Chargers Coach Criticizes Move

According to a New York Times report published Friday, NFL owners will meet Tuesday to review expansion proposals of the Rooney Rule, which includes tangible incentives, including bumps in the draft, for teams who hire minority general managers and coaches.

The Rooney Rule was intended to give minorities opportunities they might otherwise not be afforded by mandating minority interviews, whereas the new proposals give rewards for hiring minorities.

“In one proposal, a team that hires a nonwhite head coach would move up six spots from their position in the third round of the N.F.L. draft that precedes that coach’s second season, according to a person with knowledge of the proposal who was not authorized to speak publicly about it,” the Times outlined Friday.

“Teams that hire a nonwhite candidate to fill the general manager’s position would move up 10 spots in the third round of the draft before that executive’s second season with the team,” the report added. “A team would lose either advantage if it fired the new hire after a single season, a provision designed to circumvent a tanking strategy and discourage firing coaches after one losing season, as happened to Steve Wilks, the African-American head coach of the Arizona Cardinals team that went 3-13 in 2018.”

Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn, one of four minority head coaches currently in the NFL, told CBS Sports Radio on Friday that the rule proposal was the “wrong” move, though it might be backed by the right intentions.

“I think sometimes you can do the wrong thing while trying to do the right thing,” Lynn explained, according to NBC Sports.

“I think that there are a lot of qualified African-American coaches that could be a head coach in this league, and I just pray that we do our due diligence and give these guys an opportunity,” the head coach continued. “There are some qualified applicants and they need an opportunity, and I think this is — out of desperation this is something that has been thrown out there.”

“Sometimes we hire people that we have something in common with, or someone that looks like us. Someone that came from the same background as I did, you’re more comfortable doing that,” Lynn explained, noting that this would apply to himself, too.

As noted by NBC Sports, the coach made the vital point that the NFL should “expand from the presumption that offensive and defensive coordinators are the natural candidates to receive a promotion to head-coaching positions, arguing that non-coordinator assistants (including assistant head coaches) should get greater consideration.”

“There are a lot of brilliant guys that can call plays but can’t lead a damn team,” he emphasized.

When asked if he thought he was ever passed up for a position in the NFL because of his race, Lynn said the interview with the Chargers was his sixth, and that he felt more prepared and a better fit with the Chargers than with other teams who passed on him. Ultimately, though, Lynn suggested a lot of “white coaches” could probably say the same thing about feeling passed up when they felt they were the right man for the job, too.


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